Since the inception of TRS in 2000, I have written about life "on the road". By plane, train, or automobile, I tell the story of trips; but the real story in each one is about the journey, not the destination. On March 15th, 2008, Daddy's Little Speed Bump was born. 21 months later, Speed Bump Number Two arrived. I thought it fitting to create a place, with a Road Scholars theme, to share this new journey.

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Ten Things You Might Hear Around Our House

Sometimes I find myself wondering if I am starring in my own reality TV show. This realization took place as I found myself on the locked side of a bathroom door asking "are you pooping?" At a moment like that you have to look around for the camera, or at least wonder what someone listening in might think. So in case you're planning a visit, here's a heads up on some of the phrases you might hear during your stay.

1. Kaitlyn Elizabeth!

What child-laden house is not complete without the famed middle name call-out? I take credit for Kaitlyn's middle name and I'm rather proud of the selection. I think the combination rolls off the tongue nicely. For that reason the middle name call-out may be used a bit more for Kaitlyn than is the norm, and I admit not all uses are disciplinary in nature. But when discipline is required, it's still the triple dog dare of parenting. 

2. Are we going to do this the easy way or the hard way?

Following a middle name call-out for disciplinary purposes, this phrase can often be heard, especially near bed time as my little toddler runs through the "get out of actually having to go to bed" play book. Parent or not, you know the drill, because you used to do it. "I'm thirsty. I have to go potty. I want to sleep in yours bed." And of course, there's always...

3. Five More Minutes Downstairs?

Ah yes, a perennial favorite of both children and adults alike, the more minutes campaign. I can't fault Kaitlyn, I use it myself almost every morning when the alarm clock goes off. After blindly smashing the Snooze button (and sometimes spilling water all over my phone), I groggily glance at the numbers displayed before mumbling--as if to convince myself more than anyone--"five more minutes." What strikes me about Kaitlyn's approach is the degree of escalation. She doesn't just ask for more minutes--I've tried granting that to no avail. They have to be more minutes downstairs; and not just downstairs but, downstairs watching TV. 

4. You're not pooping, are you?

Nothing scares a parent more than the ominous silence of mischief. In social circles I'm a firm believer in little children being seen and not heard. Ironically a silent house scares the shit out of me because it likely means there's shit coming out of them. During the potty training years, that can be disastrous (I already have a dog that shits enough for everyone). On a couple occasions I've actually had trouble finding Kaitlyn in the house. A thorough search and the question above revealed her standing in a dark closet with the door closed, a poopy in her Pull-Up. 

5. Give me privacy, daddy!

Just as the middle name call-out is one of the big guns in the parenting arsenal, "I have to go potty" has to be the coup de grâce for kids in the "get out of actually having to go to bed" play book. Even if a parent knows he's being played by his potty-training puppet master, he's committed. Denying a child an opportunity to potty on the toilet unravels weeks, months, or even years of shrewd bribery, negotiating, and logic. Two year olds understand logic very well, and they remember everything--like the time daddy said no to going potty on the toilet. That can only lead to the previous question and/or a big mess.

This was the predicament I found myself in tonight when the MasterCard moment occurred. I wasn't about to be backed into a corner so easily, so once again I was standing outside the bathroom door. I opened it to inquire if the deed had been done yet. Kaitlyn hopped off that toilet seat (revealing the deed in the toilet--yay!), grabbed the door out of my hand and in no uncertain terms laid down the law. 

6. You ruined my life.

After more minutes have been granted and consumed, and the choice of the "easy way or the hard way" is answered with "the hard way," you have a chance of hearing this phrase, most likely through tearful sobs (sometimes real, sometimes fake). Usually it occurs either enroute to or shortly after reaching her room or as the door is closing behind her. Have I mentioned my child is two? This undoubtedly sounds precocious due to the dramatic tone, however, the fact that she is only two means that at any given point, she's probably right. That's what gives me chills, at only two years old she has the insight to be both dramatic AND accurate.

7. Are you happy now?

Upon life's ruination, a reconciliation inevitably follows. This usually encompasses a discussion of the wrongdoing, an apology, a hug, and this question posed very sincerely as only a blonde haired blue-eyed two year old could. Damn this child. Hysterical, irrational, dramatic, and still has the presence of mind to check on daddy's happiness level. It's as if she knows that sixteen is right around the corner.

8. Yeah, that's a great idea!

I truly wish I had video of this one. It's not so much the things that are said but how and when they are said by the people that say them. The inflection in Kaitlyn's voice, the emphasis on the right word, the dramatic cadence--boggles the mind. Usage is always dead on, too. "Let's go to bed" is never labeled a good idea. Five more minutes downstairs watching TV, now you're talkin'. Where do they learn this stuff?

9. Mommy, you're ridiculous.

Nothing sobers you at two in the morning like a toddler using four syllable adjectives. This was one of those nights we decided to do everything the hard way. After the second or third visit to our room, it was mommy's turn to escort the child back to "hers" bed. When mommy answered "uh huh" to something Kaitlyn said without actually hearing it, this was the response. It was not until the next morning that I found out it wasn't all a dream. 

10. Whatever.

I beg your pardon? What's next, talk to the hand? The first time I heard this one from Kaitlyn, we were on the edge of doing things the hard way. She was walking away from me to go pick up toys or something. Her delivery was so spot on that it took me a moment to register who just said it and how weird it was. I swear the kid thinks she's on the Real World or something, and that's just ridiculous.


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