Sitting at Pompei last night (it's a restaurant in Chicago) eating a piece of delicious four cheese and tomato pizza and doing a little rewriting for some sketched Geoff and I are working on - I'm the creepy guy sitting in the corner on his laptop; hello; don't talk to me; I'm eating - and there's a family of four a few seats down from me.
Nice looking set of parents; Dad's probably a sales rep in his late thirties, Mom's wearing a Northwestern Alumnus T-shirt. They have a little girl with her younger brother, maybe two years apart in age.
And they are fighting up a storm.
Under normal circumstances, I would be irritated. But my day at work kind of sucked ass and everything else in comparrison seems tolerable, so I just kind of listen in on such pieces of wisdom as:
"People do not like getting poked in the face. People never like getting poked in the face, okay honey? Don't ever do that, okay?"
There's a constant shifting of seating position at the table, like the shifting front line of a battlefield. Mom grabs the daughter and sits her on her lap. Dad tries to distract the son, who is crying because daughter just got done poking him in the face.
Attack, advance, retreat, regroup.
"That's it; sit over there. Over there. Over. Away from your sister. Can you sit over there, buddy?"
Before long, reasoning and diplomacy break down and Dad just switches seats with son. Son and daughter are now on completely opposite sides of the table, where they can't get at each other. No more blood shed, no poking and pushing and prodding.
So, with no physical outlet for aggression, it's time for the war of words - jumbled kiddy words mixed with squeals and grunts - to commence.
Parenting must be like being the United Nations.