I’m convinced my daughter is on a crusade to stop me from reading. Now, I know you’re thinking ‘but Chris, she’s three. She can’t possibly be actually conspiring to stop you from reading, she probably just wants attention’, but hear me out. I have compiled some irrefutable evidence that she is, in fact, waging a calculated war to prevent me from reading. To what end, you say? I don’t know. I just don’t know and that’s the scary part.
It all started the other day. I was lying on the lounge, minding my own business trying to read. Of course, this is a cardinal sin when you have children because any deflection of your attention FROM them, is usually immediately met with an equal and opposite force; children are singularly incapable of letting their parents do, well, anything that doesn’t revolve around them. This isn’t news. What is news is the sheer maliciousness of what transpired which is what differentiates this from a sheer act of attention reclamation and a masterfully planned act of psycho-terrorism perpetrated by a two-foot-tall aggressor.
Anyway, yes, reading. My daughter was eating an apple, noisily – and messily – as two-year-olds are wont to do. Noticing that I was currently not entertaining her, she mosied on over to me still eating the apple, still spraying juice everywhere and chewing as loudly as possible. Naturally, her mouth was wide open the entire time to maximise the loudness and juice-spray outputs. She ended up about 4cm away from my face, being that I was lying down on the couch and she’s a short-arsed ball of terror and curls. I politely requested that she move.
I requested again, more firmly this time. I may have used the divine authority of ‘the Dad Voice’.
Now, I’m a solid four feet taller than my daughter, at the very least. I weigh at least 5 times as much as she does. Do you think that mattered?
Instead of moving, she leans in so that she is chewing directly into my face, her tiny little jaw crunching what was possibly the world’s most impossibly juicy apple, loudly, directly up against my jaw. And you know what she said?
‘Awwww Mr grumpy grumpy goose?’
That’s right. In that same sing songy, super patronising voice that you can already hear in your head while you read this. Complete with cadence uplift right on the ‘goose’ part, although her lisp makes it more ‘gooth’. Somehow, her inaccurately quoting Finding Nemo – the relevant quote is ‘Mr grumpy gills – made it all the more disruptive.
Since this incident, Little Miss Short-arsed Ball of Terror and Curls has taken up a new strategy. Just last night I was lying on the lounge again, having not learned my lesson from the previous incident. Engrossed in King’s On Writing, I once again became encumbered by a diminutive, becurled figure climbing roughshod across my head. This in of itself is enough of a distraction. It’s quite difficult to read when you have a foot, then a knee, then a giggling face obstructing your view and squishing your face into the lounge. That, however, was only the preliminary assault.
Finally ceasing her seemingly incessant wriggling, The Curled Terror lay nestled in the crook of my arm as I attempted to find a comfortable reading position, impeded by a tiny nuisance as I was. That’s when it started.
‘Is that Harry Potter.‘
‘No. It’s not Harry Potter.‘
‘Is that Harry Potter.’
‘No. Be quiet, I’m trying to read.’
‘Is that Harry Potter.’
And so on, and so forth. You’ll notice I haven’t used question marks in that dialogue. That would be because it wasn’t a question. It wasn’t a question at all. It was a statement, one of intent. And the intent was obvious: I am going to bug the living shit out of you until you stop reading. The Curled Terror knows full well that I am reading her older brother the Harry Potter series at the moment and she made a concerted effort to use that knowledge to her advantage.
This is what having children is like, particularly when you are a naturally antagonistic, shit-stirring person yourself and the universe seeks revenge on you.
Lord help me when she is a teenager, huh?