Stress Opera

My middle child, my first daughter, she’s one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. We’ll call her Sparkle, for her sparkly blue eyes. I can’t begin to describe her in a short blog post, but I’ll share these quick details:

She’s six.

She’s never in a hurry.

She is addicted to pickle juice and our puppy.

She loves to sing opera at full volume whenever things get stressful. This has the effect of augmenting the amount of stress everyone else feels. Tenfold.

It's not too late to get help.
It’s not too late to get help.

For example, my three-year-old daughter shrieks like a limbless, honey-covered rabbit in an ant farm every time I wash her hair during baths. Never mind that I’ve been bathing her five times a week since she was born—each rinsing is a new exercise in aquatic terror. And as my youngest is flailing and screeching and generally doing her best Shelly Duvall-in-The Shining impression, Sparkle begins to belt out a tune that sounds something like this one from Carmen.

My Three-Year-Old's Reaction to Hair Washing
My Three-Year-Old’s Reaction to Hair Washing

Or, when the puppy decides to machine-gun large dollops of diarrhea in a series of splats that somehow spans three rooms, and I begin to grumble and growl under my breath as I wipe it up and try to keep my three-year-old from tromping through the minefield of foul-smelling slop, Sparkle will begin to serenade us with her Pavarotti-on-heroin vocal interpretations.

Even better, just the other day we were on vacation, and we got stuck in traffic for twenty minutes. Gridlocked. Inhaling the unwholesome stench of the black exhaust-vomiting diesel truck directly in front of us. Three of our five family members had to urinate—okay, one of them might have been me—and we were all hungry. And just to make the entire situation even more pleasant?

From the back seat: “LAHHH-LOH LEWWWWWWWW LO DA DAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Sounds from the Back Seat
Sounds from the Back Seat

Now I know many of you are well-intentioned, and that many of you are furthermore stroking your chins and tilting your heads and psychoanalyzing the situation thusly: “You know, Jonathan. It seems to me that Sparkle’s explosive, ear-splitting opera singing is actually just a coping mechanism to help her handle the stress she’s experiencing.”

To which I say, I KNOW!!!!! But does that make it any less stressful for her audience?! For the rinser of the shrieking three-year-old’s hair, for the collector of the witheringly malodorous canine fecal matter, for the bursting-bladder driver and inhaler of diesel fumes?!?!?

Eco-Friendly Ambience
Eco-Friendly Ambience

Not that it’s all about me.

Okay, now that I’ve got that off my chest, please know that this was all in good fun. I love Sparkle endlessly and find her Stress Opera quite hilarious (after the fact).

Have a great night, friends. And remember to belt out some opera whenever things get tense.

It’s wonderful therapy. Especially for the listener.

5 thoughts on “Stress Opera

  1. Dude, that was quite possibly the BEST thing you’ve posted on your site…your novels, notwithstanding, of course. Ah, the stories of family craziness and insanity…I mean, joy and happiness! 😉


  2. Bah hahaaaa!!!! Totally laughing my butt off!! Yes, I really did laugh hysterically out loud to which my middle daughter (who is up still at 10:49 discussing with the mental incapacity of Hoarders btw….) said, “what are you laughing about??” I said, a life even more chaotic than ours. To which I received a weird look. But seriously, dude. Sorry to laugh at you, but you brought it on. I love it. I love your kids. And you are the best dad in the whole world. 🙂


    1. 🙂 Thank you so much, Erin, and sorry for the late reply. I thought summer was supposed to be lighter and more relaxing, but that hasn’t happened so far.

      And from reading your Facebook posts, I think your family’s level of craziness and busyness rivals ours–and I mean that in the best possible way!


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