Reasons kids suck #1: You can never do anything just ONCE

Advice, Parenting Add comments
Disclaimer: I love my wife and kids.

dad spinning kid

A tired father comes home from work exhausted, but happy to see his lovely family. His beautiful 6 year-old daughter rushes out the front door to greet him. Dad drops his briefcase, picks her up, and spins her around as the music swells. It’s a perfect scene – the epitome of fatherhood. And that’s usually where the director yells “Cut!” on campy television commercials.

Unfortunately, as with all things, TV is better than real life. If that camera kept rolling, it would have picked up the daughter happily giggling “Again!” just as the tired father’s aching back began to beg him for a rest. Good old dad, trying to be a sport, picks up the girl again (and this is a 50 lb kid we’re talking about here) and gives her one more set of spins. Now he is tired and dizzy, and the headache he felt coming on on the traffic-filled ride home is beginning to throb, letting him know it hasn’t yet decided whether or not to .take him down, but it is leaning towards “yes”. Dad puts down his daughter, who clings to his arm begging for one more turn, and reaches for his breifcase. Just then, Dad’s 4 year-old son comes bounding down the front steps, demanding HIS turn at spinning. He had been watching the whole scene go down from the front window and has decided he needs to have the fun his sister had.

Dad tries to beg off, throwing out some distracting questions like “where’s mom” or something, but the 4 year-old is wise to his tricks. Dad makes it inside, followed by his now whining son. Despite the living room floor being a mess, Dad reluctantly agrees to “just One” spinning. He grabs the boy and begins spinning him, coming very close to hitting the boy’s feet on a side table, and stepping on a couple toys in the process. After a few more spins Dad is dizzy, and really just wants to sit down a second. But now the daughter wants a turn being spun “inside” the house. The son tells her he has one more turn coming first, then she can have her turn, then he gets another turn. Dad reminds the boy he was told only ONE turn. The son whines that his sister got TWO turns, and seeing as how he is on the verge of tears, Dad picks him up and begins spinning again. The tears instantly go away and are replaced with squeals of delight. However, 20 seconds later, when the “ride” slows to a stop – and dad nearly twists an ankle stumbling to the couch through the mess – both son and daughter are whining again for spins, pulling on dad’s arm to get up.

Repeat this scenario every day for the first 8 year’s of your children’s life (and remember those kids get heavier each year), and you will begin to see how the beautiful scenes of fatherhood portrayed in TV and movies can quickly devolve into becoming something you actually dread as a father.

Kids suck

Kids have a way of ruining almost any attempt at fun you may foolishly think to suggest. For instance, when she was 3, my daughter was into My Little Pony. One day at Target I found a My Little my little pony spongebob platePony cup, bowl and plate set on sale, and brought it home for a dinner surprise. She of course loved it, and I was a hero – for about 12 hours, until she woke up and insisted on eating breakfast on it. It was dirty, I explained. She began pouting and refused to eat on anything else. As she eventually broke down into tears, my wife gave me the “Why did you make my life harder?” look while hand washing the plate in the sink, and I knew a return trip to Target was in my immediate future. Of course, Target no longer had that same My Little Pony set, and I had to drive to another Target before finding them (not on sale). I subsequently bought 3 more sets of those damn plates, and of course 3 weeks later my daughter was into Polly Pocket and didn’t care about the My Little Pony plates anymore, and I was out about $40 for trying to be a good guy.

The lesson to learn here is that before you decide to do anything fun that you think your kids will enjoy, stop and think “Do I really want to do this for the rest of my life?” Because trust me, they will want you to do whatever it is, over and over, forever, and if you do not for some reason, you have ruined their life.

A simple example of this I experience daily occurs each morning at breakfast. One day while cooking pancakes, I thought it would be funny to make pancakes with food coloring in them. They were a huge hit, and the next day the kids wanted them again. Sure, no problem. But now cut ahead 2 colored pancakesweeks into the future, and food coloring has spread to corn muffins and milk as well. A week later and now we’re out of food coloring, and the whining begins. Whining turns to crying, crying leads to me yelling, me yelling leads to mom yelling, and then we’re all fucked.

So now these kids have to have their colored pancakes on their matching Spongebob plates (we did not learn our My Little Pony lesson, and we’ve had to get 4 sets of these character plates so they don’t fight) and drink pink milk from their matching Spongebob cups each morning, or the day is ruined. Breakfast time, once a simple affair, has devolved into a high-pressure timebomb. We must make sure all the right plates, cups, and spoons are clean, all breakfast ingredients are ready, and the proper food coloring colors are on hand. It is a horrible way to start the day, yet that’s how we start it in our house.

“It’s the little things that kill” -Bush (the band, not the president)

Kids are creatures of habit, and it is very easy to fall into 1000 little traps like this as a parent. Unfortunately, you’ll never be able see them all coming. Driving home on a different side street than mom takes, not having their favorite pajamas clean at bedtime, or a simply trying to grab a quick smile from your kids with colored pancakes can turn into a shit storm before you know it. As a man, you’ll find it is these little things that will over time gradually wear you down, erode your patience, and swallow your soul.

But hey, don’t worry. Those lame cards they draw on Father’s Day make it all worth it. :)

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