Unfit Father

Published on June 16th, 2015 | by Richard Black


SCHOOL’S OUT FOR SUMMER! All Right! (Ahhhhh Sh*t)

UF_AliceCooper_061615Preschool ended just over two weeks ago and my daughter and I are already driving each other absolutely bugshit crazy. The first week went well. Darcy caught up on a lot of TV, I continued to unpack from our recent and ongoing move/renovation/hellhole and all was well.

“Really how bad can this be?” I had the hubris of thinking to myself one day. Over the years I’d heard that parents, particularly stay at home parents, dread the summer months. I’ve been a stay at home dad for almost five years after all and I didn’t really understand what all the fuss was about. For the first two years of Darcy’s life there was no school or other respite and I like to think that both of us came out of the experience with minimal emotional damage.

How bad really could summer be with a five year old?

Those very words may be etched on my tombstone within the next few months.

What I had forgotten of course was that three, two, or even one year ago my daughter lacked the…how shall I put this…verbal enthusiasm and inquisitive nature she currently possesses. She comes by it naturally. Darcy’s an extrovert like her mother and I’m…well…not so much. I’ve been told that I process questions internally, usually after six or seven beers. Don’t get me wrong I still have questions, many, many questions. Usually however I have the decency to keep them to myself.

After forty years I’ve learned how to refrain from asking a good 98% of them because, contrary to popular belief, there really are stupid questions (what does this button do? Are you sure you’re on the pill? That’s just a rash right? Right? This thing isn’t loaded is it?).

Children my daughter’s age have no such filter and I really had no idea what I was in for this summer. “Irritating” is the first word that comes to mind shortly followed by “exhausting” and then a search on Google for a delivery service that provides Xanax or tequila, preferably both. Don’t get me wrong I love Darcy’s inquisitive nature but there are only so many times I can answer the question “Daddy what’s lunch?” before I worry about her mental faculties and, in short order, my own.

My inability to answer the question caused a brief tantrum on both of our parts and my daughter’s refusal to eat the aforementioned lunch. I suppose I’m to blame. Instead of focusing on the more esoteric question of what lunch “was” I took a stab at simply getting my daughter to eat lunch.

In a misguided attempt to “parent” my daughter I bought her a cupcake in the hope that I’d be able to entice her to eat something other than toast for lunch. We went to the store, I allowed her to pick out some foods from the deli, a piece of cheese, some olives a bunch of pepperoni and, of course, a cupcake. When it came time to eat she balked.

That was two days ago To be precise that was 48 hours, fifteen minutes and forty two, nope forty three seconds ago. During that time there has not been a fifteen minute stretch when I haven’t had to answer a question about that damnable cupcake or when lunch, dinner or breakfast might occur, what those meals “are” and the food I’m going to serve for each meal.

“That’s too long,” Darcy whines as I try to explain the amount of time between lunch and dinner or, “that’s gross,” is the inevitable response when I describe what I want her to eat.


Grilled cheese. The most offensive foodstuff I could offer my daughter.

“You like cheese and you like bread,” I reply, “That’s all grilled cheese is. They taste great together. It’s even got butter all over it. You used to love grilled cheese sandwiches. I’ll give you a thousand dollars if you just try it.”

“It looks bumpy,” Darcy says.

Logic, clearly, has no place in the mind of a five year old, at least not when it comes to eating or really anything else they set their mind to. I’ve had more lucid conversations with my fucking blender at four in the morning (by the way I love you man) than I have with my daughter regarding what she will or won’t eat.

It’s too hard. It’s too soft. It’s too crunchy. I don’t like the brown things on the toast. These are just a few of the complaints my daughter has about a foodstuff that most children willing, even cheerfully, eat every day. Unfortunately meal times are only part of the problem and after ten minutes of any activity Darcy becomes bored or unhappy about how I’m “doing it wrong”.

Aside from my wife (and my mother, possibly my sister too) the last time I heard this lecture was with my college girlfriend. It’s almost as if the purpose of every woman I’ve ever known is to list the number of things I’m screwing up: Lego’s, playing mermaids, playing mermaid Lego’s, Barbies, Godforsaken Calico Critters that my short stumpy fingers are incapable of grasping and that’s just my wife’s short list.

The problem of course is how to balance my need for silence with Darcy’s need to to yell, query, and sing/scream for hours on end before either one of us begins contemplating the unthinkable. For my part that simply involves getting more than ten minutes of peace and quiet every twelve hours.

I believe my daughter however has more harmful plans in mind and that there’s only so long until  I’m going to wake up on the wrong side of a pillow. Darcy’s a light sleeper and she’s taken on a more vengeful attitude recently. It comes from her mother’s side of the family and fortunately as an older, more mature, adult I will take her attempt to smother me in my sleep as the cry for attention that it truly is instead of an attempt on my life.

On that note if you don’t hear from me for a few weeks please feel free to call the police. Odds are I’ll be fine but one can’t really be too cautious these days and in the event of my possible death I’d really like someone to look into the matter. Until next time have a happy and a healthy summer break and may God have mercy on us all.

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