I honestly don’t know what my children have to complain about. As far as I am concerned, they have it pretty good. In fact, young Tenor Dad would likely be quite jealous of his future children. For instance this weekend, when the temperatures were approaching equatorial proportions, we took our two lovely offspring to the nice air-conditional mall and let them ride on the little rides that cost a dollar and last for 30 seconds.
I never got to go to the mall on a hot day and ride on the little school bus that moves slowly back and forth when I was a kid. I had to sit out in the hot sun and interact with other children. So my kids were being spoiled, as far as I was concerned. And then, to make matters even less worse, after I ran out of quarters I took them over to the food court for special beverages consisting of ice and brightly colored syrup. You probably agree that they should have been very grateful and well-behaved. Sadly, this was not the case.
We were in line for about three seconds when the naughtiness started. Ruby was trying to climb all over me, and Edward was running around in circles and crashing into various strangers. I asked Ruby not to climb on me, because I was super hot and did not want another hot, sweaty person pressing all over me, but she would not listen. I demanded that Edward stay still for one minute and not violently body-check other customers in the line, but that demand did not appeal to him. My wife was off clothes shopping somewhere, so I was on my own, and getting more frustrated by the minute.
“I’m in this line getting a drink for YOU!” I informed the children loudly. “We don’t HAVE to get you a drink. Do you want a drink?!”
“Yyyyyeeeeeesssss,” they sang sweetly to me, as Ruby attempted to give me a flying bear hug and Edward toppled gleefully into a grumpy middle-aged woman.
“There is a table right over there. Why don’t you two go sit at it until I get your drink?” This was ignored, as they promised to be better. They lied.
Ruby started yanking on my arm, which I suppose was an improvement over trying to climb me, but still not great. Edward starting spinning around while also circling me, turning himself into a kind of three-year-old Scrambler, drastically increasing the odds that he would collide with more mall-goers.
“I’m not kidding, Ruby; let go of my arm. There is a chair right over there. Go sit in it until I’m done!” No response. “Edward, stop spinning! Go sit in that chair over there!” No response. Also, why was this line not moving? How long does it take to make drinks for people? Seriously, we’ve been standing here for several minutes and the only reason we’ve moved up a spot is because the couple in front of us gave up and went to McDonald’s. And why is it so hot in here anyway? I thought we came in here to get cool! And where is my wife? Why did I have children? And why did I have children that are so naughty? And why didn’t I bring more quarters for the stupid rides? Ow! Why are people still yanking on me? Why is he still running around slaloming people? And why is he shrieking now? And why…”THAT’S IT! GO SIT IN THAT CHAIR RIGHT NOW OR WE ARE GOING HOME AND YOU WILL SIT IN YOUR ROOM ALL DAY AND YOU WILL NEVER GET ANY DRINKS EVER AGAIN!”
I don’t know who I was yelling at, and I don’t think they did either, because both of them made a beeline for the chair that I was pointing at, and they both scrambled into it from either side, sat down, and looked miserable. I considered telling them that there were two chairs at the table, and they didn’t both have to sit in the same seat, but since they were both finally sitting still and being quiet, I decided not to risk it. They stayed together in the same chair until I got them some deliciously summery drinks, and suddenly moods and temperaments improved. Everyone was much happier after that. Especially the other people at the mall.