The funny thing on my daughter’s forehead

It’s probably my fault it’s there

I think there might be something wrong with my 9-year-old's forehead. Her right eyebrow keeps creeping up on to it.

I guess I'm probably responsible for this new affectation. Around the house I'm known as “the one who thinks he's funny” (copyright my wife, 2002.) Puns, weird faces, bad jokes – I'll try it all to get my daughter to crack up. Given her wonderful and loud, full belly laugh, she agrees at least part of the time.

This is where the arching eyebrow comes in.

The older she gets, the more unique her own sense of humor becomes. She's evolved from just laughing at me as a toddler to coming up with her own barbs as she gets a little older. I don't want to admit she regularly bests me in our comedic battle of wits, so I'll just think about something else until the next paragraph starts.

I've learned to be wary of the arching eyebrow, because it usually means she's got a zinger on-deck squarely aimed at me. It's not a sarcastic or disrespectful exchange. She seems to have inherited an enjoyment of making people laugh. Me, in particular. So when she knows she's got me, the eyebrow begins its ascent.

It was the first time that I was introduced to the eyebrow of mirth that I learned the significance of its unpredictable dance.

I had just made us all breakfast on a Saturday morning when I sat down in front of the computer to be responsible and get some work done. Or mess around on Facebook. Whichever.

I reached across for something and tipped a full glass of milk over onto my keyboard. I quickly tried to sop it up and continue typing. Over the next hour the keyboard died a slow, torturous death. As it blinked out of existence I swear I heard it sigh. I had no choice but to admit to my wife and daughter the costly mistake I made and that no one would be using the computer until we got a new keyboard.

No Words With Friends, no Webkinz, no iCarly.com. The child definitely was feeling the sting of the great milk disaster.

The next morning we were sitting at the breakfast table together – a new rule since the installation of the “no eating or drinking in front of the computer” edict of 2012 was put into effect – when my wife pointed out we needed to go to the store for milk.

“Kenny drank it all,” my daughter said.

“Kenny who?” I asked, walking blindly into her home run swing.

She turned to me, as if in slow motion, the eyebrow creeping ever skyward as she let loose with her perfectly timed punchline.

“Kenny the keyboard.”

She stared at me for a moment, letting it sink in. She left that little brown eyebrow hanging up there just long enough to punctuate that triumphant moment where she caught me off guard before bursting into one of her characteristic, contagious laughs.

She got me. But now I knew her tell-tale sign. It's appeared several times since then, and when that eyebrow goes up, I can be sure there's a whopper headed my way.

Bill Burke is a writer who lives in southern N.H. with his wife, daughter and an eyebrow of particular distinction. PNH would like to congratulate him for his win in the humor column category at the Parenting Media Association awards in March. We are proud to have him “on board.”

Categories: Dad on Board