04 April 2013

The Kobayashi Maru

Recently, as sometimes happens in parenting, the wife and I were having a disagreement. During the conversation, she pointed out to me that I was thinking of things in terms of being an adult and not trying to imagine what a 4-year-old’s perspective might be. Which was true. And it made me realize that I do this all the time. There are times where I have unreasonably high expectations about the behavior of our kids, simply because I think in terms of being a grown-up. I know this and this and this, so why don’t they know it, too?

All of this led me to realize that becoming a father has apparently drawn out my inner Spock. And apparently, I have an inner Spock. Which is kind of depressing. I guess I’d always hoped that if I had an iconic sci-fi character lurking in the recesses of my soul that it would be Captain Han Solo with all his brash confidence and wit and style. But instead it’s Mr. Spock with his robotic lack of emotion and rational—sorry, logical—brain.

Watching our sons play together recently, I found myself thinking this: What you’re doing makes absolutely no sense. Why are you doing that? No, really, why are you doing that?

And again, I realized that I do this all the time. Usually I can connect with that part of my brain or personality that remembers being a kid, can identify with being a kid, allows me to empathize with my own kids. But other times, I shift suddenly and uncontrollably into I’m a grown-ass man mode, in which I look at my children like they are space aliens and behaving in the most insane, irrational manner I can possibly fathom.

Even with the baby. Which I recognize is borderline insane. Because he’s a baby.

What is the fascination with the remote controls? They are not toys. Why do they amuse so? And why are you constantly in motion? Isn’t it nice to just sit still and relax? Once in a while?

Yes, let’s drop food all over the floor while eating dinner. Sure. Why not? And while we’re at it, let’s love something one night at dinner then wrinkle our nose and hate it the next night. That makes sense. 

And while we’re doing any activity of any kind, let’s go ahead and just not take time out to go to the bathroom. Ever. You must be uncomfortable, right? You’re acting uncomfortable. You know what will alleviate that discomfort, right? And so, why don’t you want to do that? Just wondering.

Taking out all the stuffed animals—every single, last one—and spreading them around the room, like the world’s plushiest obstacle course. Pushing all the pillows off a chair and onto the floor as you climb down, for no reason whatsoever. Insisting on reading the same book night after night, week in and week out. Or demanding to play with Batman Trio blocks every single night before bed. You think I’m kidding, but I’m not. Every. Single. Night. 

It is just completely illogical.

Okay, fine, screw it, I guess I’m Spock. Whatever.

Live long and prosper . . .

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