Generally while I’m working in my office, I’m wearing headphones and listening to my Winger station on Pandora. Sometimes, when I’m bored, I’ll take them off, just so I can hear the chaos downstairs as my wife tries to entertain the kids. I usually put them back on because I can’t handle the guilt of not helping. There are times when I know I’m needed and it’s not when someone’s crying or yelling. It’s when my wife becomes maniacally happy. When she hits her breaking point, she morphs into this fake person with an obnoxious amount of positive energy that’s tense and taut like a guitar string about to snap.
“ARLO BARLO PUDDIN’ IN PIE! WE DON’T PULL MOMMY’S HAIR! WHO WANT’S TO GO TO THE PLAYGROUND!?! SILAS BADILAS AND BABYCAKES-A-ROO, LET’S PUT THE KITTY DOWN AND GET OUR SHOES ON!”
She sounds like Tammy Faye Baker talking to her nativity scene on Christmas morning and it’s TERRIFYING. It’s a last ditch attempt at positivity before she pens a Dear John note. I swoop in like some gawky ineffective SuperDad; “OK! Time for me to take over for a little while here?” That’s when she usually snaps out of it and expresses her true emotions. “Oh God, yes, please help me, they’re driving me insane,” and then she goes through the last 10 lithium-worthy acts of insanity they’ve perpetrated.
I hesitate to guess what she really means when she uses those pet names, but I’m pretty sure it’s all the way on the other side of the spectrum from sweetheart. I think “Silas Badilas” means “You uncooperative little shit.” and “Arlo Barlo Puddin’ n’ Pie” means “unpredictable psycho child.” She would never call them that to their faces, but I think even they understand that’s what she means. They appear to be just as scared of her sarcastic enthusiasm as I am. When she turns on that sing songy voice and starts turning their names into Dr. Seuss prose, they know it’s time to put the cat down and get their shoes on because Mommy’s about to blow a gasket.
That’s how great she is at being a Mom. Even after numerous mind crimes, she forces herself to stay positive. I’ve tried it and it comes off WAY too sarcastic. I become a satanic Ned Flanders, yelling “Okily dokily!” in my Ozzy voice. Both kids start crying and Lindsay looks at me like I just told her I have another wife and family living in West Virginia.
So, if you see us in the mall and I’m totally quiet staring emotionless into space, and my wife is audibly singing words that rhyme with our kids names, ask us if we need any help. Thanks.