We playfully call it the “Cop Knock.” It’s The Diva’s subtle way of telling us she’s about to enter a room and we’d better be prepared. We call it a “Cop Knock” because it’s loud and the way she bursts into a room three seconds later is so frightening that My Lovely Wife and I are forced to freeze.
It’s also payback for our own not-so-polite way of entering her room … the Parent Barge. It goes a little something like this – knock … knock … walk in quickly while scanning the room for anything out of order.
The fun of raising teenagers is how they use your own tactics against you. And this was how The Diva uncovered a dark family secret that was just the beginning of really weird week. Truth be told (and despite what My Dear, Sweet Mother occasionally contends, I only speak the truth within this sacred space), it’s less “secret” than humiliating reality. There’s no Days-of-Our-Lives-my-wife-is-actually-my-sister-who-was-in-a-coma-but-had-face-transplant-and-is-suffering-from-amneisa-and-devil-possession-type intrigue.
We’re just not that interesting – more Family Ties than Falcon Crest.
The Diva caught me getting my back shaved. Yep, from the shoulders up, I’m bald as a newborn, but with my shirt off I’m a Yeti. And so as not to feel like a walrus, I occasionally get My Lovely Wife to trim my body locks after running the electric razor over my head.
And we never speak of it again. Until the Cop Knock, when The Diva caught me looking like the black sheep of the family about to get sheared. It was humiliating. Then, like 10 minutes later, she busts in while I’m getting my chest shaved (seriously, I’m that hairy – think Robin Williams minus the personality disorder).
It set the tone for the rest of the week … totally discombobulating. On Monday, I had my Urkel moment (“Did I do that?). See, My Lovely Wife buys generic everything (even diet root beer … that just ain’t right) and the labels all look the same. So, when I went to load up the dishwasher, I used liquid soap rather than detergent.
Jellybean’s baths don’t have so many bubbles.
Weird how hard soap is to clean up. I tossed down a beach towel and the bubbles blew all over the place. But that was just a personal misstep. Jellybean’s antics are causing troubles family wide.
For the past week or so, Jellybean’s been wearing a plastic, bejeweled crown – the kind common to homecoming queens – and I think the pretend power’s gone to her head. She’s more diva than The Diva of late. Monday morning while herding her toward the car for school, I kindly asked her to carry her plastic pink purse, Sleeping Beauty lip gloss, pink headband, Tangled necklace and matching bracelet.
“Princesses don’t carry their own stuff,” she said as if this were common knowledge. “That’s what Daddies are for.”
So this is what dumbfounded feels like?
Then it got better – and yes, I carried all her stuff … we needed to mosey on and it was quicker to do it than to argue. My Lovely Wife always tells me, “Pick your battles.” That afternoon, when we go home, I unbuckled her car seat and went to pull her down so we could go check the mail.
“Princesses don’t walk,” she said without so much as a grin. “That’s what daddies are for.”
I could only stand and stare … like The Diva catching me getting my back shaved. Talk about a weird week.
Contact Brett Buckner at firstname.lastname@example.org
Brett Buckner is an award-winning freelance newspaper/magazine writer who was raised in Albany.