“Do you often give them a lolly right before bedtime?” He bends down to tie up his laces: he’s heading out to see a movie with some friends. His turn.
I’m immediately annoyed and the sarcasm rises. “Yeah every night.”
He stands up and looks at me. “It’s a good way to rot their teeth.”
I walk behind him to the top of the stairs, “And who brushes their teeth more out of us?”
“I don't,” he calmly replies and lingers on the second step so he is now at eye height with me.
“Exactly. I brush their teeth very regularly.” This is not a relevant home run rebuttal, in fact it’s stupid, and I know what he’s going to say next.
“But it’s having a lolly then going to sleep that’s the problem.”
"Yeah well I never do that.” Clearly I do do that, I just did, but I continue, like a fly in a web. "It’s how I chose to quell the massive cry she let rip from bonking her head playing with you. You didn’t help quell her cry and after another day of being inside with them, that’s what I chose to do.” Let it go now lady, the fly is doomed. But I can't. “You know they’ve been sick, we’ve been inside, I’ve done a variety of activities with them, fed them well, kept them hydrated, and you haven’t pointed out any of that.”
I honestly can’t remember what else he gently said as he walked down the rest of the stairs and opened the gate. I was feeling the familiar indignation of what I perceive as 'unfair German critique’: the ability to point out where one faltered without highlighting where one (also) flourished. It pisses me off no end. But why am I pissed off? Can’t I just be content with, and confident in, my perspective? - That the day had been a happy one despite being housebound again due to heavy downpours; that both kids who were under par health wise, had in fact lightened in their miserable moods and we’d shared some connected moments. After all, he was just making a valid health point, why do I have to react so quickly? Maybe I don’t want a valid health point. Maybe I need some praise from him; some encouragement, is that it? Well, you can give it to yourself, problem solved. So what is it about needing some from your spouse too, occasionally?
I leaned against the door frame and watched as he started the engine, did a U-turn and looked back at me as he drove away. I didn’t wave. I always wave. I was clearly stuck in the web.