Conversations with my wife: Interpreting motherhood

Our baby saves his crying almost exclusively for when he is tired. But when he does cry, he really belts it out. He’ll play and play, then suddenly start to wail. This means it’s time to help him drift off to sleep.

One night, when my wife was out, the baby turned on his tired siren. My wife came home as I was rocking him in my arms. He hadn’t gone to sleep yet, which means he was still bellowing his sleepy woes at me.

WIFE: What’s wrong with the baby?

ME: He’s ready for bed.

WIFE: Poor thing. Give him to his mother.

(I hand him over, which is always easier to do when he’s crying.)

WIFE: (To the baby.)My sweet baby, always crying for your family when you get so sleepy. You’re just like your mama.

ME: That’s not like you at all. You yell at your family when you’re tired.

WIFE: That’s how mothers cry.

wife scolding husband

American men have been misinterpreting motherhood since the days of the Founding Fathers (and Founding Sons). The poor, misunderstood mother in this scene is only crying at her family. Maybe it is her horribly dislocated elbow that is causing her such sadness.


Conversations with my wife: Battlefields

My wife and I were trying to decide what attractions in Northern Virginia we would like to visit.

ME: We could always go to Manassas. That’s not too far away.

WIFE: What’s that?

ME: It’s a battlefield. In fact there were two battles fought there, so it’s kind of a two-fer.

WIFE: Oh. Another battlefield. Great.

ME: What’s wrong with battlefields?

WIFE: I can never even tell which part of the countryside is the actual battlefield. You always want to drive a hundred miles to look at trees and grass.

View of river from Ft. Donelson, TN

Trees and grass . . . and rivers! The pleasant, wooden deck to the right is, no doubt, completely historically accurate. (This is Fort Donelson, TN.)

ME: I always explain what happened where.

WIFE: You always say, “The Indians came in from over here,” like you think it’s important to me to know what direction Indians are apt to come from.

ME: I’ve never taken you to a battlefield that involved Indians.

WIFE: Well somebody told me where the Indians came from. I didn’t just conjure that up on my own.

ME: Are you sure I said Indians?

WIFE: How do expect me to keep track? You’re always pointing at a berm and saying, “So-and-so did this-and-that over there.” What you don’t get is that, to us non-history-fanatics, it’s just a field.

ME: It’s part of your American Heritage. We should see some of these battlefields before they’re all built over with malls.

WIFE: There’s a mall?

Monument at Bull Run

A monument at Manassas National Battlefield. Apparently, the cows attacked from the left background. I can’t verify this, because I haven’t been there yet.

Conversations with my wife: Yogurt Cups

Following my son’s lead, my wife recently discovered a taste for yogurt. The difference is that she didn’t suddenly dislike it as soon as we bought it and brought it home. My wife found a different problem with her yogurt. The little single-serving plastic containers that are tapered at the opening vex her to no end.

WIFE: I love this yogurt, but this container is making me so angry. I can’t get to all the yogurt inside. Seriously, how do you get all the yogurt out?

ME: Maybe you need a smaller spoon.

WIFE: If my spoon were any smaller, I wouldn’t be able to taste the yogurt on it. Look at all that yogurt hiding under the lip. Why do these things need a lip anyway? It’s not like they have a real top on them. It’s just a stupid piece of aluminum foil.

ME: Maybe the lip is there to compensate for the lack of a real top.

WIFE: Look at me, scraping around the sides of this thing. It makes me feel poor, like I’m some hungry beggar who found an open yogurt container alongside the road. And here I am, digging for scraps. This is pitiful.

ME: I think you missed a little bit, down in that dark corner.

WIFE: Oh my gosh, digging around this container is making me so hungry. I need to go get another one.

ME: I think you’ve just discovered the answer to why they make you work so hard for it.

WIFE: How many of these do I have to go through before I feel like I’ve gotten my 60 cents worth of yogurt?

ME: You should write the company and tell them they owe you a coupon for free yogurt to make up for all of it you couldn’t dig out of the cup.

WIFE: Good idea. You write the letter. I’ll mail it when you’re done.

ME: Why can’t you write the letter?

WIFE: Can’t you see how busy I am here?

Don’t go through our recycle bin looking for yogurt scraps. All you’ll find is the clean bones of tortured yogurt cups who paid the price for their reticence.

Conversations with my wife: Royal Deodorant

Wife: You know our William and Kate?

Me: Our William and Kate?

Wife: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Me: Oooooh. Our William and Kate! Yes, of course.

Wife: Do you think they make a special, stronger deodorant for them?

Me: Why?

Wife: They do a lot of formal events. You know how when you go on a job interview, you get nervous and start to sweat a lot?

Me: If you had three job interviews a day, every day, I guess you wouldn’t sweat as much at them.

Wife: They must sweat a lot, with all those showers they make them take.

Me: I’m really not sure how many showers they are required to take.

Wife: Well, they have to change into a new outfit for every event.

Me: I didn’t know they had to take a shower every time they changed clothes.

Wife: And then, they’re always meeting with important people, and that’s got to make them nervous. Especially Kate, because she’s a commoner and not used to that sort of thing.

Me: At some point, she met the future king. If she’d had big, smelly sweat balls under her arms, he probably wouldn’t have started dating her.

Wife: But what about when they’re late and they have to run to catch their plane?

Me: I think the king’s plane will wait for the king.

Wife: Yes, but they still have to make it to their events on time. What if they’re late and they have to run to the plane to make their event on time?

Me: How often do you find yourself running late for an appointment?

Wife: All the time.

Me: And how many times do you find yourself running half a mile to make up the time? I’m sure they get dropped off closer to their destination than that.

Wife: I bet they do have some kind of special deodorant.

If our George and Mary, with all their hot fur and other dry-clean-only regalia, didn't need heavy-duty deodorant, why would anyone need it now?