Thanks for Coning

Around 8am this morning, I received the following cryptic text message from my wife:

text copy

Cone? Had I agreed the previous night to buy a traffic cone first thing in the morning? Was the text intended for someone else? Maybe she was having a discussion with a friend about the shape of Madonna’s bras or the best way to extract ear wax.

Fortunately, I knew exactly what this text meant. Having only one good eye, due to conjunctivitus, her depth perception is off, which caused her to press the “n” instead of the “m” on her phone. While “Come” is still an aggressive command, one normally used when training an animal, she had Arlo in bed with her and one eye sealed shut, so I yelled, “OK, I’m coning!”

Silas and I were already awake and in the living room watching Super Friends when I was summoned to fetch my younger child before a crusted flake from his mother’s eye infected him. Normally, she might encourage him to play with her while she gets ready. But now, with the added duty of un-fusing her eyelid, responding politely fifteen times to a 2 year-old showing her how good he is at peeing isn’t something she can multitask.

I opened the door to the bedroom where I found Arlo bright-eyed and smiling; ready for me to scoop him up and tackle the day. Lindsay, as you might imagine, was exhausted and winking. “Take him. I need to clean my eye.” She didn’t have the energy to sugar coat it. There was no, “If you could take him for a moment, I need to do something in the bathroom,” just a gruff, “Get this kid outta here, Mama’s gotta pry her eye open.”

When a couple dreams about having children, the images include rocking a baby to sleep, or watching a toddler take her first wobbly steps. They never fantasize about the real moments of family life, like picking up a child while making sure his foot doesn’t graze your wife’s goop-eye.  Sometimes love is so beautifully pathetic.

I'm a contributing writer to Parents Magazine, GQ, Psychology Today and some others. My book, "This is Ridiculous. This is Amazing: Parenthood in 71 Lists" is available here Look for two more books in 2015: "Must. Push. Buttons (Bloomsbury Kids), and an as-of-yet untitled memoir I’ve appeared on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and “Nick Mom’s Night Out." I live in New Jersey with my wife and two sons and enjoy making them laugh more than anyone else.

11 comments On Thanks for Coning

  • When I was younger the word 'intimacy' meant something romantic and passionate. Now after almost 15 years of marriage I realize that its so much more; like trusting your spouse will be there for you when you are goopy and wretched feeling. Or coning when you need them. :)

  • Rebecca (different f

    That last line is another one that would make great embroidery on a pillow. But my favorite phrase was the one that came before it:

    "picking up a child while making sure his foot doesn’t graze your wife’s goop-eye" had me snorting with laughter. Gross, but hilarious.

  • Was your wife okay with this post? Funny, but possibly not fair.

  • Oh my God, Michelle. That's hilarious.

    Jason, this is evidence that married people actually form their own language. Kudos for knowing what she meant.

  • My four-year-old and I were in the bathroom recently. After we both washed our hands, we turned to dry our hands on the towels hanging on the wall.

    Him: Don't use that towel, it has poop on it.

    Me: What, honey? (I really thought I'd misunderstood him).

    Him: That towel has poop on it.

    I looked at the towel, and sure enough, someone used it when the toilet paper ran out.

    Me: Who DID this?!!

    Him: I don't know. Bye mom.

    If you're not humble before you have kids, you will be very soon.

    • My older nephew did the same thing! He also had/has this thing about never flushing the toilet after he pooped…he's 16 now. It's so not cute anymore, but we still laugh.

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