At some point on most school mornings, when Sophi is Christi's incessant, noisy, demanding shadow, and continually shouts to ensure her voice is heard above the general din of getting seven other kids out the door, Christi hollers out to me, "Don't forget that today is take-your-daughter-to-work day!"
Last night Taylor and Parker had basketball practice and I was coaching them. We were gone for an hour and a half. During that time, Graci had helped out a lot with the little kids. The boys and I got home and the family immediately sat down to a late dinner. It was obvious that the boys were exhausted, and I told them to just shower and go straight to bed. Graci, in an abrasive voice, barked at me "Do I have to help?" OK. I understand her point. The boys get to play while she works. Then, since their play was so intense that it wore them out, they get to go to bed while she helps clean up dinner? Doesn't seem fair. But her tone of voice can be quite similar to nails on a chalkboard at times and can create in a person a desire to bark back at her, "Yes!!! You do have to help!!!". But I, being the sweet, thoughtful, kind dad that I am, decided to take the patient route. With a smile on my face, I explain to Graci that I empathize with her. I give her an example of a different way to approach me with her request: (In a syrupy, sweet voice and batting my eyelashes) "Daddy, I worked so hard while you and the boys were playing basketball. I helped mommy so much. Would it be OK if maybe I could relax after dinner like Taylor and Parker? Grace, do you see the difference?" I asked. "Yes," she replied. "OK, why don't you try asking me again." Graci, in an ever-so-slightly less abrasive voice than the first time: "Do I have to help?" I stared at her for about 2 seconds and then busted up laughing. No Grace, you don't have to help:)
Christi, after observing Sophi walking around wearing one of my big, white t-shirts and looking quite like a Halloween ghost: "You know, depending on how gory we wanted to get, Sophi could have some really incredible Halloween costumes when she gets older..."