What’s Tearing My Relationship With My Daughters Apart

This is before they started reading, Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War.”

It’s 2:45 on Friday. 

I arrive at their elementary school to pick my daughters up from 4th and 2nd grade. They approach, sluggishly, pinched faces, sullen expressions.I’m suddenly on alert. Def-Con 5.

ME: (smiling like you would at crazed gunmen in clown costumes. I show no fear) Hi, guys! How was your day?

CLARE: (as though on life support) You’re late, mommy, and I’m exhausted.

BRIDGET: It was too hot and you didn’t pack me a water bottle. I almost died of thirst.

CLARE: I’m parched like a sub-Saharan desert.

Shit. The Despondency/Mommy-Pity-Me Routine.

They want something. Ice cream. Money. My very soul. They can just forget it. I’m no amateur. I can out-miserable the little bastards.

ME: (faux understanding): Sorry guys, I’m a little off my game today since I have a pounding headache.

CLARE: My throat hurts really bad.

BRIDGET: I think I twisted my ankle and I can barely walk.

ME: That’s too bad. Just don’t talk too loud because it feels like a hammer is hitting my brains.

CLARE: It feels like a cat with nine-inch claws is scratching my throat.

BRIDGET: It feels like burning hot lava is scorching my ankle and melting it into a fleshy stump.

ME: I might be having a cerebral aneurysm that will make it impossible to remember you’re my children.

This throws them. Silence as they ponder their next move.

We get in the minivan. The sliding doors close.


Seat belts engaged. I fire up the engine.

CLARE: (in a deathbed whisper): I feel like I’m going to barf.

BRIDGET: I’ve felt like I was going to barf since lunch.

ME: I’m barfing in my mouth right now.

BRIDGET: Mom, please take us to The Avengers.

I see Clare’s eyes bulge at Bridget in the rear view mirror. They’ve played their hand too soon. The gig is up.

ME: There is no way I’m taking you to a PG-13 movie with a bunch of men in tights. It’s just not appropriate.

Silence. My authority stands.

CLARE: That’s okay, I’m too depressed to see The Avengers anyway.

BRIDGET: I’m so depressed my freckles hurt.

ME: I’m so depressed my smile muscles have atrophied.

That shuts them up. Then this…

BRIDGET: But when I’m with you mommy, it makes me happy.

CLARE: (like Tuesday Addams): Yeah, you’re the best.

They’re not going to outflank me with flattery. No fucking way, man!


ME: I thought Thor would be so lame with that hammer. But it’s very manly.

CLARE: Thor’s hot!


Covert manipulators in training!
Adorableness is their most effective weapon.

23 thoughts on “What’s Tearing My Relationship With My Daughters Apart”

  1. Yeah just wait! I have a 14 and 16 year old. They keep doing it. I finally got them trained and they come right out and say what they want, unless it requires some sort of super human task on my part.

    You know the ones. Can you make 900 cupcakes before we get up mommy.

  2. So you think you can mom?

    Seriously!!!! I laughed out loud at every “quote”!!! I don’t think I could handle more than 1 daughter! God knows me well. P.S. Avengers was awesome P.P.S. or is it P.S.S.? I digress…I’m buying THE BOOK!!!

  3. I have 4 teens so I’ve mastered the art of the casual, aloof gaze while peppering them with a dozen questions shotgun fast: Will their parents be home? Will there be girls? Will there be drinking? Who is all going? Have you done your chores? Have you done your homework? …

  4. I laughed out loud on this one. I’ve barfed in my mouth more than once. I love you, Shan.

  5. Awesome! Sadly, I didn’t need to be tricked. It was me who said to my boys (who are younger than your girls btw) Who Wants To See The Avengers With Me!!??!! Mark Ruffallo? Robert Downey Jr. Captain America in tight pants.
    I loved it, too.

  6. Love the way you played that.

    Of course, you could have twisted the screws a little. “You wanted to see the Avengers? You know, that was gonna be my surprise for this afternoon, but since everybody’s feeling barfy, guess we’ll just have to go home instead.”

  7. Shan, this made me laugh so hard! Okay, so I really liked The Avengers movie — my kids “convinced” me to see it twice!

  8. Love it!! Especially how they clearly plotted and schemed together. That’s some good sisterly bonding and cooperation there! 🙂

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