How Many Times Have I Told You!

"How may times have I told you not to hump your sister while she's sniffing my butt!"

The words had barely left my mouth when my mind raced to figure out exactly how it was that I had come to be able to put those words together. Not only that, but that I had actually said it previously, validating the existence of the "How many times have I told you" prefix.

Sadly, I pictured Jeff Foxworthy on stage, that wry self-satisfied smile splitting his face like fire wood, exclaiming to a joyous audience, "You MIGHT be a redneck...if you say "How many times have I told you not to hump your sister while she's sniffing my butt" ... and you MIGHT be talking to your dogs!"

Riotous laughter. Another HBO series. Two more books. More money than a true redneck ought to have. List goes on.

Me. I say that (out loud, just to make it worse), and this strange sense of ick comes over me.

What brought me to this point? Who is this man? When did he get THAT tone?

I know where I got it. No doubt. I heard it from the two folks who came together in that way to make me all throughout my life (less the closer I get to thirty, stragely). I watched as both of my brothers started to develop certain voice inflection and began applying certain idioms and turns of phrase to their regular speech. I stared in horror into a mirror, much in the same way as a man who has just killed his wife stares at his hands in a glossy daze in amazement at what those hands just proved they were capable of, as I myself developed THE LOOK, THAT TONE, and Worse, "Did I just say that?"

Now, for the record (legal, clarity, etc.), I must add that my parents never said "How may times have I told you not to hump your sister while she's sniffing my butt!"

For one thing, they resent it when I refer to us in any of the terms commonly describing to the colour of a neck or the hue of trash.

Secondly, I never had a sister. My younger brother tried to fill that roll, but...

Thirdly, while a very close family, we're not THAT close.

This is in reference to the tone. Still, I also cannot deny that I spoke the aforementioned collection of words.

You see, I have five kids. However, of those 5 kids, there are 20 legs. If you're slow, my children are quadrapeds. Animals. Ok? I make jokes with my honey that since we've been together for about 5 years and have 5 kids, we must be Catholic.

So...maybe people can stop worrying about why he is writing this lengthy confession about butt-smelling. I said it to my two dogs, who happen to be brother and sister. I happened to be picking up poo (as parents are wont to do around their children, apparently), and as I crouched to pick up more and bag it, that is when the strange melee of dog odds and ends came about, resulting in the ever more embarrasing statement I find myself writing about.

I'm sure I'm not off the hook. Did I really think those words would register with my two kids? Did I think?

I find that the longer I am surrounded by animals (my youngest, the kitty has just jumped up on my lap and is kneading a soft spot into my lap, occassionally pausing to bat at a lock of hair falling on my face), the more I find myself trying to reason with them, saying things my parents said and using the tones they did. I'll bet they didn't think that oldest form of parental revenge would come about in quite this way (Wait till you have children of your own!). I unfortunately, cannot use that parental threat, as I made the smart move of neutering and spaying my children. Thanks mom and dad, for not being like me!

I'll stand and give them the look. Dog grabs a pork chop off a plate? The eye. Cat scratches at the couch? "Son, what have I said?" Princess pees on the rug? "Young lady! Xena Ladybird Pavesic! What do you think you're doing?"

My eldest (don't I sound like the proud grandma at the rest home? or woman at the PTA?) is deaf. Does that stop me from standing over him, shrieking at the things he does, demaning explinations? Hell no. "WOULD YOU STOP THAT INFERNAL BANGING? WE INSTALLED THE CHILDLOCKS ON THE CUPBOARDS TO KEEP YOU OUT OF THE CLEANING CHIMACALS!" All the while, my little boy continue to struggle against the doors, creating a loud bang as each attempt is stopped by the childlock and brought back to close slamming against the frame.

I wonder what truths my parents tried to teach me will come out when I set up the fish tank?