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The Parent Voice

February 04, 2015 The Wine Time Dad 0 Comments Category :

The dad doesn't know when it happened or how it came to be, but somehow that pedantic "parent" voice came to define his daily reality.

It was nothing he did consciously, or in private practice developed, but one day an inviting smile,
on a stranger's mouth, did run away when without warning the dad said, "No no no, baby!
That's dangerous- let's grab the rail for safety," in that slowloudgoofy parent to baby voice.

Head nodding emphatically,
a fake stern look blanketing his face,
hands making funny gestures.

To which the toddler simply stares,
but not at me,
a leaf
a bug
some squirrels
a stick from a tree.


Redirect her from the poop!

Miss a step and down she goes!

"Oh shit!" shouts I.

"Wow!" says toddler gleefully. Just barely hanging in daddy-o's white-knuckled grip,
below his sweaty, teeth-clenching grimace.

Have to thank her g-rents for the oversized winter coat.
Brink of death? No problem! Grab that hood and gently guide.
Or, yank.

Stranger, sensing parenting tension passing, draws closer
with his little dogs.

"Oh no, baby!" Goes I, "That's why we take our time,"
still nodding my head emphatically with our faces eye to eye.

Toddler smack a daddy!

Poor hovering stranger with his bouncy dog, just wants to give a happy toddler joy, but...

"No, hands are not for hitting," said with perfect parenting tone.
Then good 'ol daddy remembers, "Hitting hurts (you little jerk)... Okay? Okay?!?"

"WAAA!" says toddler in protest.
'No' is not her favorite word.

Whoops... The stranger and his furry friend make a hasty retreat.
So does the little old lady.
The birds.
The squirrels.
And, even that interesting leaf.

What sane adult would step in on that?
A bubbly little toddler-tantrum and her overbearing heli-parent,
jabbering away like some old granny sailor!

Then daddy shakes his head and thinks, I've become a parent, haven't I? 
A twattish sounding oaf, who narrates a child's life
and calls the tiny toddle-doo a jerk beneath his breath.

... With bystanders no less!

Come back wayward stranger!
The toddle-doo wants to pet your dog!

Oh... Nevermind.


What's that? It's the alarm bell.

"Time for lunch, baby!"
Big, happy smile on your face- you can do it, daddy-o.
Grinning goon arrives right on time.

*jingle jangle

"Come grab the keys."
My faithful carrot stick!

Is anyone looking?

No, daddy-o, don't worry- we scared them all away.


The faithful carrot stick arcs like a long pass
before touching down by the front door..

"Ooo! Baby, let's get the keys!" Daddy says, nodding his head emphatically.

"Yay!" says happy toddle-doo, "keys!"

I don't know when it happened or how it came to be but I sound like this daily,
'cause a parent is all the toddler sees.


This... Whatever this is, was inspired by the rhythm of the children's book "Parts". A book that I have always loved to read but the toddler hasn't much cared for until now. The rest of it was inspired by one particular trip we took outside many months ago, in the fall, and by my constant self-awareness of how ridiculous all parents have to sound when talking to a toddler.