I don’t know when it happened, or how it happened, but all of a sudden it’s become the “norm” in my house for people to talk through me when talking to one another. I have become the mediator, moderator, messenger and translator in my household. I don’t even like talking to these people that much. Now I’m putting in overtime.
Zohrhubby comes across as gruff and his critisms and directions sometimes seem without merit. Even I see it, so you could hardly blame my teenagers for feeling this way. So, they’ve taken to talking to me, and over him, about almost everything. This is so frequent that he just tunes them out now when they talk.
We had the same conversation at the dinner table for about a week and a half straight, about Tween C going to the homecoming dance at her junior high school. What would she wear? Who would she go with? How late could she stay? Ten days…at least…in a row, this dominated our conversation over dinner. Three nights ago, all of a sudden, Zohrhubby caught on that something was going on.
“What’s she talking about?” he asked.
Me: “The homecoming dance.”
ZH: “What homecoming dance?”
Me: “Omigod. Are you serious? The same homecoming dance we’ve talked about all week. Right here. At this very table.”
ZH: “When is the dance? How come no one asked my opinion about her going to a dance?”
Me: “It’s next Saturday. And I’m sorry, I just assumed that since you were sitting here that you were listening. My bad–C, please tell your daddy about the dance, and ask his permission to go.”
She looked at me like I was crazy. I gave her “the look.” You know, the look that says, “Humor me…it’s a requirement that we make your father feel like he’s a part of the decision making process in this house.”
C: “Um. Well, it’s the homecoming dance–”
ZH: “Who’s going?”
C: “What do you mean, dad?”
ZH: “I mean, who’s chaperoning you?”
C: “What? What’s he talking about, mom?”
See what I mean? “What’s she saying?” “What’s he talking about?” That’s all I ever hear. So, since we are airing our grievances over the dinner table, I take the opportunity to make a big point.
Me: “Can I just say something right now? I’m so sick of being looked at when your daddy says something because you need some explanation as to what or why or how…and (looking at Zohrhubby now) I’m sick of you asking me what THEY are talking about when THEY are sitting right there. They can talk. They can explain. You guys talk to each other, and quit getting me involved!”
ZH: “I don’t do that!” he said.
Me: “Whatever. C, go on.”
C: “Okay. Well, it’s the homecomin–”
ZH: “What time is it?”
C: “Um…I think it’s from 6:30 to eleven.”
Zohrhubby swings around all dramatically toward me and says quite emphatically, “ELEVEN?!”
Big E almost fell out of his chair laughing. This was exactly what Zohrhubby’d just denied ever doing.
C: “I don’t know what time it is for sure, dad, I’ll have to find out.”
ZH: “Yeah, you find out, and then you’ll have to buy two tickets, one for you and one for your brother.”
C: “Wah!? Why?!”
ZH: “Because, he can be your chaperone.”
I thought he was kidding. I swear I did. But he was dead serious. I didn’t even have time to object, Big E was all over it.
E: “I am NOT going to a junior high dance with C! I don’t even want to go to the high school dances! And anyway, how creepy would THAT be, for this 6 foot tall 16 year old going to a dance with a 12 year old. Nevermind she’s my sister, that’s just creepy!”
ZH: “You’ll go if we say you go.”
E: “Oh, no I won’t. I’ll do something totally stupid and get arrested just to get out of there. I swear I will.”
Me: “What is WRONG with you?”
ZH: “What do you mean? She’s not going alone.”
Me: “She’s going with friends, and there WILL be adults there.”
ZH: “Not anyone we know.”
Me: ” … ”
There’s so many instances where I find it hard to put into practice that basic principle of parenthood that dictates that I should NEVER critique or disagree with Zohrhubby’s actions in front of the children. But I try real hard. What makes it even harder is the first person my kids look at when he says something ass-y is ME. Dead in the face. I have to mask my reaction and hold it until we can get out of earshot of the kids. And that’s hard to do…my eyebrows draw together in response to BS so quickly, I think it’s become an involuntary reflex.
We haven’t taken up the rest of this conversation yet. I’ll keep you posted as to whether you can expect a future post about bailing my soon-to-be 16 year old son out of jail.