This post originally appeared on my other blog in November, 2016

It’s a beautiful Fall day here at the Traumatic Parenting Workshop and my eldest and I went outside to rake leaves.

What could go wrong?


I should mention that there’s nothing house related I hate more than raking leaves, and I realize that I probably said something similar last winter during Snowmagedon, but I was wrong then.

A brief aside: in a few months, if you decide to remind me that shoveling snow is merely my second least favorite thing, don’t expect to be invited in for cocoa… or maybe do expect to be invited in for cocoa. I hope you enjoy your cocoa while keeping my stir-crazy girls entertained. I’ll be outside shoveling snow and drinking tequila.

Another brief aside: frozen margaritas made with fresh snow—the absolute latest in farm-to-table trend (with dysentery on the side for a slight upcharge). I sense a business opportunity here.

Yet another aside: if you’re thinking, “Paying the mortgage is definitely worse than raking or shoveling,” you’re wrong. Paying the mortgage is a requirement for living indoors. Raking is a sad and unending reminder summer is over. Shoveling is a back-breaking reminder that summer couldn’t be further away.

So where was I?

My eldest and I are outside. She’s in full Princess Pleasant Temperament Mode. It’s bad enough she claims to hate chocolate, but she insists she LOVES raking leaves?!?

Seriously, whose kid is this..?

I’m not questioning her paternity. I’ve seen enough Derek Jeter lust and Indiana Hoosier passion to know that I’m in there. It’s just that I wish she didn’t have to be Miss Contrarian every time she was less than 200% engrossed in her activities.

“Teen Titans Go is in commercial, Daddy. Want to know how you’ve displeased me?” only to be followed by, “Commercials are over, Beast Boy and Raven are in the tree house… gotta go! Bye.”

Yes, Teen Titans Go. More proof of my DNA.

Anyway… we’re out in the yard. I’m making fantastic progress with my deafeningly loud leaf blower (hmm… maybe snow shoveling is worse… it’s back breaking but much quieter) which I keep having to shut off because Mistress Nature isn’t short on opinions of what I could be doing better.

Is this her half-red headed DNA or half-non red headed DNA? We can’t seem to reach an agreement on this one, my lovely red-haired wife and I. I doubt we ever will.

The near constant interruptions are mildly frustrating, but their content is even more so. Little Miss Clarence Darrow doesn’t state her opinions as much as those of other authorities who always seem to back up her own positions. “Ted (our neighbor whose name has been changed to protect his innocence, but he’s the guy you go to for tools and answers on all home improvement projects) says you’re supposed to do ——-.”

I don’t know what more troublesome—that our little Property Daughter has been having clandestine meetings with “Ted” or that he’s apparently been counseling her to stand in the street and wave a rake above her head.

But I suppose it’s wrong to indict Ted. He’d be surprised to learn how much more weight his recommends carry in our home than mine. I doubt he’d even recognize my daughter on sight.

Another example.

For three years now, I’ve been putting my pocket change in my daughters’ piggy banks—this isn’t quite the good fortune it once might have been… who carries cash? We recently had a money-counting exercise… I’d like to think it was driven by a desire to purchase Shopkins or something, rather than an opportunity to teach me something.

We separated coins and stacked quarters in piles of four, then collected dimes in groups of tens. We arrived at nickels and started to group them into fives, but Little Miss Warren Buffet suddenly wanted to know “WHY?”

“Honey, there are five nickels in a quarter. They’ll be easier to count this way.”

She’d clearly been patient with my ignorance for far too long. “I think Ms. X said there was six,” she countered, offering the name of last year’s kindergarten teacher.

She adored Ms. X. This was hardly an indictment of her teaching abilities. Her name was merely the most credible source of expertise on hand. I just as easily could have said, “The sky looks blue today,” only to earn it was definitely more orange and that the Weather Channel said so.

Fighting would have been surprisingly pointless. I don’t recall what happened next, but I wouldn’t have been surprised to learn I merely reached for the TiVo remote and thought to myself, “Let’s see what’s happening with Beast Boy and Raven in that tree house.”