I knew that tone. I’d done something. I could hear the frown.
Fortunately for me, Tracey’s voice has never really recovered from her stint in hospital, making it difficult to hear her talking if her back’s to you or she’s in another room. She knows about the talking bit. I decided if I didn’t answer she might think I couldn’t hear her when she’s yelling either, and with luck decide it wasn’t worth tracking me down through the house to tell me off for whatever the thing was.
“Bruce,” said Tracey, suddenly standing beside me. “You need to come into the kitchen and chat to your daughter.”
“What’s she done?” I asked, relieved I’d read the situation wrong and I wasn’t the one in trouble.
“It’s what you’ve let her do,” said Tracey.
Do you like watching YouTube videos? I like downloadable sites like Curiosity Stream too. In fact, I hardly watch free to air telly anymore because I’m forever bringing up stuff on the net to amuse myself with. And no, I don’t mean porn.
I like to watch things like Last Week Tonight and Michio Kaku and Scamalot and Top Gear. The kids like to pick their own shows too. And therein likes the problem – or more specifically, my problem.
“Tell your father what you told me,” Tracey said to Miss9, who was sitting at the table looking mightily pleased with herself.
“You said I could watch Kitty Flanagan, didn’t you Dad?” she asked.
“I sure did,” I admitted. “Why? Did you look for something you shouldn’t have?” I turned to Tracey. I wasn’t really worried. It’s YouTube. It’s mostly harmless. “Are we going to have to confiscate the iPad?”
But Miss9 quickly cut in, assuring me she didn’t even look anything up. “You did the search yourself, remember?”
Tracey’s face, and in particular the pursed lips, told me this might be part of the problem.
“Is that what this is about? Kitty Flanagan is fine. She was looking over my shoulder when I was watching one before so I pulled up the coffee one from The Project for her.” I tried to think if there was anything too adult in the video but I didn’t think so. “There’s no swearing.”
“What happens,” Tracey asked me in a scarily level and measured voice, “when the video ends?”
“It goes onto the next video?”
I posed my answer in the form of a question as though I wasn’t sure, but I suddenly had a good idea where this conversation was going.
“Press play,” Tracey said to Miss9, who suddenly had my iPad in her hands…
…and we all got to watch a very, very funny segment taken from a stand up routine Kitty did at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in 2013.
“That wasn’t too bad,” I lied a few minutes later.
“She talks about used condoms.”
“Oh, you caught that. But she doesn’t actually say what they are.”
“Burlesque,” I corrected Tracey. “It’s an art form. And again,” I said, smiling at our daughter, “I’m sure most of that went over her head.”
This was in stark contrast to the fact Miss9 had been howling with laughter watching the video with us.
“Don’t worry, Dad,” said Miss9, thinking, I’m sure, that she was helping me, “I already know what a strip club is.”
Turns out one of Master12’s friends told her he wants to work in one when he’s older.
“Bloody kids,” I mumbled to Tracey, shaking my head. “You want me to have a word to them?”
Nope. In fact, I don’t think my parenting skills will be required for the rest of the week. I’m really just lucky my iPad wasn’t confiscated.
Raising a family on little more than laughs