Monday, April 14, 2014

17 Signs Your Home Is Crawling With ... Kids.

1.        The thought of being vomited on doesn’t totally gross you out.

2.        You cook and serve macaroni and cheese more than three times a week.

3.        At least one room in your house looks like a Toys-R-Us bomb exploded in it.

4.        You know how to check for head lice.

5.        When the temperature breaks 80 degrees, your first thought is, “Let’s set up the sprinkler.”
Look familiar?
Then, You likely have kids. 

6.        You own at least one container teaming with crayons, or markers, or Legos.

7.        There are three versions of Angry Birds on your smart phone, and you’ve never played the game once.

8.        You know the lyrics to the theme song from My Little Pony, Team Umizoomi, or Doc McStuffins.

9.        You own more than five laundry baskets, all of which are currently full. 

10.    You have an opinion about Disney shows.

11.    Most Friday nights you rent a movie, and yet you can’t remember the last time you stayed awake to watch one.

12.    You consider the term “well rested” merely a theoretical construct.

13.    The past three movies you saw in the movie theater were animated.

14.    You’ve only been to one Broadway show in the past decade (or ever), and it was “Annie.”

15.    “Sleeping in” means anything after 8 a.m.

16.    You consider free babysitting a thoughtful gift.

17.    Your idea of a perfect vacation is a quiet hotel room. … Nothing else.

If more than a few of these describe your life, there’s a good chance you have kids -- loads of them. Don’t panic. There are many people dealing with the same little challenges.

And, ironically, experts describe this as the “Best time in your life,” and say things like, “Enjoy it, because it goes by too fast.”

As infestations go, it’s a good one. Because, these critters can also be lots of fun.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Dog Responds to "Mystery Poo" False Accusation

First, please excuse my limited vocabulary. My name is Sydney, and I’m an Australian Shepard mixed breed.  

I know, I know; it’s a bit cliché, a dog writing a blog. But if there’s anywhere tired clichés are allowed, it’s on Ruddy Bits blog, correct? Zing.

Yeah, you guessed it. I’m pissed. And I have a right to be.

A few days ago, my owners falsely accused me of defecating on their bed. To make matters worse, they did so publicly. Okay, “publicly” may be overstatement. I mean how many of you humans actually read this thing anyway? Three? Maybe four on good day?
I've got one word for you people: Innocent!
Still, there was certainly an attempt to shame me and my kind with the story of what happened, now dubbed the “Poo Mystery.” All this little story really did was play into anti-dog stereotypes -- the kind that make my blood boil. Deep breath.
It’s true they don’t teach us much at obedience school. Sit, and Stay, and Heel, of course, which I never quite understood. “Heel?” The word just makes no sense. And, yes, I am a graduate of said school. Top of my class, ruffly.  (Sorry, dog joke). But I did learn a lot there -- among other things, I learned not to POOP ON BEDS!
In case you're wondering, there is another pet in our house who has yet to go to any type of school, obedience or otherwise. Can you guess which one? I’ll give you a hint. She’s “cute” and “so cuddly,” and everyone just fawns all over her.
Need another hint?

Here’s one: It’s the animal who, just four days after I was falsely accused, actually pooped on the bed again, this time with witnesses. That's right. As one of our owners slept in this past Saturday, the little brat scratched a few times at the comforter, and then proceeded to drop one. It happened right before their eyes, right in the same spot as last time. Yet, this time, there was no mystery. The kitten did it. 

Apparently, the door to the room holding her litter box was closed. Of course, they made up excuses for her almost immediately.   
Was I exonerated? Completely. 
But am I angry? You bet.
When the first poop happened, did anyone think for one second the cute, cuddly little kitten could produce such a huge pile of crap? No. It didn’t even cross their minds.
Once they determined it wasn’t the kids, because none had poop in their pants – giving new meaning to the phrase “No shit, Sherlock” – who did they immediately blame?
That’s right: the Dog. A.k.a., me.
Sure, it's always the dog, isn't it?
Well, guess what. 
I. Didn't. Do. It.
And now that the Mystery of the Poo has been officially solved, I’d like to clear up a few other things.

First of all, I’m not that old. I’m only twelve. And don’t give me that dog years crap. Last time I checked, 12 years is 12 years – unless we’re talking about a disruption in the space-time continuum. Sorry. We watch a lot of old Star Trek episodes in our house. They think I’m just sitting there. But I’m listening. ... I’m always listening.

Second, I’ve been around long enough to know that if you really have to barf or poop, and you can't make it outside, you need to get to the hardwoods. C’mon, people. How many times have we discussed this? Remember when I used to have bilious vomiting syndrome? “Not on the carpet!” You must’ve said it a thousand times. Well guess what, I got it. Maybe it's because us dogs aren't so dumb after all.
And another thing, I don’t “always need a bath,” as was blurted more than once that fateful night. So next time you wake me in the middle of the night to accuse me of having an accident and decide to shove me into a cold tub, you better be certain.
While we’re on the subject, I have a general bone to pick.
When I first joined this family, I was all you guys had. I was everything. Then the first kid came along. Sure, it was an adjustment. I missed the attention, but I managed.

Then the second kid showed up. Then the third. Then the boy. It’s a lot to ask someone to go from top dog to 5th place. Again, I accepted it. 
Just feed me. Let me go outside. Take me on the occasional walk. I'm fine.
But then, you had to go get a kitten. Talk about rubbing my nose in it.
I mean, really, a cat? Argh. And she hasn’t even been to obedience school. She walks around all aloof, all over the counters, and everyone thinks she's frigging wonderful.

"Mystery Poo" Caper Solved, Cat in Custody
Hate to burst your bubble, but she is not wonderful. She's awful, and disrespectful, and apparently not even fully trained.
So, now it’s out there. All of it. I’ve been vindicated. And the cat has been publically shamed -- well, sort of publically.
I just hope you remember this, and the next time someone poops where they’re not supposed to, you put the blame where it belongs: On that cute, cuddly, good-for-nothing cat.
In summation: Dogs rule, Cats drool.
Now, could someone let me out. I need to be alone.

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

An Anniversary To Be Remembered ... If Nothing Else

My wife and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary earlier this week. Though, celebrated might be the wrong term.

The night mercifully ended with me sleeping on the couch in the living room -- and not because I bought her a pair of lamps as a gift either. Though, I’ve figured out since that may have been couch worthy on its own.  

No, I wasn’t on the couch because I was in trouble. In fact, she was sleeping in the living room too, on the next couch over.

How did we end up uncomfortably asleep on separate couches on our 13th wedding anniversary? It actually involves something of a mystery. And who doesn't love a good mystery.  
Still, this is a story I’m reluctant to tell. Just thinking about it makes me want to vomit in my mouth, and then take a week-long shower. It’s just gross.  

Sure, I’ve written about gross stuff before: Most notably here. But this one takes the cake … or more aptly, the pile, or something. Here comes that familiar gag reflex.

Anyway, it began with what was by all accounts the most unmemorable of anniversaries. And that’s not my description. As we sat near each other in the same living room earlier in the evening, watching some lame television shows after the kids had gone to bed, my wife said, “This is the most unmemorable anniversary we’ve ever had.”

In hindsight, we both wish it had stayed that way.

We did not set out to have an unmemorable anniversary. We’d hoped to at least go out to dinner during the weekend days leading up to the annual celebration of our vows. But the sitter fell through one night, and logistical restraints impacted the other. (That means we were stuck driving kids to parties and dance recitals, and other child-centric crap).

And I didn’t set out to get her a couple of crappy lamps as a gift either. The 13th is supposed to be the Lace Anniversary, after all, not the Lamp Anniversary. But I couldn’t find anything lace she’d like. (Any more would be too much sharing). So I got some lamps she didn’t like instead.
I like to think our level of lameness is typical for people with four kids under the age of 12.

When is the Hazmat Suit Anniversary?
As we sat there that evening, watching television, thinking about the poor job we’d done celebrating this anniversary of ours, we heard the familiar sound of footsteps upstairs. From the lightness and frequency of the steps, we both knew it was our 3-year-old boy. And it sounded like he was on the move from his bedroom to ours, just down the hall.

This was an almost nightly occurrence.

From the living room, we could hear him enter our bedroom then scoot across the floor to the sweater chest. There, he likely sprang up onto our bed, crawled across the comforter, and under the blankets, making himself at home right smack-dab in the middle of our bed.

A few moments later, we heard a sound we didn’t expect. He let out a ghastly cry. This was not the “Where are you guys” cry; He cried loud. Nor was it his “I’m-hurt” cry. Still, something was amiss -- severely.

My wife went up the stairs to investigate, and let out an audible gasp.

I’d rather not describe the scene she discovered. … But here goes.

For starters, she found the boy covered in poo and in our bed. And, as you might suspect, also covered in poo was our bed, and our sheets, and my pillow.

She immediately took the boy back down the hall to the kid bathroom to hose him off, asking him what happened, while he just cried and cried. And that’s when what had happened became a mystery -- one that begged to be solved. For, while the boy had poo all over his clothes and his hands, there was none in his undies. 

I’m no crime scene investigator, nor is my wife (though she always says she should have been one), but it was clear to both of us that the poo in question was not his.
As my wife cleaned him up, I began to strip the bed, starting with the poo-covered comforter. The comforter appeared to be ground zero for whatever had transpired. I knew this because a soft pile of poo sat right smack in the middle of it, complete with knee prints and skid marks (sorry) leading up to the pillows and onto the sheets.

I took the comforter and my pillowcase outside into the cold night air to begin the initial cleansing process. I really wanted to just light a fire and burn the damned thing. And maybe I should have. But then, I’d likely be writing about how I got arrested for violating a village ordinance against openly burning feces, or some such. So, instead I just cleaned it up, gagging a few times for good measure.

My wife, meanwhile, finished tidying up the boy, tucked him back in his own bed, and turned her attention to our sheets. The whole while, we both turned over in our heads what must have occurred. And we both came to the same conclusion.
The dog.
It must’ve been.
The dog must’ve gotten “sick” – which is our family code word for having uncontrollable poo – and been unable to get outside quick enough, or even get off our bed, apparently. She’s a good dog, and doesn’t do stuff like this usually. But she’s getting old, and I know from reading Marley and Me that stuff like this is gonna happen. Tear drop.
Plus, it was the only logical answer. Unless you consider my wife’s other theory. Like God would smite us for her saying how unmemorable our anniversary celebration was.
I’m going with the dog. Though, piecing it all together, I figure it happened at about the same time she made that proclamation.
Once the poo pile was on the bed, and the dog had moved on to a less smelly room, the boy must’ve awoken and gone on his nightly commute across our comforter, only to find himself confronted with poo on the journey. And, as they say in the I'm Going on a Bear Hunt book, he went right through it.
With the mystery solved, it meant only one thing: I had to give the dog a bath. At least, that’s what my wife decided.
So, well after midnight, on our 13th anniversary, after I’d already spent half-an-hour outside cleaning a loose pile of poo off our comforter, I was in the bathroom with our dog giving her a full-body scrub down. My wife, for her part, was in the basement in full hazmat gear washing sheets, and putting the stain spray bottle to use on the pillow case and comforter, attempting to eradicate the remnants of the poo pile and poo prints.
Afterward, we both retired to the couches.
Now, I’m not a terribly superstitious person. I can’t afford to be, as I was born on Friday the 13th way back in the day. But it’s safe to say our 13th anniversary will not be remembered as the “Lace Anniversary.” No. Several other titles come more readily to mind.
Yet, if nothing else, it will be remembered.

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PS. This is the story I shared for the Clorox ickies twitter party, #ickies .

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I Learned It From Watching You! ... WHOOSH

If I needed a reminder that my kids are always watching, always learning – and conversely that us parents are always teaching – I got it the other day. And it happened in the strangest of places: the men’s room at our local, neighborhood Marshalls.
It was a Saturday. And unlike most Saturdays, we had nothing planned. No kid parties to attend, no practices to schedule around, nothing. Since it was too cold to do anything outside, we took the family shopping. Not the buying-stuff kind of shopping, but the browsing kind. The kind that finds you at a place like Marshalls with all your kids. Hey, it was something to do.
This story is already too long.
Anyway, we were in the Marshalls home goods section, searching for that perfect replacement spatula or those elusive mid-sized ramekins, when the boy, age 3.5, said he had to go to the bathroom – again. We’d already gone once, back when we were in the shoe department. And we’re not talking about just tinkle. I began to worry that maybe that stomach bug was back, and we’d need to leave the store altogether.
Still, I know better than to tempt fate with a child who claims he needs to use the potty. So I immediately took him to the latrine.
Like most people who are moderately clean and of good taste, I don’t like public bathrooms. I use them just fine, and I've been in sketchy bathrooms across the globe – and at gas stations in rural Pennsylvania – that would make even the sturdiest person gag and run. By comparison, the Marshall bathroom by our house is like the Taj Mahal. Only by comparison, though. It’s still a public bathroom, and in the words of my son, “It smells like sneakers.”
Old sneakers, to be precise.
We went through our bathroom routine, him doing his business and me reminding him not to touch anything. When finished, he pulled his pants up and asked if he could flush the toilet. At home, we always make the kids do the flushing, as part of their responsibility.  But when in a public restrooms with a kid, I usually handle the flush duties. Just one less way for them to get germs.
In fact, when we’d gone to the same bathroom a few minutes before, I’d flushed. Now, of course, he really wanted to do it.
What’s the harm, right? It was a relatively clean bathroom. So I said yes.
He was excited, and he got into position. But rather than reach with his hand for the chrome lever, as I expected, he steadied himself, grabbed the handicapped bar, leaned back, and, balancing on one foot, lifted his other foot up to the lever. This thing must have been shoulder high, and I swore he was going to topple over. But he managed to get his foot up there, and “WHOOSH!”

A reenactment of the scene just minutes later,
when he had to go to the bathroom ... again.
For the record, I never taught him to flush with his foot. But as I watched him do it, I realized that I almost always flush with my foot in public restrooms. As that famous quote from a commercial we all remember from the 80s, he learned it from watching me.
A strange place for a life lesson on parenting, but it stuck me like a poke in the eye. They are always watching, always learning – and we are always teaching.

And, in that moment, in a bathroom at the local, neighborhood Marshalls, I began to worry: What else is he picking up from just watching?

All my bad, little habits began running through my mind. Spitting, snot rockets, eye-rolls, staring at my phone too much, picking toenails, the list goes on -- just ask my wife. And that's just the small stuff. 

If he picked up flushing with my foot, was he going to pick up on everything?    
Man. God help us all.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Frozen and Tangled? Yep. Little Mermaid? Not So Fast.

If you didn't know, Flynn Rider and Rapunzel attended the coronation of Elsa, tying those stories together -- an entertaining and increasingly-common move by Disney these days to delight fans.

Now, there's a theory floating around that involves the Little Mermaid. Namely, that Elsa's parents were on their way to Rapunzel's wedding on that fateful day (spoiler alert) when their ship sank. It makes some sense, in that the trip from Sweden (Frozen) to Germany (Tangled) passes right by Denmark (Little Mermaid). Those are the locations for the original stories these movies are based on. 

But the theory goes on to surmise -- or at least hope -- that the ship the Little Mermaid explored with Flounder belonged to the King and Queen of Arendelle.

There's only one problem. The ships don't exactly match. Sure, these ships look similar in profile, especially the tiered stern.


But what about the masts?
The Arendelle ship has three masts -- including the aft mast, which gets struck by lightning before it sinks. Note how there is no longer a cross beam (or boom) atop the third mast.

Yet, with the Little Mermaid's ship, we see no first mast (assuming it was three-masted at some point). And the third mast still has its cross beam. You can see the mast pointing off at an angle on the other side of the stern, with lines still running to the main mast. Frankly, the Little Mermaid ship looks more like it originally had two masts, not three -- though that's not definitive.

Look also at a close-up of the side walls. Note the portholes, or cannon holes, on the Little Mermaid's ship, and the lack of portholes on the King and Queen of Arendelle's ship.  

True, these gun holes could be covered during diplomatic missions. It's possible. But even the curve of the hull doesn't match.  Look how curved the ribs are near Flounder, falling away dramatically as the wood ribs reach the waterline. Notice how flat the walls are on the other ship, at least until the water. Any gun holes  -- covered or not -- would have been above the water line, and there should have been more curvature.

It's a nice theory, connecting the stories -- and the geographic aspects may well be true (in a fictional true sort of way). But every way you look at it, these appear to be different ships.

If you want to keep the general theory of the Little Mermaid connection alive, you may want to notice that Ariel and Flounder are actually in what looks like a well-populated graveyard of sunken ships. So, the Arendelle ship could well be in there. It just doesn't exactly match the one Ariel and Flounder explored.

What do you think? Same ship?

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Vegas, Baby!

The neon lights were fading into the background as I stumbled bleary-eyed down a poorly-lit sidewalk littered with pamphlets. “Hot Babes, Direct to Your Room,” they read, among other more suggestive titles. No thanks, I thought to myself. Oh, the irony.

The August sun had set many, many hours before, but the heat still emanated from the concrete like weeds from fertile ground, slowing my progress as I struggled along the north end of the strip, ambling slowly into the sketchier part of the city. My despair grew as I realize I might never find what I needed. It was something you’d think would be easy to find in the city of sin at 3 a.m. armed with a bit of cash and credit cards that still had room to spare, despite that ill-fated trip to the casino earlier in the day; for I needed drugs.  

Most drugs, I imagine, could have been found within yards of where I walked, if I knew who to ask. All except the one I needed: Children's Tylenol.

Oh, and I also needed some baby formula.
"My wife is heading to Vegas for a conference,
so I said, that sounds like a great place to take
the kids" ... Bad Idea Jeans.
A few minutes before, I’d left my guest room at the Treasure Island Hotel and Casino to begin this hapless and hopeless search. Behind, in the room, were not one but two screaming children – a five-month old and a 3-and-a-half year old – both with fully-developed fevers. Clearly, I had too many hot babes already. My wife was also in the room, growing more worried, frustrated, and miserable by the minute.

Right now, you’re likely thinking, “Why the hell would you bring two kids under 4 years old to Vegas?” When you thought I was just searching the streets for drugs, that was okay. But kids in Vegas? Guffaw!

As I searched in vain, I too realized – if it hadn’t dawned on me several times before – that taking our kids along on our one trip to Las Vegas was likely the worst idea we’d ever had.

My wife and I went on this four day mini-vacation because she needed to be there for a two-day work conference. It was the summer of 2006, back when we only had two kids and I worked in politics. When we heard she had to go, I wanted to go too. After all, Vegas is known the world over for awesome restaurants, unbelievable shows and entertainment, and an incredible nightlife. Why wouldn’t I want to go? We could make a long weekend of it, and just pay for my flight and one of the nights at the hotel.

Of course, we also knew my wife had to bring our new baby girl, as she was still being nursed. (She was a hungry baby, so we were also supplementing at bedtime and as necessary – hence the need to find formula that fateful night). The only real debate was what to do with our then 3-and-a-half-year old. We could have left her with grandparents for the trip. But we asked ourselves, what’s the difference between having one kid and two?

As it turned out, a heck of lot.

The 3-year-old showed the first signs she was getting sick on the plane ride there, screaming and crying a good part of the 4-hour flight, something she’d never done on the few plane trips we’d taken before. Any person who's been on a plane with a screaming child knows the agony. Any parent who's done so, knows the agony and the humiliation.
Within 24 hours of landing, both kids were running temperatures, and we were all miserable. We depleted the emergency Children's Tylenol we’d brought, and the baby consumed all the extra formula cans, as we tanked her up whenever we couldn't stop her from  crying.

By the second night there, we found ourselves in our own vacation version of hell. And that’s when my latenight trek for baby-quieting supplies occurred. It would have been easier to find a harem of escorts and some heroine than cherry-flavored Tylenol. I must've walked over a mile to find a drug store that was open.

And despite the reputation Vegas has as an entertainment Mecca, during our brief time there we didn’t have one decent meal out; we didn’t see a single show – except the free one in front of the Treasure Island hotel, where scantily-clad pirates of both genders dive off a fake boat into a murky pool; and the only raucous nightlife involved our hotel room's four walls and two screaming kids. It was also too hot that week to go to the pool. My wife didn't even get the chance to lose any money at the casinos. For my part, I spent about 20 minutes on a casino floor – losing 40 bucks and then retreating back to our room. To top it off, I spent the last two days of the trip trapped in that same room, alone with our sick children, as my wife attended her conference.

The only moderately fun thing we did as a family was go to the indoor amusement park at Circus-Circus, which is kind of like a county fair under a dome. Fun is a relative term in this usage.

The whole trip was, easily, our worst vacation ever.

I was reminded of this vacation story recently when I read a blog about a couple who’d taken their baby to a hotel near a ski resort in Colorado, traveling as a family while the husband attended a conference – kind of like us. The baby got a little sick and cried during the night, uncharacteristic for this child. Before they checked out two days later, a perturbed and disturbed neighbor decided to slip a mean note under their door, saying a ski hotel was no place for a baby. The couple was mortified.

You likely read about this story, as it went viral last week. And reactions were pretty split between those who thought the letter writer was obnoxious and those who thought the parents of the baby were insane. (I’m not linking to the story because I’ve heard the writer would rather the attention ebbed).

Reading this story, I was most struck by the sheer number of people foaming at the mouth to criticize the parents for taking a baby to a place like a ski resort. There are arguments to both sides of the debate. But as someone who has a decade of parenting under his belt, and occasionally lacks sound judgment, I’ve been in that hot seat more than once.

Other than Vegas, there was the time I took my wife out to her first Mothers’ Day dinner to this fancy Italian place, with our three-month-old baby tagging old along in her car seat; a cute idea, but a bad one. There was the time more recently when we took the two older girls to a Broadway play; the younger one cried through a few scenes after intermission because we refused to get her a $10 pack of Junior Mints. And then there was that time at church. Strike that. There was every time at church. I pretty much have to forcibly remove one of our loud children from church every time we attend as a family.

Whenever I hear one of these kids-ruining-an-adult’s-good-time type stories, it’s not rage I feel, or even just empathy. Rather, I am overcome by feelings of nostalgia.

And, usually, it takes me right back to Vegas.

As I said, going to Vegas with the kids may have been the worst decision we’ve made. But if they hadn’t gotten sick, it probably would have been just fine.

Of course, then I wouldn’t be able to say that one night I walked the streets of Sin City looking for drugs.
If you have any similar stories, I’d love to hear about it.  Just comment below.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

I Think, Maybe, I Just Got Profiled ... As a Dad?

At first, I laughed, because that’s what I usually do when I don’t hear something a stranger says to me. Then it dawned on me what she said, and I didn’t know whether I should be offended instead.
“That’s so you don’t have to do the dishes, ” she quipped matter-of-factly, with a smirk.
I was in Target, getting some random supplies for the homestead: Razors for me, pull-ups for the boy, cat food for … well, that’s obvious. And it just so happened that we were out of paper plates. So I got those also, in two sizes – dinner and desert. 
While I was loading the two stacks of paper plates into the cart, the older woman passing by looked at me and said it, with a smirk.
That’s so you don’t have to do the dishes.
Not making light of Dad repression.
I just really love Monty Python.
For the record, we don’t use paper plates a lot around our house. We like to have them on hand in case we have company with other kids, or we have a birthday cake to dispense, or we’re just feeling tired and want to avoid doing the dishes before bedtime. It’s a common feeling when you have kids.
Also for the record, I do a lot of the cooking and shopping in our house. We are a thoroughly modern family in that way. I also do the dishes a portion of the time. Of course, my wife would tell you that, when I am the one who does the dishes, I never dry them and just leave the last ones cleaned and stacked on the counter. I often get in trouble for not drying and putting them away when it’s my turn to do the dishes. Ironically, I also get in trouble for not drying and putting them away when it’s her turn to do the dishes. But that’s another blog altogether – one I’ll never write.
When this random woman at Target made her wise crack, I laughed. Maybe she was just joking. It was a perfectly funny thing to say. But maybe she wasn’t. Maybe she was really saying, “Typical man, buying paper plates so he doesn’t have to do the dishes.” And maybe she was thinking, he’s probably single and lives in a cave, or his wife must be out of town.
I know other dads – some I’ve met through dad blogging circles (it’s cooler than it sounds) -- who’d certainly be offended by that comment, especially the single dads or those stay-at-homers who always take lead on household chores like dishes. There are dadvocates out there who would chalk this up as one more example of how the mom-dominated culture is profiling, discriminating, and working to keep good dads down.
And the dadvocates would write about it. I know, because I’ve read the articles about random people who’ve said random things to them in public places that were potentially or ostensibly offensive. Like the dad whose baby had soiled its diaper at a library, and had a mom say to him, as he grabbed a diaper and headed for the bathroom, “Do you want me to handle that?” That well-intended gesture was pretty loaded. (Excuse the pun).

I always wondered why nothing like that ever happened to me.

But was this comment about doing the dishes anything like that?
Just for a second, imagine if the roles were reversed, and I said it to her as she loaded a cart full of paper plates: “That’s so you don’t have to do the dishes.”
Totally different meaning, totally different offense. And, holy crap, is it offensive. Very. Even if I was just joking. They probably would have banned me from Target (if they could catch me).
Still, maybe it was just a harmless joke. Maybe, she would have said the same thing to a mom buying paper plates. Maybe, with her little quip and accompanying smirk, she was letting me into the secret club of shoppers, child-caretakers and just-plain-old parents who all know that some days you just don’t have any energy to do the freaking dishes.
Besides, she was right. That's exactly why I was buying paper plates.
So, at first I laughed. Then I thought I should be offended. 

Yet, for some reason, it made me happy. I’d never been profiled as a dad before – at least not since I was aware such things happened.

Now, I had. I think.

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