The worst angry dad moment one could imagine

The first 2013 home football game at Appalachian State didn’t end well.

I’m not referring to the game, a huge upset loss to visiting NC A&T. That was bad. But this was worse. I had to fuss my eight-year-old daughter out. And I did it as only I could – as terribly nerdy as possible.

“Thanks for ruining what was a fun night!” I snapped at her, as we walking through the low-lit stadium parking lot. We were alone. Fireworks exploded behind us as part of a special post-game show. “We’re not seeing fireworks. We’re not on the field. We’re going home, thanks to you!”

She never responded. She just cried. We were halfway to my truck.

It all started as the game ended. Soon after players and coaches exit to locker rooms, ASU allows fans access to the field. They can pose for photos, play catch, or run around as obnoxiously as possible until
officials decide it’s time to close up shop.

We always hit the field. The kids love it. It’s a highlight of the game experience.

As the clock ticked down, my 6-year-old son was psyched. He had his football and his kickoff tee. He was ready to attack the field goal posts. He loves kicking on the field. It’s his kidnip.

My eight-year-old daughter?  She wants to meet cheerleaders and do cartwheels. Right now she’s …. um … uh .. where is she? … she was, uh, she was just right here.

“Honey, do you see your daughter anywhere? Where did she go?”

She wasn’t with us. It took three minutes of scanning the crowd below to find her. She had, on her own, left our seats near the top of the stands and headed into the student section. She was alone standing by the gate to the field, waiting for her cue to ski-doo.

Before I could react the wife marched off. A couple of minutes later mom and daughter return. Mom looked angry. Daughter looked vindictive. Son was oblivious. He was too busy in mental la-la-land, a huge
smile on his face.

As she returned to our seats, my daughter angrily grabbed for the iPad she had been playing with earlier. One problem – brother was sitting in her way. So she reached behind him and, with her elbow, shoved him off the bleacher.

One knee hit concrete. The other slammed into the steel bracketing of the bleacher back in front of us. He screamed.  So did I.

“We’re leaving! Now!”

My daughter jumped at the order. I pointed “go.” She started crying. I didn’t care. “Go!” My anger was incited by the unexpected pain inflicted on an unsuspecting brother by an unjustly angry sister.

My wife and I had driven separate vehicles. I said I would see her at home. Off I marched my daughter. And I mean marched. Out of the stands, out of the stadium, through the parking lot, up a flight of steps, and
across campus to my truck.

I exploded at her thrice. Once to let her know we were missing fireworks. Again when I heard the A&T band playing its postgame show (I was missing the Machine!)

The third time was right as we were approaching my truck. And, in retrospect, it was the worst angry dad moment one could imagine.

“Do you remember when we talked about cost-benefit analysis? Do you?” I expelled. My seminar was just warming up. “Everything you do has a cost you weigh against benefits! Next time you want to do something stupid like leave us to get lost in a crowd, then hurt your brother because you’re mad, think about what that’s going to cost you! What are you gaining to suffer those costs?”

Am I proud of these words? No. No father should be. Behavioral economics is best presented in the aisles of Wal-Mart, calmly contrasting allowance with that can of silly string she HAS to have. Teaching effectiveness is diminished under street lights, surrounded by traffic on one side and dark woods on the other.

But nonetheless class continued.  I delivered every line as if I was Walter White. “I AM the danger!”

“We were all going to go down on the field, but you wanted to get there faster. You thought it was no big deal to let us know so you could benefit by getting there faster. Did you not think the cost would be angering mom and I because we have no idea where you were? Where was the benefit in that? And what was gained by hurting your brother? What!?!”

My daughter never responded. She just cried.

We got in the truck. I drove for 10 minutes before saying anything else. I calmed down. Angry dad left. Time for reconciliation dad.

“I love you, sweetie. But what you did was wrong. You need to ask permission before you run off, okay? And don’t hurt your brother just because you’re mad mom’s mad at you. If you want to talk about it, we can. I’m
not mad anymore. If you don’t, that’s fine too. I won’t bring it up again. It just wasn’t a good way to end the day.”

Again she never responded. She just cried.

Economics hurts.

Hello my name is …. dad who can not resist!

Recently at church, one of the children’s classes spent weeks practicing the Matthew West song “Hello My Name Is.” (Give it a quick listen, just the first 20 seconds or so.) My daughter was in the group. They were to perform the song on stage during a special church dinner one Sunday night.

My daughter looked forward to it. She loves to sing, and isn’t shy about performing in front of large groups. For an 8-year-old, she’s immune to stage fright. But as I would find out, she is susceptible to embarrassment.

The big night came. My daughter was one of three kids with a solo. All eight were lined up on stage, behind mics. The audience was 120-plus strong, sitting at round tables on the gym floor. All eyes on the performers. The teacher hit play on the CD.

Showtime!

Whoa oh ah oh ah oh oh!
Whoa oh ah oh ah oh oh!
Whoa oh ah oh ah oh oh!

The music was loud. You could just hear the actual West vocals of the song. The young singers overpowered him.

“Hello my name is regret …,” the first soloist began. “I’m pretty sure we have met …. Every single day of your life … I’m the whisper inside …. That won’t let you forget.”

Then came the next soloist, who sang the second refrain. Then all joined in loudly for the chorus (Kids love a good chorus). I was sitting in the front row, camera recording. The third refrain was my sweetie’s big moment. Here it comes! 


She stepped closer to the mic. A split second of hesitation. Then she sang.

I am no longer defined …..
By all the wreckage behind …
The …
*pause*
one .. who …
*pause**pause*

She stopped. Her eyebrows shot together, then just as quickly darted apart. She shyly smiled and murmured into the mic. “I forgot the rest.”

The teacher up front did quick circles with her right arm, the universal sign of “keep going.” So my daughter just stood there …  smiling. All the kids just stood there … smiling. The audience just sat there … smiling. The music continued … unaccompanied. Two years later finally the chorus hit again. The kids sprung back to life.

“HELLO MY NAME IS CHILD OF THE ONE TRUE KING! …..”

I felt pangs of empathy. But my girl seemed to quickly recover. When the song ended they all took bows. The event was done and people rose to leave. My daughter left the stage, and ran to me pleading.

“Let’s leave. Now.”

As we departed, a couple of people saw her and attempted to tell her what a great job she did. She refused to look at them, much less acknowledge their words. When we were alone outside she let loose the pain.

“I’m a laughing stock!” she said, somewhat dramatically. “I’m the laughing stock of the whole church!”

“No no no no. No you’re not,” I said. “Sure, you made a mistake, but the point is you were on the stage to begin with. You were doing something to make people happy. No one laughed at you. They appreciated you being there. Heck, most of those people wouldn’t be brave enough to just stand on that stage, much less sing. You were great!”

She remained inconsolable. I worked hard to be the caring, understanding dad. We continued talking about it in the car on the way home. She detailed her pain. I consoled her. Eventually she relaxed. Drama remained, but it was now bearable …..

….. until I could resist no longer.

This was too good an opportunity. Some things just had to be said. I could not pass this up. I had the perfect setup.

So I waited a couple minutes. There was silence. Then I pounced.

“So sweetie, I have something to say, but you won’t like it” I said, as kindly as I could.

“What?” she asked gently.

“I guess now …. *pause* … ♪♪ your name is … re-gret! ♪♪.”

I laughed. She’s sworn revenge.

Latest additions to the Oxford Parental English Dictionary

The Oxford Parental English Dictionary is pleased to announce the latest additions to its 2014 edition, scheduled to appear in bookstores never. All were submitted as part of this year’s Little One Lexicon contest, in which new words or phrases were solicited from parents across the United States. The following 8 entries were selected from 54 qualifying entries. (Approximately 234,650 were discarded due to vulgarities and/or violent content).

The 2014 additions include:

Meanieac (n) – A person obsessed with being mean. Give me back my blanket! Stop being such a meanieac!

Damn (n, v, adv, adj) – Word used by child to express anger with no knowledge of actual definition of word. Also used to irritate adults who insist child not use that word.  [From Belgian, with Hanna-Barbera roots.] I’m gonna damn you in the damn for being a damn.

Blowout (n) – Severely oversaturated diaper, generally due to explosive fluid flow from rear of a child. A lowlight of the flight was furiously cleaning up after the blowout while in the plane’s cramped lavatory as the pilot insisted everyone immediately get seated and buckled for landing.

Nite-nite (n) – Moment parents need a break and child is forced to go to sleep, regardless of time of day. They’re about to kick-off, time for nite-nite!

Dad’s special drink (n) – Beverages in dark colored bottles which children ARE NOT ALLOWED TO TOUCH! YOU HEAR ME? Mom, why are there so many empty bottles of dad’s special drink in the living room?

Pee-pee (n) – The private area of a young daughter. Used by fathers too uncomfortable to say the “v-word.” [Antonym for wiener.]

Chicken (n) – All meat products prepared for picky children who love chicken but insist they hate all other meat. “Mom, what’s in the spaghetti?” “It’s chicken honey.”

Because I asked you politely (phr.) – Evergreen answer to query “why?” Can be used in almost any situation. “Why do we have to go to church?” “Why do I have to go nite-nite now?” “Why do I have to wear underwear to baseball practice?” “Because I asked you politely.”

Swing into the season

I’ve been promising Big G a trip to an ASU baseball game for weeks. Tuesday there was finally a home game. (Snow forced a three-game series down to Hickory).

It was cold. REALLY cold. Probably right around freezing. We got there top of the 7th, toboggans and blankets in tow. There were maybe 30 other people there, a few fans of Columbia.

The game was free and, with so few fans, you could sit anywhere. We hit front row behind the catcher. And it didn’t take long for Gavin to start practicing his distract-o-chant. Given the small number of people there, he WAS noticed.

We last two innings before finally turned and said simply, “It’s cold. Let’s go home.” Prior to that no complaints. He was into the game. Though he did repeatedly ask, “Can we go play on the field now?”

ME: No, we can’t.

GAVIN: Why not?

ME: Cause ASU and another team is playing baseball right now. They need the whole field.

GAVIN: Can’t we play with them?

In 17 years, maybe.

Lap hog

Dare I put the laptop down for a bathroom break when, like Emeril, BAM!, someone jumps on it. She asks, “How do you type Disney Princess games?” or “How do you type Phineas and Ferb games?” or “How do you type Cinderella games? And NOT Cinderella dressup games. I want other games.” Sorry Gabby, there is no such thing.

Dance fever

Gabby’s Christmas Dance Show, which due to snow was held Feb. 4. It’s a gymnastics/dance class, and – at four and a half – she’s the youngest. The rest of the class is in kindergarten to second grade.