Daddy Issues

I have a beef with being called “Daddy.”

No, I don’t have anything against being a Daddy. I don’t even have anything against the affectation itself. I’m happy to be “Daddy” because I know all too soon the “Daddy” my now-nearly-eight-year-old girl uses will become “Dad” and then “Hey” and then *grunt whine* until the little goddess enters into adulthood and it becomes “Dad” again.

My actual problem is that when I hear “Daddy” from the lips of my daughter, 95% of the time it is used to usher in unnecessary communication or unreasonable requests.

  • “Daddy, I have a question.” (Instead of simply getting to the point and saying “Daddy, [insert question here]”)
  • “Daaaaddddy? (Usually precedes a request for a junky snack, an attempt to borrow my iPhone, an entreaty to get more screen time or ice cream, or a push to get her own high-tech armaments and craft-making lab)
  • “Daaaaaaddddddddyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!!!” (Usually heard from her room when she was supposed to be asleep a half hour ago to summon me in so that I can pull up the covers she could pull up herself or put calamine on a bug bite she should have told me about at bath time or request another blanket when she already has a flannel sheet, knit blanket, three fleece blankets and two comforters on her.)
  • “Daddy?” (Usually heard from back seat of the SUV when I’m trying to concentrate on bad drivers all around me, and means that I have to acknowledge her, just so that she can pause for five to 10 seconds and then say something like “Can I ask you…” or “Why do…” or “How does…” which will probably be some touchy area or uncomfortable topic or something completely over her head that I will answer in terms she can actually mostly understand, which will then lead to (possibly unrelated) follow-up questions for at least 20 minutes straight without relief until my throat is raw, I am dizzy from lack of time to actually take a breath, and I nearly run into a cement mixer truck.)

Still, I shouldn’t complain. Because there are those times we snuggle to watch a movie or I give her a hug and a kiss or I bring her a treat or help her solve a problem and she says “Daddy” in that simple way that communicates all the love that is possible in the world.

Same Thing, Right?

In the grocery store tonight with my 7-year-old girl, as we breeze past the checkout lanes toward the bananas in the produce section:

The Goddess: Daddy, what’s a tampon?

Me: Well, it’s…you know when Mommy has her “lady time of month” and…

The Goddess: Oh, no! No no no no no no no…

(I pause, wondering why she’d be bothered by this discussion as often as topics of menstruation and PMS come up in the household)


Me (not missing a beat): Tabloids?

The Goddess: Yes! Daddy, how do they get the photos for those?

I answer her question and explain paparazzi and such but, really, all my mind can think of is: Tabloid. Tampon. Is there really much difference? They both soak up a lot of unpleasant material and get tossed away quickly.

Mr. Answer Machine

I’m not going to say my daughter doesn’t listen to me. Far from it.

In fact, it’s almost assured that if we’re running errands that require a drive of more than a few minutes and we’re the only two people in the car, she will start up a topic of discussion that will require me to answer a myriad of questions and cover a range of topics that I would never have anticipated, prior to her arrival in the world, that a 2nd-grader would need to hear about. This will usually result in me having a scratchy throat and being lightheaded from talking more than breathing.

However, at home or during short trips, chances are better than not that she will fail to listen to what I have to say on a subject and press me on topics of which I am ignorant.

For example, on any given day driving her to school (which takes less than 10 minutes and often no more than five), I can bet good money she will ask me a question. I will answer her, and while I am still in the middle of answering her, she will either try to answer the question herself (wrongly) or ask a whole new question. This will then trigger me asking her to let me finish and the cycle will somehow manage to repeat two or three times in that short span of time.

So, times like those, apparently I’m not a useful resource or I’m the village idiot.

But today, as the iPad is charging, meaning that she had to take a break from watching Netflix, she migrates to the TV in the parental bedroom and, after several minutes, comes to ask me what channel ABC Family is on.

This despite the fact she knows I don’t watch kids channels and, in fact, almost never watch broadcast/cable television at all.

So, if I know about it and it’s something I should be expected to know about, like why eating a live scorpion might be a bad idea or why the entire world shouldn’t be made of food products…I’m a know-nothing in her eyes.

If, however, she needs to know every cable channel and its corresponding network when I only watch Netflix and DVDs…or she needs to know how many children there are in the world…or how to build a functional robot with weapons and cleaning attachments…well, then, apparently I’m the Encyclopedia Deacontannica.


Six Degrees of…Utter Madness !!!!!

Remember the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” game? You know, how many degrees of separation exist between any film celebrity you can name and Kevin Bacon (or some other actor via Kevin Bacon), who once jokingly claimed to have worked with everyone in Hollywood? Rarely could you get more than six people distant, and it probably works with any actor or other folks involved in films, I’d guess. For example:

Michelle Pfeiffer to Julia Ormond (via Kevin Bacon)

1. Pfeiffer to Jack Nicholson in “The Witches of Eastwick”
2. Nicholson to Kevin Bacon in “A Few Good Men”
3. Bacon to Brad Pitt in “Sleepers”
4. Pitt to Julia Ormond in “Legends of the Fall”

Linked in four degrees

If you have ever had a child with any level of serious curiosity about life and the kind of focus normally only seen in butterflies with ADHD (in other words, 90+% of kids) or spent plenty of time around a much younger relative, you will know that every topic has only a few degrees of separation from any other topic, no matter how illogical it might seem to leap from one to the other, and the speed with which the topic changes can be dizzying.

For example, Pisces to flying cars via my daughter.

In the car last week, my daughter asked about Pisces.

This led to a discussion of the Zodiac and astrology…

…which led to a discussion of adoption and child abandonment (“What if a child is adopted, Daddy? They wouldn’t know the birthday to know what animal sign the baby was”)

…which led to me barely avoiding the still-too-early in my opinion “birds-and-bees” discussion, dodged by me simply clarifying that a man and a woman are needed for a baby to be made, but only the mommy needs to be present for birth (“Daddy, how could a girl have a baby if the boy wasn’t there”)

…which led to discussion of early human-like hominids/proto-people/cavemen, with dashes of evolution tossed in plus speculation on how fire was “discovered.” (“Daddy, the whole deal with cavemen was that they spent their time looking for fire or trying to make it, right?”)

…which led to a discussion of extinction followed immediately by advanced genomics and possible future cloning technology (“So scientists could have a person’s hair maybe and make a person from that? Like in ‘Spongebob?’ Or create a polar bear, which are going to be extinct soon, right?”)

…leading to a discussion of hovercraft and the fact we could make flying cars, but why it would be a really bad idea if most people were allowed to operate such vehicles (“Daddy, won’t it be cool when we can have flying cars and floating schools?”)

So that’s what…six degrees of separation (more or less) between an astrological sign and advanced transportation technology?

In any case, while I’m glad to have filled my daughter’s head with a combination of useful knowledge, trivia and a number of things that she will immediately forget about and ask me to explain again soon, this meant some 60 minutes or more (while driving mostly) of nearly non-stop talking on my part. By the time we got home from the errand we ran, I was literally lightheaded.

Moral of the story: If you can’t handle a police interrogation or intense job interview, do not have a child.