It was early in the morning and since Mommy had just left for work, it was time for Daddy to take the stage for my daily variety show. Although I’ve been known to perform intimate acoustic Disney-song concerts, reproduce Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” on the Magna Doodle, and even regularly scare the robotic tigers my son has imagined into existence back into “other houses, but not this house,” I was feeling especially wiped out on this particular morning. The Twins had just gotten over a nasty cold, and had so generously shared it with me, so as I sleepily hacked up a lung, I decided I needed a power-up and fired up our Keurig (arguably the best purchase we have made as new parents). And yes, I realize that coffee is not a fantastic idea when one has a cold, as it discourages hydration, but when one is accustomed to caffeine every morning, one is inclined to not pile the withdrawal headache on top of fiery sinuses and a gravelly throat. So there.
“Daddy?” my daughter half-whined. “You come play in my room?”
This is a new fun game I play with my daughter. She recently has become enamored with the novelty of playing with all of her toys with Daddy in her room. So much so, in fact, that every moment of every day I am home with them, my presence is requested in her room.
This, of course, would be fine if I didn’t have another child who expects an equal amount of Daddy’s attention. But I do, and there are times when I’m in the middle of building a perfectly-scaled replica of Mount Rushmore with Duplos with my son, or helping him line up his beloved “sea treatures” on the floor by species, and can’t just drop everything to “go play in her room.”
And so I tell her “No,” invariably triggering a hissy fit which lasts way longer than it needs to. In fact, just the other day, I was rocking The Beatles’ Help! on vinyl at my son’s request (yeah, he’s pretty awesome), and in the middle of the opening title track, my little girl invited me to play in her room. After I explained that Daddy and Brother were busy doing Awesome Things, she staged a very vocal protest spanning almost all of Side A. On a side-note, my resilient son didn’t let the screaming infringe upon his Beatlemania, and he just kept literally dancing circles around his sister as she kicked and punched the floor.
Fortunately for all parties, on this particular morning my son was preoccupied with a book, so Operation Oh Please, God, Don’t Let My Daughter Flip Out While I Feel This Terrible was all systems go.
“Sure, baby. I’ll come play in your room, but first, Daddy needs to get his coffee.”
“Okaaaaay,” she sang. “You bring your coffee in my room, too.” Even at two and a half, the Twins have learned how important it is to wait for Mommy and Daddy to get coffee at all times, a parenting tactic I highly recommend.
I pulled the warm mug from its place on the Keurig, added some sugar, and, grabbing a spoon, began to stir.
My daughter was still at my feet, watching intently (just in case Daddy tried to bail on the playing in the room). “Daddy, what are you doing with your coffee?”
“Oh, Daddy’s just putting some sugar in it and stirring it in because I like how it tastes.”
“That’s not nice,” she grimaced.
I was simultaneously baffled and entertained. It’s not nice to stir my coffee? This was going to be good. I just knew it. “Why not, baby?” I probed.
She pointed an accusatory finger at me and sternly replied:
“Don’t play with your food.”
As a parent, there are times when you see glimpses of yourself and your partner in your children, particularly when they turn your own rules back around on you, and as my daughter reprimanded me with the exact intonation and body language my wife uses on her, I just lost my mind laughing.
By the time I stopped, the window for explaining myself had essentially closed, so I figured I’d let this one go and take a stab at it the next time I “played with” my coffee.
Mug in hand, I followed my daughter as she skipped elatedly into her room, where we played for about 30 seconds before my son appeared in the doorway.
“Daddy, you come play out here with me.”
This post was Freshly Pressed by WordPress on August 26, 2013. Hip Hop Hooray!
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If not, don’t play with your food.