THE BLOG
08/14/2013 10:17 am ET Updated Oct 14, 2013

Extremely Modern Family

DAD: Alder, are you listening to me? I asked you not to touch things while we're in the store. You need to respect my authority, please.

MOM: Give him the instructions clearly. You need to be absolutely clear. Alder, don't look away!

DAD: When you don't show respect you know what happens. We've been over this many times.

MOM: Alder, pay attention when your father speaks. He's being fair and patient. We need to address this issue and you have to participate in the process.

DAD: I wish you'd look at me when I'm talking. If you won't look at me, then I have to assume you aren't paying attention and that's hurtful.

MOM: You need to put on your listening ears.

DAD: I don't want to give you an ultimatum but this lack of respect is unacceptable. There are going to be consequences at some point.

MOM: Don't show your teeth like that! Making the Big Tooth Face is not appropriate in this family.

DAD: I think he was just yawning.

MOM: No, he was being defiant and he knows it. I did not spend $2500 on orthodontics to be used in a negative manner. Alder, look at me. I'm very disappointed.

DAD: Do you understand why we're disappointed? If there's something you think isn't fair you need to tell us. Refusing to communicate is not respectful.

MOM: You're about to lose your doughnut. Do you remember how I said if things went smoothly on this excursion we'd get apple fritters with sea-salt caramel frosting at the Farmer's Market?

DAD: I don't remember that discussion.

MOM: You were in the bathroom clipping your toenails.

DAD: You know how I feel about offering rewards for behavior modification. We shouldn't commercialize standards of personal conduct.

MOM: Well I'm not sure it's going to happen anymore, so the question at this point is basically moot.

DAD: All right, I can accept that position. But in the future it's vital that you keep me apprised of all communication on these issues so I'm not caught by surprise. That makes me feel marginalized.

MOM: Please know it wasn't intentional; simply an oversight, and I take full responsibility.

DAD: Did you hear that, Alder? Your mother just set a fine example, and I think regardless of how you interpret our concerns about your behavior, she is deserving of a doughnut and I'm going to make sure she gets one before we go back to the house.

MOM: I'm wondering if we should just amend our original plans for this morning and turn around right now. See out the front window? Those clouds look ominous and we didn't prepare for sudden precipitation.

DAD: Those are just cumulous clouds. No worries.

MOM: No, I think they're definitely cumulonimbus. And my ears just popped so I know the barometric pressure is dropping.

DAD: I have an idea that's win-win. We go back outside, swing over to REI, and get some rain gear. Alder would look very smart in a new anorak.

MOM: And then we'll be just one block away from Beaucoup Eclair, so that works perfectly. And Alder, if they don't have an apple fritter you may choose something else. Just be sure it's gluten-free.

DAD: Son, you can't just stare at us. We're about to buy you a new protective garment and a gourmet pastry, but if this is upsetting to you we need to know why. You've got to get better at using your words. Please -- tell us what you're thinking.

ALDER: This is why I absolutely HATE coming home on semester break!