“Carl! You’re such a liar.”, rang the sound of another bickering battle. The Queen’s quick witted jabs, fact checking hooks, and sometimes ego busting low blows is why she reigns over my bullshit. With a record of 1,300 – 1 over a 13 year span…(her one loss came from the time when I convinced her that I am the closest Kobe Bryant-like athlete she has ever known)…it’s safe for me to call her The Champion of Verbal Jiu-Jitsu. “What are you talking about? I’m not lying. I didn’t eat your damn cookies!”, but of course, I did.
Earlier…while she was hard at work, the kids and I came home from a busy afternoon of activities. And because they both carried on with the same energy as the “Cameron Crazies” of Duke University…I forced them to play in the backyard. I was a little tired, and slightly annoyed of talking AT Kingston and chasing Quinn. With the two of them outside, the house turned quiet. “Enjoy it while it last, they say.”, I thought as I stretched across the floor cluttered with Connect Four pieces, cars, a sock, dolls, and a paper plate with the crust of a half-eaten sandwich. It was time to relax and let the mess morph into a white sandy beach in Jamaica. All I needed was a rum punch to sip, but instead I made for the box of Girl Scout cookies. They weren’t my favorite nor the most delicious, but the idea of selfishly devouring them without being interrupted or having to share with my little-begging-puppy-children was fantastic. Me, cookies, and milk. It was a part time paradise.
“Oh my god! Carl! If you could see your lying face right now…”, the Queen snapped back. “Why are you buggin’ out over some cookies!? I’ll get you more right now!”, I shot off. The Queen had come home from work, and had planned to do her own relaxing as well. “It’s not about that Ca-rl! Just tell the truth!”. She was mightily upset. Although I knew apologizing was a better idea, I figured I could fight my way out this one and get my second petty “win” in the MSL (Marital Spat League). Plus, there was no way she knew that I ate all those toothpaste-minty-tasting cookies. “First, don’t ever say my name like that. And how do you know I ate ALL the cookies!?”, I retorted. This was my wildcard. My haymaker; desperately thrown to K.O this small stupid argument. By this time, both Kingston and Quinn were inside blissfully jumping on top of one another with the couch pillows. They were within earshot from it all. “Kingston, come over…”, I called. “Noo. Don’t get them involved…”, the Queen said. She knew where I was going next.
Enter Chapter 25: Cool It
She’s mean, and has a fantastic arm for slinging dishes and insults. He on the other hand, cusses more than Doc Holiday drinks booze, and can punch through drywall the way a three year old smashes through screen doors. Together, their short tempers and abrasive tone of voice send their children cowering underneath dinner tables waiting for the next earthquake of physical, and/or verbal abuse. They’re the hallmark of disfunction. Growing up under these circumstances, kids tend to learn the same conflict resolution that’ll make their parents WorldStar.com famous. So lets leave the buck wild fights and hair pulling to the ridiculous world of reality tv because as parents…we can do better. For starters, we can have constructive arguments by maintaining a calm tone of voice. This way our kids learn to deal with their differences of opinion like sane adults and not like a Hulk Hogan versus Macho Man ringside conversation. Not only that, but as husband and wife…let’s remember that maintaining the love and attaining a mutual understanding is the goal. Take turns (not) talking over each other, stick to the issue, split a beer and share a slice of Costco pizza.
“What do you mean don’t get him involved! He’s my number one witness. Kingston will set it straight once and for all.”. I was gambling now. The kid is unpredictable. But if I cornered him with a question that only had a “no” answer…I’d finally “win”! Somehow I turned into Johnny Cochran and proceeded. “Kingston, my dearest boy, the king of kings…”, I started with my hand on his head. His innocent eyes looked up at me; his little smile shined bright. That’s when I knew I couldn’t go on with the questioning. This was a lose-lose situation. If he were to answer the way I needed him to, the Queen would be disappointed that I used him as a pawn in my bullshit. And had Kingston ratted me out, and exposed me as a liar…this argument could have possibly blown up into something much larger. “…get out of here Boy, go play with Quinn.”, I ended. It was then the Queen gloated in her victory, “See! I knew you did! You can’t fool me. I’m not stupid!”. The jig was up. An apology and explanation had to come next. “Yeah, I lied. I ate the cookies. I’m sorry.”, I confessed. “I lied because I don’t like that you feel the need to address the fact that cookies are gone. If sweets go missing, just know I ate them.”, I explained. Together, we talked it over. It was made clear my lying needed to stop, and that sometimes I could be a mean-childish asshole. The bickering came to an end calmly and respectfully. It was hard to tell if the kids took notice of how we handled the situation, but at least they weren’t hiding from screaming adults. When all was said and done, one thing still ate at me. I couldn’t help but wonder how Kingston would’ve answered my questioning. So when we were alone, I whispered…”Kingston did you see me eat a box of cookies today?”. To which he replied, “Yeah, I saw you.”. The Queen’s record grows to 1,301 wins.