Lately, my two oldest daughters have been washing and drying the dinner dishes. The evening I am now writing about was no exception; so I went downstairs to iron two shirts while my wife folded some laundry.
This “event”, known as the washing and drying of the dishes, always begins the same: the thirteen year old (M1) has to use the bathroom. Because she is the washer, and the younger one (M2) cannot dry dishes that are not washed, M2 must wait for M1 (who takes her sweet time). The “taking of sweet time” usually elicits a great number of calls to hurry up from my wife and me; each reminder more firm and serious in tone than the last. M2 spends this time putting on pajamas and/or reading.
Eventually, M1 will announce to the world that she is ready to wash dishes by emerging from the bathroom and yelling at her sister. Typically something along the lines of, “Hurry up and quit playing around. We have dishes to do!”.
Next, dishes will actually be done (with much murmuring and snotty talk from both). Back and forth they go. M1 makes sure to tell M2 everything she’s doing wrong; and M2 responds accordingly. That night, while ironing, I heard their arguing grow more and more heated until finally it stopped – shortly after the sound of a sharp crack and a quick yelp.
Not too much later M1 came downstairs and asked me – wide eyed and all smiles – if we could watch funny videos on the internet. I answered, “no, not after hearing that Mom had to give you a slap on the butt for the way you were talking to your sister” (I didn’t actually know for sure if it was M1 who got the spanking – but was willing to bet).
“She smacked the back of my head not my butt”, M1 corrected.
“You need to not correct me” I said, firmly.
And then it happened. M1 crossed her arms, tilted her head slightly, gave me that look as if I were the dumbest person on the planet, and asked me “do you wanna be wrong?”
Did I mention she’s thirteen?