When I learned I was going to be a father, I immediately started practicing my ‘father voice’. Everyone remembers a time when his, or her, father used the ‘father voice’. It was your father’s voice, but two octaves lower than normal, and only heard in the worst of situations. Like the time the police bring you home for underage drinking. You know, that voice.
I always had trouble practicing my ‘father voice’ because once I lowered my voice I couldn’t muster up the necessary anger to make it work. It was more comical than anything else. So, usually I just rehearsed the father phrases without the voice. I started with the very common “ –blank– does not break itself so how did it get broken?”, where –blank– can be window, toilet, door knobs, or just about anything else. I practiced so many phrases that I even got to practice the rare, “Wait until your mother gets home!”
The one phrase I never practiced was “So, where did the booger go?”
It all started the other night when the kids were in the basement playing. I’m diligently slaving away on the computer when suddenly I heard Girl say in a wonderfully loud voice, “Who wants to see my booger?” I was able to pretend I hadn’t heard the question for about two second until squeals of laughter floated up the stairs. Without a doubt, a booger had been picked, and shown to anyone interested in seeing it.
I knew I had to ask girl about the incident because we have a 'no picking your nose' rule at the house. I hoped she hadn’t broken the rule, but I wasn’t optimistic. I waited to confront until later that evening when everyone was getting ready for bed. I went into her room so that it would just be the two of us and asked, “Was that you shouting ‘come look at my booger’?”
Girl turned ghostly pale. It was obvious that I wasn’t supposed to have heard the question. Girl just looked at me.
“So, since you aren’t answering my question, I’ll assume you did indeed say it,” I continued on. “Why did you say it?”
More silence. “Come on. Answer the question. You must have said it for a reason.”
Again, in little more than a whisper, “Because I picked my nose.”
If you don’t have kids, let me tell you, nose picking is a way of life. Which is why rules like ‘no picking your nose’ are developed in an attempt to limit the nasty little deed. I was mildly annoyed because she’s old enough to know better. Then, I decided to ask one last, fateful question. “So where did the booger go?”
I never in a million years expected the response I got. “I wiped it in the carpet” she whispered.
And out came the Daddy voice that I had never been able to use before! “WHAT? Are you kidding me? blah blah blah you're old enough to know better blah blah blah...” and I went on and on and on saying every cliche I swore I would never say.
For the record, she had to wipe down the carpet before she could go to bed!