I’m pretty sure my 1-year-old daughter is in the food mafia, and I’m in trouble. Some of you may be in trouble, too.
I am writing this from the relative safety of my kitchen, which is protected by a child safety gate. However, you should be aware that the gate has a cat door and my daughter knows how to use it.
As I stand here in the kitchen stuffing my face with chips, pretzels, Twizzlers and chocolate — all things I don’t want my daughter to have — I am quivering, aware of how little time I have to complete this task.
I recall a time when I could eat things out in the open. Back then I had no fear of reprisals or meltdowns, and I fondly remember not sharing my food. Sure, there were times when my wife and I shared dessert or perhaps popcorn at the movies, but that was by choice. With my daughter, I have lost all control.
Your children may be engaging in similar behavior and, although I can’t prove it, I am confident that they are involved in the same conspiracy. Tell me if this is familiar:
At first, it begins with a grunt or a questioning vocalization. She points at whatever food item I am holding. I freeze. She points again, this time as a warning. Her vocalizations become louder. She looks at me with her gorgeous eyes. And, do you know what her eyes are saying? “I’m interested in what you have there. It’d be a shame if someone were to get hurt over such a thing. Here’s what I’m gonna do. I’ll just take 10%, you know, as a protection fee. This is for the best.”
And so, I comply, breaking off a small piece of my donut/bagel/potato chip/other junk food and hand it over, head bowed.
But it’s never enough.
She looks back up at me. Now her vocalizations have grown more intense as she moves towards me menacingly. “I really enjoyed that Dad. I’ve decided you must let me hold the entire thing so I can gnaw on it as I drag it around the entire apartment making sure that the couch and carpet and some of my toys also get a taste.”
I hesitate. And, now I’ve done it. She’s screaming. Her wail makes my hand tremble and I hand the whole thing over.
This is why I have taken to hiding in the kitchen with the gate closed when I want a snack. My wife does this, too. It is the only safe space left. But it is not safe forever.
That is why I need your help. I’m hoping you have some sort of daddy witness protection program or a way out of this. Or maybe you have a panic room.
Uh-oh, I hear her coming. The gate is rattling. She sees me now. She’s made it through. I must go before she …