Who’s king around here anyway?

I was sitting at the dining room table when Big Man came up and stood beside me. “How long before I grow up and get to be a daddy?” he asked.

“That won’t be for a long, long time,” I told him. “Do you want to be a daddy?”



“Well, parents get to tell people what to do.”

This is our relationship through four-year-old eyes. He’d like to get a little taste of the power he imagines I, and Mommy, have. The only problem is he got it a smidge wrong. If he would replace the word get with the appropriate word, have, he’d be much more accurate.

Parents have to tell people what to do. This little change drops parents down from perceived household aristocracy to their true place as household public servants.

If the children did the things they were taught to do, we wouldn’t have to tell them to do much. In reality, we have to tell them to do lots of things:

“Do your homework.” (12 times a day)

“Put your dirty clothes in the hamper.” (16 times a day)

“Take your dishes to the kitchen.” (34 times a day)

“Get in bed.” (>100 time a night)

We even have to tell them what not to do.

“Don’t wrestle at the top of the stairs.”

We don’t like having to say these things. It’s not a perk. I long for the day when Big Man is empowered to chase resistant children to bed.

“How many times do I have to tell you kids to put out your cigars and go to bed?”

In reality, it is children who get to tell people what to do. If you’ve ever heard your little kid yell, “I’m done!” from the bathroom, you know your duty. And you’d better hop to it before the little ruler gets tired of sitting on the throne.

“I need some juice.”

“I don’t like this dinner.”


Children are masters at implied demands, and if their desires are necessary, or even reasonable, they usually get us to do what they want. They don’t realize this because their demands are so many, and so often unreasonable, that it seems we acquiesce to a miniscule percentage of them.

“You only bought me chicken nuggets one time when I asked for them about a million times.”

That’s a low percentage of satisfaction.

Having to tell a child to put on his coat 11 times in a row is no fun. On the other hand, children do not feel the fleeting moments of life left to them slipping away with each repetition, which is why they have no problem demanding chicken nuggets with every breath.

At the end of our discussion, I asked Big Man if he were ready to change baby diapers like daddies have to.

“Nobody showed me how to do it,” he answered.

Well, that’s another shock in store for you, kid. No matter how many times somebody tries to show you, you won’t be ready.


24 comments on “Who’s king around here anyway?

  1. floatinggold says:

    Ah, the innocence. Ignorance is bliss.

  2. Just Joan says:

    How come I always get to (read: have to) draw up the household budget, go shopping, decide what’s for dinner, pick the movie on Netflix, etc? Because no one else will. In time, Big Man will figure out that bossing people around isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I loved the part beginning with “In reality, it is children who get to tell people what to do.” Dogs are like kids in that regard. We say we train them, but actually they train us. To be ready to walk at 7 AM, carry poo bags in every pocket, put our shoes away, buy the brand of food they like, let them have 3/4 of the ottoman at TV time… I’m sure you understand. Great post, non-stop entertainment at your house. 🙂

    • Sounds like you tell a lot of people, and animals, what to do. Isn’t it great having it so easy? This is a big part of the reason this dog lover doesn’t have a dog. I can’t handle having another master at this time.

  3. But, Scott, telling them to “Get in Bed” only 100 times a night? Not questioning your 4.0 GPA from Dr. Spock “HAVE TO TELL EM” University (of which I am a huge admirer of yours, by the way), but aren’t we being just a teensy-weensy bit too lenient here? I would have thought 351 attempts a night was the norm? Give or take a few times when I play possum—thus, compelling my wife to go and do it instead. 😀

  4. thegsandwich says:

    Funny, in a kind of depressing way. And don’t get a dog. She’s our worst offender.

  5. Gibber says:

    So children are the rulers but don’t know it. The grass is always greener…

    I was just watching a video the other day of a father changing his baby daughter’s diapers. He gagged his whole way through it, and even hurled once. I was laughing so hard I had tears.

  6. AmyRose🌹 says:

    Scott, this is just so adorable. Kids are so eager to grow up to be adults. Adults long to be a kid again. As for diapers …. good luck on that one, Big Man. No one is ready for that one! 😂😂😂

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