I can distinctly remember asking my parents any number of impertinent questions as a youth and receiving more or less the same answer to all of them; “Because I said so.” I also remember thinking that this was a singularly lazy answer that made my parents sound like idiots because they couldn’t even come up with a poor reason. By the time I had reached the incredibly wise age of 16 I had determined that if I ever had children I would respect them enough to give them an actual answer and not cop-out with, “because I said so.”
It should come as no great surprise then that yesterday I told my children to follow my directions “because I said so” no fewer than 527 times from 5:30 to 9 pm. I now realize that my parents had perfectly good reasons for everything they asked me to do, but it would have taken way too long to explain them all and at the end of it, I wouldn’t have understood it anyway.
This is one of the great indignities of parenthood. No matter how well-intentioned, well-educated, or well-off you are, having children will make you look and act like a complete idiot.
The Gnome has created a new game for me to play whose only goal is to make me appear stupid. Anything that I say to her will prompt an immediate “huh?” and it forces me to repeat myself; sometimes several times in a row with increasing volume and varying pitch and intonation. By the end of the game I sound like every bad stereotype of someone trying to communicate with a person who doesn’t speak english.
“Would you like some M&M’s?”
(louder) “Do you want some M&M’s?”
(shaking bag in her face) “M&M’s! Want some?!”
“Ooo, M&M’s…. Can I have some, please?”
The Hobbit of course plays a different game entirely because she is older and far more crafty. Her plan to turn me into a blithering idiot is to actually pretend to do what I ask her to (without actually doing it) until I completely lose my mind and do it for her while yelling random sentence fragments. At this point she gets upset with me for yelling at her and treating her like a child.
“Please pick up your soccer bag and put it away.”
“Sure thing, Dad. No Problem.”
(10 minutes later) “I couldn’t help but notice that your bag is still in the living room.”
“Yeah, I’m going to get it in a minute.”
(5 minutes later) “FINE! I’m going to take this bag and chuck it…. can’t believe you can’t…. what smells so bad in this…. THERE!”
“Why are you yelling at me? I was going to do what you asked, you don’t have to treat me like a child!”
(pause while I restrain from swearing at my child) “Go to your room.”
“Because I said so!”