I’ve recently discovered that I’ve been spelling a few words wrong my entire life. Like traveled. Single l. Apparently that's the rule in America. In the UK, I’d be a great speller. Anyway, I’m surprised that, for 29 years, nobody has called me out on this. (Until copy-edits. Guys, I would’ve preferred if the people publishing my book thought I knew how to spell traveled. Just saying.)
I will add this to my growing list of Things You Should Probably Tell People.
I started this list after I had Kid #2 and my dad retired and took up his new role as my sidekick.
This is how the whole sidekick thing got started. He'd call in the morning, see where I planned on going, and decide whether he wanted to meet me there. Typical sidekick outings included Barnes & Noble, Target, and the library. (Look I had two kids under the age of two, that’s pretty much as exciting as it gets, okay?)
So. The story: first sidekick outing to Barnes & Noble. We got coffee. His was frozen (which, as you will soon discover, I am very thankful for), and I was about to take the kids over to story-time (because that's how I roll).
Dad: “I’ll take the baby for a walk.”
Me: *awkward pause*
Dad: “What, you think I can’t walk a baby? You were a baby once. You turned out fine.”
Me: *there are so many possible responses to this I don’t know where to begin, so instead I stay silent*
Dad: “He’s a baby. He can’t do anything.”
Me: “Do you have your phone on you?”
Dad: *stomps off with the baby in the stroller and his frozen coffee in the cup-holder*
I called him as soon as story-time was over. He returned with baby. Success. I felt guilty about worrying.
I got home and realized that Kid #2 smelled particularly delicious. Also, he had streaks of syrup in his hair.
I called my dad. “What happened to my baby?”
Dad: “What do you mean?”
Me: “He smells like chocolate. And he’s….sticky.”
Dad: “Oh. Yeah. I spilled my drink.”
Me: “On my baby?”
Dad: “I guess.”
Me: “And you didn’t clean it?”
Dad: “I cleaned some of it. I didn’t really have napkins.”
Me: “Why didn’t you tell me?”
Dad: “I just did.”
Dad: “Fine. I spilled Mocha Frappuccino on your baby. Happy?”
Me: *seething silently*
Me again: “So, Target tomorrow?”
Dad: “See you there.”
Now, I get that maybe he didn’t want to come right out and say: “I spilled Mocha Frappuccino on your newborn and didn’t clean it off.” But there are other ways he could've made it known. Like maybe, “I’m not sure what happened but it appears there's some chocolate syrup in this kid’s hair.” Or, to put it even more subtly: “I think this kid could really use a bath.”
Same with my spelling. A simple, “Hey, I’m not really feeling the way that double l looks in that word” would cut it. Or maybe, “You know what would look good after that first l? An e. ” Or possibly, “Do you have spell check?”
And for the record, always, always, always tell the mother if you spill something all over her baby. Or clean him off before she notices.