only bet when you’re sure

July 26, 2012 | 44 Comments

Emma and Steve making funny faces

I was reading through my archives last night. This made me laugh. Hard. You likely won’t find it as funny, but at the very least it’ll make you smile. I can live with a smile.

January 12, 2010

Background info: Steve and I have been making bets our entire marriage. The wager is usually a negotiated amount of back tickle time. Early on I was a haphazard better, wide-eyed and eager to throw Steve down and relish in his WRONGNESS. The problem was that I almost always lost and it stopped being fun.

Eventually, I asked Steve what his secret was: He only bets when he’s sure. So, if he’s sure, even if he’s wrong, it’s only going to be occasionally. This gem put a bit of a moratorium on betting (because I’m almost never sure), making Steve regret disclosing his strategy.

I have a new alarm programmed on my phone for 10am Saturdays. It’s called “Emma’s Choice.” I’m not the best at spending intentional time with her and trying to remedy that. I’m not sure if it’s because by the time the end of the days and weekends roll around I’m so tapped out from teaching, or if it just boils down to being extremely selfish. Could be a good mix of both.

I’m making an effort to show Emma I love her with my time and attention, instead of just riding the wave of hugs, cuddles, “I love yous,” and the hope she just knows. Hopefully she does know, because I tend to lose consciousness after 30 seconds of playing Barbies or pretending to be a curious dog.

This Saturday was our first bout of Emma’s Choice. She chose watching a movie together. The three of us snuggled up in our queen bed to watch “Little Miss Broadway.” Wow, terrible acting.

We were about ten minutes in to the movie when Steve wondered aloud if there were a lot of orphanages around in the past. I said there must have been for so many movies to allude to the idea. “There are a lot of orphan movies.”

“Yeah, and Shirley Temple is in all of them.” Steve noted. What other orphan movies is Shirley Temple in? I wondered.

Emma chimed in, “Yeah, Shirley Temple is in this one…”

“…and ‘Annie.'” Steve continued.

“Annie? The movie Emma has — that Annie?” I asked.

“Yeah. That’s Shirley Temple.” Steve said. He could have just as easily said, “Duh,” by his tone.

“Uh… no, it’s not. That is not Shirley Temple.” I laughed.

“It is so, Mom!” Emma’s such a Daddy’s Girl.

“Well, if it’s not Shirley Temple, then who is it?” Steve smirked.

“I don’t remember her name, but it sure ain’t Shirley Temple.” I shot back.

“You wanna bet?” Steve’s eyes lit up.

“I sure do!” I surprised myself. And Steve.

“How much?”

“Fifteen minutes. EACH. You and Emma both have to tickle my back for fifteen minutes.” We shook.

“Okay, Emma! Go get your movie from downstairs.” Steve instructed. Off Emma went, thrilled at the chance of proving me wrong alongside her beloved father.

“You have got to be kidding me. You really believe that’s Shirley Temple in ‘Annie’? This movie is OLD, Steve. Way old. Made long before ‘Annie.'”


“Are you doubting yourself?” Oh I was giddy. My face hurt from smiling.

“No.” He didn’t look at me.

Emma arrived out of breath from retrieving her movie two flights down, holding it like an Olympic medal. “SEE MO–”

“Emma, we’re screwed. Pass me the movie. SHIT. Aileen Quinn. 1982. Em, pass me the ‘Little Miss Broadway’ case. 1938. Huh. Well… only fourty-four years difference. Shit, shit, shit.”

“Dad, stop saying shit.”

“Right. Shit.”

I was in a state of giddy delirium. “What happened to only betting when you’re sure?”

“I was sure.” He pouted.

“I’m not tickling Mom’s back. I hate tickling backs!”

“Em, you shook on it, and I’m not tickling Mom’s back for thirty minutes all by myself.”

“Nope. Not doing it.”

“That’s now how it works.”

“I’m not tickling.”

Being right was tickle enough for me.

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