Aug 13, 2008

Building a Repertoire

I got my first “I don’t love you” from Archie the other day. Have to admit, even taking his age, inexperience and lack of empathy skills into account it still hurt a little bit. What hurt even more was that I didn’t have an appropriate response at the ready. I like to think I have the edge when it comes to conversing with a three-year-old but occasionally Archie can show me up.

Truth is, it’s my own inexperience that’s the problem. I’ve only had two opportunities to respond to “I don’t love you” before this. Once when I was in early high school after I delivered a love note to my first true love that started “You are my honey, my Vegemite…”. The second time was at the end of a relationship in my late teens. At that age I was at a point where a weekend with the mates and a lot of beer was the easy fix for hurt feelings.

Anyway, here’s the transcript -

Archie: Daddy, I want to see Mummy.
Reservoir Dad: Yeah, mate. Mummy will be home soon.
Archie: I want to see Mummy now.
Reservoir Dad: Soon mate. How about you come here and help me and Lewis make the train set?
Archie: No, I don’t love you anymore.
Reservoir Dad: Yeah? But… yes you do… what?

I can hear what everyone’s saying - C’mon Reservoir Dad, it was only the rabbity gibbering of a boundary-pushing three year old, you’re much stronger than that.

You’re right of course, but I’d been trying to unpack the shopping for about an hour, Lewis’s nose was chunking out snot like a candy funnel at Charlie’s Chocolate Factory, there was dog-poo under the swing outside which I was determined to clean up before the kids got out there, it was getting on to 2PM and I hadn’t even taken the roast out for defrosting and Dr Drowser was sitting beside me flicking the end of a hypodermic needle. It was my time to crack. It was just my time…

Anyway, I recovered via the usual means. When Reservoir Mum got home I went and chopped some wood, lifted some weights and tore a hole in my favorite t-shirt. Feelings of superiority restored I settled down later that evening to try to come up with some appropriate comebacks for the future.

Here’s some I have come up with so far:

Evil, Vindictive Reservoir Dad:

- Yeah, well I don’t love you either. (Seems a little too easy)

- Mummy’s just called me. She’s never coming back. (Maybe a tad too evil.)

- Is that right? You don’t love me? Now I don’t feel so bad about backing over your puppy. (This one seems to be just about right)

Reservoir Dad reading from the Great Book of Dad Quotes:

- While you’re living under my roof, and eating my food, you WILL love me. What you do after that is up to you.”

- I’ll turn this damn car around… (oh hang on, wrong scenario).

- Kids should be seen and not… (no, Great Book of Dad Quotes is falling short on this one)

Manipulative Reservoir Dad:

-How can you say that? After all I’ve done for you? Wiped your bum. Got up to you in the middle of the night. Sung Incy-Wincy Spider in a crowded shopping centre. Watched The Wiggles 4,076 times…. tell me you love me or I’m torching the DVD player.

-Hey, I’ve got a Chuppa-Chup. What did you say again?

-Pretending to cry. (This is my favorite option. The idea is to put on a real show I reckon. Run from the room bawling with your hands over your face. Run into a wall and fall down holding your leg. Scream in pain. It’s a good idea to have a sauce pill to bite because a bleeding parent really can bring the performance home to the child.)

That’s all I could come up with. I still feel like I’ve got some work to do. ‘I don’t love you Daddy’ is pretty hard to top and kids know it. So, if you’ve got any better ideas send them through to the comments section. Us Dad’s (and Mum’s) have to unite against the children or they will break us down and take over the world.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Reservoir dad! I usually use this one, it can be can be used not just as a response to your kid saying "I don't love you" but also to the related, and possibly even more honest, "I hate you"

"well I LOOOOOVE (emphasise and hold for 5 seconds) you!"

This usually serves the required purpose of the kid just getting more angry with you, and trying to hit you with whatever is handy (plastic cup, TV remote, younger sibling etc).

Ah kids they're so fickle aren't they? One minute your the best thing since sliced bread, the next you're satan personified. Is the grass really greener on the the side of the fence though, or do both sides slowly lose their lustre?