Dad! You’re so embarrassing!

Ask any parent who has a teenager if they’ve heard that one before? Yup, that blanket statement is pretty much 33% of what comes out of my daughter’s mouth these days. And most (OK, some) of the time, I don’t even deserve that egregious label!

Is this embarrassed-looking girl my teenage daughter? No she is not. My daughter was too embarrassed to pose for a photo where she was supposed to look embarrassed.

One parenting trait that I’ve been pretty consistent with over the years is my imposition of a fairly lighthearted and silly tone with my kids. However, I must offer you full disclosure… this clownish behavior is often balanced by equally frequent bouts of ear-splitting yelling at my children for their recurring inappropriate conduct. Just the other day, Abby was talking to Lianne about me, and made this rather astute observation:

“You know, Daddy is either really, really happy… or really, really angry.”

Guilty as charged. But my outrageous mood swings are not the point of this week’s blog update. I was talking about my juvenile, absurd and goofy sense of humor and how my teenage daughter finds it completely embarrassing. The eye-rolling campaign coming from our resident 13-year-old has reached epic proportions, but will that stop me from making my jokes, my pranks, my comments? Absolutely not, and I’ll tell you why.

It’s called payback.

While Abby probably doesn’t remember many of the embarrassing spots she forced me into with her wildly inappropriate public comments, there is one incident in particular that is seared into my memory. It happened about ten years ago.

Abby was only three-years-old, but her actions with a bank teller with a very “prominent” physical trait inflicted catastrophic embarrassment on yours truly. These days, I have very little need to physically visit a bank, but I had recently rolled one year’s worth of loose coins and probably had about $85 in pennies, dimes, quarters and so forth. I was carrying baby Daniel in one arm and was holding a rather heavy bag of coins in the other. Abby was at my side tugging on my jacket, desperate to get my attention. We were next in line to see the bank teller, so I was trying to get Abby to quickly tell me whatever she needed to tell me.

She was whispering something that I couldn’t quite make out, but it sounded like it had something to do with “boots.” I asked her to repeat her question as I made my way to the front of the line and started to unload several rolls of coins onto the counter. Again, she was whispering something about boots and I was starting to get frustrated, so I sternly told her “Abby, I can’t understand you! You have to speak loud and clear so I know what you are talking about!” And then it came, clear as a bell and loud enough for most of the bank to hear.

“I said, SHE – HAS – BIG – BOOBS!”

Oh. My. God. As I heard the sound of muffled laughter all around me, I glanced over to the teller in the next booth and she just shook her head and kept her head down, trying not to smile. I didn’t quite know what to do or where to look next. I couldn’t look our big-boobed teller in the eye, and I certainly wasn’t going to look anywhere near her “frontal region,” so I just looked down at the floor and waited for what seemed like an eternity for the coins to be counted and deposited into our account. I really couldn’t be THAT angry with my daughter, because she initially tried to discreetly whisper her astute observation about the teller’s breast size. Then she did exactly what I had asked her to do, and that was to speak up and be heard! I think I mumbled a quick thank you before bolting out of the bank, but by the time we got back into the car, the extreme embarrassment had already faded. This was some funny shit, and I couldn’t wait to start telling everybody I knew about Abby’s very public faux pas.

OK, allow me to set the scene. Let’s pretend the male bank teller with the buzzcut and blue shirt is a woman with big boobs. That would make the woman holding the baby girl me holding Daniel. Um… I guess that would make the man with the dark hair a three-year-old Abby? On second thought, this illustration is doing absolutely nothing to set the scene.

So, there you have it. That was only one of the many times my kids made me cringe in a very public setting. So, I’m thinking the next time my daughter finds her dear old Dad’s sense of humour a tad too much to bear, I’ll just say:

“Sorry Abby, that’s simply called tit for tat.”




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