Everyone jokes about the Superman-like abilities you get when you become a parent. Well, this is no joke. I’m about to unleash upon you the three most incredible things I’m now able to do, simply because I’m a father.
1) I’m Invincible
The first time your kid uses your ball-sack as a stepping stool to launch himself over the back of the couch, you gain this trait. It takes about 20 good kicks, punches and heavy toys to the onions in order to condition yourself. And there’s that one day that somehow your kid wings a toy at you while you’re sleeping on the couch, and because of your loose basketball shorts, you have to actually (slowly) pull your testicle out of a toy bus window. This happens more frequently than you could ever know.
So you get this conditioning, and it’s not just groin-centric. You are now The Father. You can scoop up your kid with one arm from a fully-upright standing position the second he or she starts testing you. And as you carry them to your naughty-area-of-choice, he or she will pinch the crap out of your neck, bite your shoulders, kick you in the throat, pull your hair, scratch your face, and in-general, make you want to go nuclear on them.
Yet somehow, being a father, you remain stone-faced. You whip them down on that naughty-chair with so much force that not only is the kid stunned into suspended animation for a moment, but that all other surrounding people can feel the shockwave rippling through the room, messing up women’s hair and knocking over people’s drinks. And somehow, in accordance with Child Protective Services handbook rules, you don’t leave a mark, so aside from your child’s reduction to a quietly-sniveling pile of “I’m sorrys,” there’s no evidence that you just turned into Collosus.
This extends to all situations where your child is present. While your child’s watching, you can take a punch to the face without flinching. You can crush anything with your bare hands. You could, if given the right concealed movie magic, lift a car. But you know the old question, “if a tree falls in the forest, and no one’s there to hear it, does it make a sound?” If your child is not there to see it, then you’d better be prepared to go down hard. The second your kid leaves the room, you’re human again, and if someone kicks you in the junk, you’re going to pancake and cry it out for an hour on the floor.
As a nice side effect, I’m also pretty fearless as well. Not once, but twice since we had our kid, I’ve left my car in the middle of a parking lot lane (with my terrified wife and child inside) to get out, stand at their driver’s side window, and yell at the person in front of me that won’t move their bucket of a car. I no longer have time for someone to make decisions on their own whimsy. I’ve got places to be, and usually I need to get there ASAP so we can change a diaper. Your earthly concerns about parking close matter to me not.
2) I’m an Engineer, Electrical & Otherwise
I had a set of screwdrivers before my wife was pregnant. And sure, I could (mostly) put a computer together from scratch. But once my kid slid out, I got this crazy ability to fix the unfixable. Maybe it comes from assembling stupid amounts of toys, or maybe it comes from the fact that you don’t want to hear your kid screaming bloody murder in anticipation as you’re assembling those toys, but I can now fix anything. Something gets stuck? I unstick it. Something bends? I unbend it. Something dies? I bring the little bastard back to life.
This also comes from having to disassemble and reassemble toys in the name of punishment. The only way to truly drive home a punishment is to immediately disassemble your child’s favorite toy right in front of them, and display it neatly in front of you, like you just took apart the sniper rifle that assassinated Satan himself and need to get ready for the press conference.
The key is, you’ve got to do this, and then undo it when your kid is back in line – which, believe me, when they see their favorite toy looking like a used-auto-parts shop, will be pretty quick.
My son has a “train table,” and based on his mood, he will either play with it, or bring me pieces of it. His game is “when daddy turns on something that’s not my television show, let’s see how many track segments I can put in front of him before the bomb goes off.” I know, it’s a totally long name for a game, but I think it’s a loose translation from something Japanese. Anywho, I’ve got boxes stored under our couch that I can pop-up at a moment’s notice, and once I get past three warnings, I simply walk to the table, slide out my boxes, and throw every piece of that town in the box as my son cries. Sometimes, to really let him know who’s boss, I put his conductor’s hat on him and hand him the pieces, making him drop them into the box. Sad little conductor, enjoy destroying your beloved trains. Now how will you get from the top of plastic-molded-crap mountain to the fields of Chinese-lead-paint valley?
But like I said, I can put the whole table back together in a matter of 2 minutes, no directions. So after he flips out because his train is gone, he storms off crying and screams in the kitchen while my wife empties the dishwasher. I take a knee and quietly reassemble the whole set, collapse the box, then flop back down on the couch, and finish watching “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives.” By the time my wife has got the whole story out of my son, he comes back out to me with murder in his eyes, and my wife asks from the kitchen if it was all “necessary.”
PRO TIP: If your wife ever asks if one of your particular actions was necessary, the answer is always “yes.” Whatever you did, it taught someone a lesson, even if the lesson was that you should never do it again. So she has to bite the bullet and take your side until your child goes to bed, then you two can fight it out and have make-up sex when you fold and say “you’re right, I’m sorry.” It doesn’t matter who was right and who is sorry. You’re married – there’s no right answers or sorrow in marriage.
Meanwhile, back on the television, I’m just now seeing someone sink their teeth into a kangaroo burrito and pretending it’s incredible. My kid is headbutting my ribcage over and over and my wife wonders why I’m so calm and collected. She asks again why I disassembled the train table, and I motion over to it, as if to say “lady, I don’t know what you’re talking about.” The wife and kid peek around the couch, and voila, train table looks like new. If I want to be a real hero (and I do), I hide one of the trains vertically up against the inside of one of the legs of the table until something like this happens, then upon reassembly, I put that train on the tracks. BAM, s**t is like new AND there’s a long-lost train back from the abyss. Instant hero.
3) I Can Read Minds
Now that I’ve got a human being in my household that is intent on being a world-destroyer, I’ve got to be ahead of the game. For this reason, I’ve developed mind-reading capabilities. This is easier than you think.
I’ll let you in on some of the secret. Whenever I ask my wife a question, I come up with 5 potential responses in my head, based on her previous responses to similar, if not identical questions. I’ve lived with my wife long enough to know more or less what she’s going to answer to everything, so I just use that knowledge to pull pre-fabricated responses out of the database. Then, when I ask my question, I just have to listen to the first word she says, and based on that word, I’m able to begin a course of action based on whichever of my pre-fab responses it matches. So, if she’s on the couch, and I’m in the kitchen and ask her a question, I don’t need to hear her whole response. I can just hear the first word, give her a thumbs-up and I’m off to the races.
Also, I just guess things a whole lot. It’s like Google’s autocomplete, so there’s varying degrees of success.
I adapted that system for my child, who is by-far easier to read than a grown-woman. Because of that, I can mentally pre-fab only three responses to my question. Because kids’ answers are more simple, I can also go deeper into the potential conversation. It’s not uncommon for me to have three whole potential conversations in my head based on my question, and can just bypass it all based on likelihood. That’s why fathers are always saying are always offering their kids things instead of asking. You don’t hear fathers ask “what do you want for dinner?” You hear them say “hey buddy, how about a hamburger for dinner?” The answer is never “no” because first off, hamburgers are incredible, and second, that was going to be their answer if you had gone through the 10 minute conversation anyway, according to my system. This is why mothers fight with kids and fathers don’t. We read minds and skip the conversation. Mothers want to believe their kids are thoughtful and surprisingly intelligent, and want to give their kids options and create wonderful decision-makers. Fathers see through it all and say “you’re two – take this and like it, you’ll thank me when you’re older.”
Also under this topic, I know when my child is going to cause trouble. You know how in Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out, the CPU-controlled boxer would do something right before they swung at you? That’s what kids do. You’ll have to figure out what that is for your own kid – whether he winks, wiggles his mustache, flexes his pecs or glitters the jewel on his turban – but he’ll do something, and from then on, you’ll know something’s about to go down a half-second before it does, and you can hypothetically star-punch the crap out of him right when he’s most vulnerable. Case-in-point: my wife sells Avon products, (which I can unbiasedly say will change your life, buy now, free gift with purchase), so we’ve got what can only be described as a f**k-ton of boxes lining every once-open area of our home. Naturally, my son wants to destroy every stick of makeup that comes through the door. And the boxes? Forget about it. So – I saw the boy stand by a stack of boxes, sizing them up. Then, he got up on the couch, (which usually means it’s time to trampoline on my scrotum). But he then got up on the back-rest part of the couch, so I quietly crept up behind him. I waited until he transferred his weight down, and put my hands up around him, so that when he popped up to jump into the stack of boxes next to the couch, I caught him at rib-level, and in one fluid movement, turned and hadoken’d him with his own momentum into the other side of the couch. Vital Bonus: 3,000.
Reading minds has clear benefits: you avoid tragedies and injuries before they happen, you diffuse fights and influence conversations before they become fights, and you most importantly, show your family that you’re all-knowing, and if they attempt to remove you as benevolent leader in the middle of the night, you will know about it before it happens, and ensure that the ship goes down with everyone on it, including them.
I speak firmly and affirmatively, so it makes people think I was right in the first place. Plus, screw you, I’m The Father and I make the rules.