“You’re a good Dad,” my wife texted yesterday, in response to my complaints. “Thanks,” I replied, “but I would like to go back to actually being a Dad, and not an evil pirate.”
It all started a
year, month, week or so ago, when I was trying to get Edward to eat his dinner. Edward does not like to eat dinner, as a general rule, and so we must employ all sorts of trickery to get him to put the food into his stomach. It’s not that he doesn’t like the food, he just doesn’t like the eating part of it. Most of my old tricks had gotten stale, and I needed something new to catch his interest, so I decided to capitalize on his current love of “Jake and the Neverland Pirates.”
“Oh puny piiiirate!” I called, in my best (terrible) Captain Hook voice. He perked up with a smile immediately. “I see a lot of treasure on your plate! You’d better hand it over to me!” This resulted in a lot of giggles, and immediate stuffing of food into mouth. “Blast you, puny pirate!” I bellowed. “Stop eating me treasure!” It worked. It worked a little too well.
He started wanting me to be Captain Hook at every meal, and eventually he started wanting me to be Captain Hook all the time. We got a lot of amused and/or horrified looks, skipping through the mall as I shouted “Come back here you, you miserable popinjay!” while my three-year-old ran ahead of me cackling and calling back “Never!” And whenever I try to speak to my son normally, he scowls, stomps his little foot, and says “NO! You’re Captain HOOK!” *sigh*
Yesterday I had be in character from the moment he woke up, until I put him on the bus, telling him to have a fun day at pirate school. And when he got off the bus in the afternoon, Edward jumped to the ground and immediately said “Ahoy, Captain Hook!” and I knew I was doomed. We went inside and turned on Jake, and we had to watch it together, but since Edward now thinks that he is a bad pirate on my team now (he used to be Jake, but has since decided he likes villainy much better), we had to spend the episode rooting for the bad guys. And then we had to look around the house for treasure to steal. When he came downstairs with his sister’s piggy bank, it seemed like it had gone too far.
I explained to him that this was just pretend, in my normal voice, and he reluctantly agreed not to pillage the house anymore, but he still addressed me only as Captain Hook. My new mantra of “this is only a phase, this is only a phase…” is not helping much, and I am tired of having to curl up my left hand and shake it in the air whenever I am talking. I want to be a normal person again. But I can never be a normal person again. I have kids.