The Papa Master: Five Ways My Kid Controls Me

Nobody wants their kids to run their lives.

Mom and Buried and I are doing a pretty good job of preventing our little tyrant from eliminating all of our free time (i.e., our drinking) and running roughshod all over our social lives (i.e., our drinking with friends), but, fantastic parents that we are, we still spend a lot of time with our son, doing what he wants. Or what we think he needs. Or what we think he’s saying he wants (he still doesn’t do English so good).

And while we do our best to have separate identities other than just “Mom” and “Dad,” there are still times he has control of our lives. And, in some cases, our bodies.

This isn’t a post about how my day-to-day life is held hostage by having a child. I’ve already written about the death of spontaneity, the way his need for a nap limits my schedule, kids being a pain in the butt, etc.

No, this post is about the very specific ways my son controls my physical body.

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Here’s the list:

1. My Arms and Legs: “Don’t sit, Daddy!” / Sit down, Daddy!” / ‘Daddy running!” / “Daddy pick up!”

He literally tells me when I can sit down and when I can’t. He makes me run everywhere. He makes me carry him places. He’ll grab my hand and drag me down the hall so we can have a race; he’ll point at the ground and make me sit down next to him so we can play with his blocks; he’ll make me carry him like he’s flying like Superman. I am not even in control of my own limbs. On the plus side, the constant sprinting and heavy lifting make up for a lack of gym time.

1b. My Arms and Legs: “Go park? Go park? Go park? Go park? Go park? Go park? Go park?”

My son likes the park. He likes the park a lot. I don’t want to go to the park anywhere near as much as he does. And yet I go to the park. And I run in the grass and push him on the swings and lift him onto the slide. Again and again and again. Because he tells me to. And because I don’t exist.

2. My Eyes: “Don’t look at Mommy, Daddy!” / “Don’t look, Daddy!”

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“Eyes, Daniels! EYES!”
I don’t know if he thinks it’s gross when I stare at my wife or he just gets jealous or he’s just a little control freak, but he often scolds me when I look at Mom and Buried. I think it’s an Oedipus thing. Sometimes he disapproves of my gaze in general. He gets irritated when I look at him, or when I look at something else. Pretty much when I have my eyes open. I think it’s a psychopath thing.

3. My Mouth: “Don’t talk to Mommy!” / “No sing, Daddy!”

He doesn’t just control the way I talk, but who I talk to. He gets irritated when my wife and I have a simple conversation. He also hates it when I sing, unless he wants me to sing, in which case he won’t let me stop. Sometimes he even shoves food in my mouth. Anyone else pulled any of this crap and I’d be jailed for assault. But so would he.

4. My Ears: “Watch George?” / “Watch Gabba?” / “Music?” / “Dance?” / “Run?” / “Treat?”

Uncle Sam, politics, USA, whining, discipline, time out, spanking, toddlers, parenting, childrenThe demands never cease, whether he wants to watch something on TV or listen to something on my iPod or dance to something or run around for no reason or eat a treat or have some water or on and on and on. If I say know, he’ll just repeats what he wants over and over until my head is pounding. He knows if he says it enough I’ll probably give in, either through the submissive trance his chanting invokes or from the pure frustration of it all. What he wants doesn’t actually matter: most of his requests are interchangeable; he may ask for one specific thing over and over and over, but he’ll usually accept one of the alternatives in its place. He just wants to make me dance like the puppet I am.

5. My Heart: “Hug!” / “No kisses!”

Depending on his mood he either wants affection or is repulsed by it. Sometimes that mood changes within seconds. It’s like playing the world’s most annoying game of Simon Says, even more annoying than that Dennis Rodman movie. Sometimes he even forces Mom and Buried and I to hug and kiss each other, which would be super adorable if it didn’t make him a tiny little pimp.

Many of his demands are cute. The first three times. But it’s exhausting being a parent.

You try to nip the bossiness in the bud with a stern reprimand or some strategic withholding or the oh-so-useless Time Out. Then you write it off as toddlerhood, give him what he wants, and finish your beer. Then you get angry that he has no patience. Then you get worried that he’s turning into the world’s worst child, so you step up the discipline. Then you get a headache from all the screaming. Then you give him what he wants and finish your beer.

Needless to say, I have gone through a lot of beer these last two years.

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5 thoughts on “The Papa Master: Five Ways My Kid Controls Me

  1. Oh and the bigger they get the more demanding. I have your lil man times three. I have not slept in ten years, my car is on a daily auto pilot to Starbucks “where they know me by name”, all 15 of them and my physical being can go from Budda to the Incredible Hulk in 0 to 60. Do I love the little squirts, you betcha and lots if wine too! Hang in there! Thanks for sharing all the realities of parenthood because its not always Rubber duckies and lullabies.

  2. Oh I love how you write about the daily grind of being around a young person who really does all but wreck what you have known of yourself, time and and life…and the incredible thing is you continue to love them more than you have ever thought possible to love (and worry about forever and forever) even as they make you tear your hair in every possible and unthinkable way

      1. Thank you for articulating so well and with such great humour so many experiences we share as parents and that I either dont get the time or energy to express!

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