Shortly after his third birthday, my son started conversing primarily in argument form. Our daily bike rides to school are a prime battleground because we’re trapped together in close proximity, his face just nine inches shy of my backside. Sometimes I wear headphones to drown him out. Most of the time we just yell at each other for fifteen minutes.
- STOP HITTING MY BACK, THIS BIKE IS A NO TOUCH ZONE TODAY I’M SERIOUS
- THIS IS THE RIGHT WAY, I TAKE YOU TO SCHOOL EVERY DAY WHAT MAKES YOU THINK I DON’T KNOW THE WAY?
- THAT IS NOT A FORKLIFT CRANE, I THINK I KNOW WHAT A FORKLIFT CRANE LOOKS LIKE
- THAT IS NOT MY MUSIC, I HAVE NO CONTROL OVER THAT CAR’S STEREO
- NO SIR THIS BIKE IS NOT DIRTY, I KEEP IT VERY CLEAN
- THAT GARBAGE TRUCK IS ABSOLUTELY NOT BOTHERING YOU, HE IS DOING HIS JOB
- YOU’RE GOING TO JUST HAVE TO DEAL WITH THESE BUMPS DUDE
- I AM ALREADY USING MY MUSCLES, THAT’S HOW WE MOVE
- IT IS NOT SATURDAY, I HAVE A CALENDAR AND KNOW FOR A FACT IT’S MONDAY
- IT’S MY WISH AND I CAN USE IT ON WHATEVER I WANT, THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT OF WISHES
- THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A POOP STORE, STOP YELLING THAT
- I LOVE YOU TOO, STOP HITTING ME
Illustration by Scott Lenhardt