Painting Myself Into a Corner

“What’s gone wrong here?” I asked as I walked into our kitchen area. When I’d left to slap a coat of undercoat on the headboard I’d built to attach our new air conditioner too in the bus our youngest two had been giggling and playing school on the balcony, taking turns in being the teacher.

Within a couple of sentences I was regretting opening my mouth.

“She,” said Tracey in her ‘mother is disappointed’ voice, pointing an accusatory finger at our nine year old daughter who was sitting beside the fridge, “is in the naughty corner.”

If you don’t know what a naughty corner is, I don’t know how you parent.

“What did you do?” I asked Miss9 while I grabbed myself a banana off the dining table. There was a defiance about our second youngest, like she felt this whole punishment thing was a bit harsh.

“Don’t talk to her,” snapped Tracey, cutting off whatever words were about to come out as my daughter opened her mouth to speak.

Classic naughty corner Supernanny technique, I thought to myself. Don’t let them speak while they’re supposed to be thinking about what they’ve done wrong.

But it turns out that probably wasn’t what my good wife was worried about so much as she might have been a mite concerned about what might come out of Miss9’s mouth.

“She wrote the,” Tracey paused and raised her eyebrows in emphasis, “eff word on the blackboard.”

And here it is. The point at which the realisation I should have minded my own business and not gotten involved hit me like a low, late punch after the bell.

I turned to go eat my banana in a corner of the bus by myself.

But…I spotted Miss7 sitting on the floor in another part of the kitchen with a similarly remorseful but indignant facial expression to the one her sister had on, and before I could think SHUT UP YOU MORON my mouth was open and dumb was spilling out.

“Did she write it too?” I asked my wife.

“No,” sighed Tracey. “She read it off the board.”

“Gotta run,” I said, meaning it. I mean, I don’t really run these day but jeez I sure can move when I need to.

Even as my banana and I ducked back out of the house, Tracey was still going on about this little incident.

“Can you believe this?” she was asking the spot I’d been standing. I’m surprised there wasn’t a crack as the air rushed to fill the me shaped vacuum I’d left. “I mean I supposed I should give a bit of credit because at least she spelt it correctly. “

“Yeah,” said Miss9, as I hightailed away wondering if I had enough paint to do a second coat before I came back up to the house, “because I asked Dad.”

Two coats. Took a while for the first to dry but I was happy to sit there and wait.

Raising a family on little more than laughs

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