Being a smart alec seems to be run in the family

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That’s the trouble with being a professional smart alec, your kids grow up just like you.

The apple never falls far from the tree, and our kids have listened to me saying daft things to try and make them laugh all their lives, and now they’re doing the same to us.

I believe the modern term for this verbal exchange is “banter”, or in its shortened form, “bantz”. Back in the day it was just called taking the p*** out of each other.

Here’s an example. Last week I was up against deadline at work when my phone pinged with a text from daughter #1.

Because the hooter doesn’t sound at work until 2pm most days my real boss, the one I married, says my main job isn’t writing headlines and editing copy – it’s washing, ironing and making dinner for the family so all they have to do is scoop it onto a plate and eat it. Fresh food, cooked from scratch, every day. What’s not to like?

Plenty, apparently. Daughter #1’s text read: “Why is there onions and green stuff in the pasta?”

“You mean the red onions and chopped fresh basil in the spaghetti bolognese? I made the extra effort just to annoy you,” I replied.

“Well that backfired because now I’m not eating it,” she said. Eat it, don’t eat it. It’s all the same to me. But that’s dinner.

The one job daughter #1 has been asked to do is her own washing. And boy, do we get to hear about it. An hour later my mobile pinged again. “Where’s all my stuff that I put in the wash the other day?” said she who must be obeyed.

“HANGING UP, IRONED, IN YOUR WARDROBE. AFTER I IRONED IT ALL AND HUNG ALL IT UP,” I replied, with all the patience of a journalist on deadline. By the way, futurologists say a machine capable of measuring something so miniscule as a journalist’s patience when the clock is ticking won’t be invented for another 300 years.

Still, a few days later daughter #1 redeemed herself by decorating her bedroom with a roller and a tin of paint with no help at all from us. That’s one thing she’s inherited from her mother, she certainly doesn’t get it from me.