My “I’m a terrible person” meme that populates Daddy/Daughter Fun Time isn’t the result of my low self-esteem, awful childhood memories, or failure to take my meds. Though, my therapist might want to weigh in on the subject. (That is, if I had a therapist. Rimshot!)
No, it comes from being told point blank: “You are a terrible person.” Repeatedly. For years on end. By my wonderful, beautiful, engaging, and loving children.
Do you sense a story? (Oh good, I have you trained.)
We’re not off to a good morning. Someone is running late. Someone won’t put her shoes on. Someone is just being a jerk. Mommy is trying to get dressed to take them to school. Breakfast is my job today.
I call to Julianna (she’s eight): Julianna! Turn off the Rugrats and come eat your Lucky Charms.
J: But, I can’t miss Rugrats. It’s my favoritest one ever.
Me: Honey, I don’t care. You have to eat. Let’s go. You have to leave in a few minutes.
J: No! I hate Lucky Charms. I can’t miss Rugrats!
Then, going from 0 to 100 in about 2 sentences.
J: You’re a horrible father!
She’s right, of course. I suck. I know it. Short, fat, kinda dumb, socially awkward, inept at just about everything, unable to relate to a small child in any significant way. Clumsy. Lacking the most basic sense of humor. Old. Stiff. Emotionally remote. Unskilled. Cold. With no compassion for other people or animals. And, kinda stinky.
I get it. But, still…
Me: Eat your Goddamn cereal! It’s Magically Fucking Delicious!
Yeah, I didn’t actually say that. I just thought it so loud in my head that I was sure she could hear it.
Now, here comes Act 2.
Isabella (she’s five, and whiny): Daaaddddeeeee. I’m hungryyyyy.
Me: Ok, what do you want? Oatmeal? Eggs?… Waffle?
Iz: Can I have Honey Smacks?
Me: No, Honey. We’re all out. Sorry.
Iz: What do you mean we’re out? (She starts to ratchet it up.) You knew we were out yesterday! Why didn’t you go to the store?!
Me (trying to remain calm): Sweety, we have plenty of stuff you can eat.
Iz (here come the waterworks): Waaaah!! I only want Honey Smacks. And, you didn’t buy them. You should have gone to the store! So, now I can’t eat anything. Waaah!!
Me: Puppy, please stop crying.
Iz: No! And, you can’t make me! You’re a horrible father!
So, you see. Obviously irrefutable evidence of my total suckage.
You know, that therapist idea is starting to sound better.