Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Fathers, Do Not Exasperate Your Children!

My Dad loved to torture my brother and me when we were kids. Most kids love to wrestle with their dads, but we absolutely hated it because my Dad's idea of fun was pinning us to the floor and smothering us until we screamed bloody murder and pleaded for him to let us go. He thought this was great fun and would cackle with delight at our cries. "Jim," my Mom would plead, "Leave the boys alone." He would eventually let us go, but not until he was satisfied that we were truly hyperventilating and not just faking it. Whenever my brother and I saw that mischievous gleam in Dad's eye, we'd each try to throw the other in his direction in an attempt to make a clean getaway.

Now that I'm a Dad, I've learned my lesson...sort of. It might have been different if I had boys, but I don't. I still wrestle with the girls, but I'm always quick to remember those claustrophobic moments of my Dad pinning me to the floor. No, my torment of the girls has become more mental than physical. And I rationalize it. I figure they torment me for a majority of the day, so they can handle a few minutes of torment from me. Not to mention the fact that I just can't help myself. They hate it about as much as I hated becoming one with the green shag carpeting, but I just can't overcome the temptation. It's in my genes.

My favorite form of tormenting the girls goes like this. Every morning after we get up, the girls play for awhile and then they come find me.

"Daddy, I'm hungry."

"Well hello there, Hungry. My name's Daddy. It's good to meet you!"

"Nooooo, my TUMMY's hungry!"

"You named your tummy, Hungry? You're weird."


"I'm sorry, Hungry, I guess I just got a little confused."


"But you just told me that you were Hungry."

"I AM hungry!"

"Well make up your mind."

The same dialogue works for "thirsty", "hot", "cold", "tired", and pretty much any other adjective they use to describe themselves. If I'm in a merciful mood, I'll let them off the hook early. Most times I'm not. And all my fun will come to a screeching halt the day they finally learn to simply ask me for something to eat. I hope that day doesn't come soon. At least it's not as bad as eating carpeting.

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