• Send your child to school without underwear — happens all the time to dads.
• Serve corndogs and fried mozzarella sticks for dinner three nights in a row — no big deal long as she eats.
• Let your 5-year-old watch a “Family Guy” marathon and bust out laughing when she says “penis” at the dinner table — out of the mouth of babes.
• Get backed into a conversational corner by your 17-year-old before suggesting “marijuana isn’t the worst thing in the world” — she is very smart and besides, it was only hypothetical.
• Let the aforementioned 5-year-old listen to Ke$ha in the car then pretend not to know her when she sings, “Meet in the back with the Jack and the jukebox” while in line at Target — that song does get stuck in your head.
All of these sins are cute and forgivable among dim-witted dads, which we pretty much all are. But unknowingly raise a spoiled brat who throws a temper tantrum in the toy aisle at Wal-Mart because she can’t have the new Lalaloopsy doll — be prepared for the eye-rolling wrath of holier-than-thou moms.
Thankfully, we aren‘t there, yet.
Jellybean handles “no” pretty well. Unfortunately, she doesn’t hear it very often from me. She’s just so freakin’ cute, like dolphins-playing-with-puppies-and-unicorns-in-a-field-of-daisies-and-cotton-candy cute. It’s so hard to say no when it feels so darn good to say yes.
And being loudly declared “Best Dad Ever!” in the bookstore for getting a $6.99 Junie B. Jones softback is a tough high to deny. So I give into temptation … over and over again. Besides, in a few years she’ll be yelling that she hates me while standing in that same bookstore because I won’t let her shave her head, get a nose ring and a skull tattoo and become a roadie for Motörhead … on second thought, that sounds pretty cool.
I’m a softie, and Jellybean knows it. It’s an issue I need to address before things get out of hand and my precious Jellybean becomes Angelica from “Rugrats.” And it was a tiny stuffed Pomeranian named Boo that brought about this revelation.
Jellybean desperately wanted Boo because it was just like a smaller version of another Boo she already had. “She needs a sister,” she explained, hugging the toy and grinning her best please-Daddy-please grin. Little Boo was $10 bucks, so I said no, and to her credit, Jellybean accepted this news, kissed the dog and “hid” it behind some others just in case I changed my mind.
And of course I did, but not because she threw a fit. In fact, she got Boo II because she didn’t get upset. But that whole scene with the kissing and the hugging of the dog and hiding it “so nobody but me is ever able to find it,” just made my heart melt so I went back and got it and “Best Daddy Ever!” reigned once again.
It was only later, when I caught Jellybean looking at me funny that I realized I’d been played. She knew I was watching her the whole time, and she manipulated me because she knew I was a sucker.
I’m not even smarter than a 5-year-old.
So I’m starting to think about the long term, about having Jellybean loving me for more than my ability to pull a debit card of my wallet. But it’s hard. How do you raise a Daddy’s Girl without her turning into a spoiled brat? I bet Ke$ha’s dad wondered the same thing … look how she ended up.
Contact Brett Buckner at firstname.lastname@example.org.