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March 19, 2015

Toddler Logic & Making Men Squirm

“Are you my daddy?” Dylan asked some stranger in the chip aisle of the grocery store. I was horrified. Not for me, but for the sheepishly grinning gentleman Dylan was talking to who had no idea how to respond. “Daddy?” he pressed on. The poor guy skedaddled quicker than a cat in sprinklers. 

So I tried, even though it felt ridiculous to address, “No Dylan, that isn’t your daddy.” The kid already knows that. In fact, my son and his dad are a lot alike. Both go to great lengths to embarrass me, quiz me, and illicit a reaction from me. Which is why my “not your daddy” response was considered a declaration of my readiness to engage in the “Who’s my daddy?” game, and why Dylan began calling out for the man from a growing distance, “DADDY!!!!!! DADDDY!!!!” Okay, now I’m a little embarrassed. 

This one actually is his daddy.
But that’s just the way toddler logic works sometimes. They say one thing, you say a different thing, and then they insist. The first few times Dylan began asking strange men I’ve never seen before if they were his dad, I’d save the unsuspecting fool some awkwardness by nipping it in the bud. I’d laugh a little whilst saying, “Nooo Dylan….that’s not daddy!” But in toddler head, my response was a game- not a conversation and Dylan only grew more certain, pointing and shouting, “Daddy! Daddy!” at the stranger. And after going through this scenario 10 times with 10 different daddies, I decided to get creative…or at least have some fun. 

“Mommy, is that my daddy?” Dylan knowingly questioned while pointing at the man standing directly in front of us at Starbucks. The man tried to pretend he didn’t notice the random toddler referring to him as "dad," but his squeamish shuffling to distance himself from us revealed otherwise. So...I couldn't help it. “Yes Dylan! It’s DADDY!” I boasted. Dylan laughed as the man turned around towards us, looking relieved  as he surveyed his surroundings for the real daddy but nope. We're talking about you sir. “Look! It's daddy!!!” I reaffirmed as I made eye contact with the stranger- he quickly gave me his back. But before I could put a call out to Maury, Dylan pronounced, “Nooooo, that’s not Daddy!” Toddler logic hacked. 

And it’s kind of our thing now. Dylan asks a random man if he’s his daddy, I watch said man squirm uncomfortably with panic and nervousness, and then I proceed to agree with Dylan, "Yeah! It's dad! Hi Daddy!" And let me tell ya, nothing clears out a Starbucks line quicker than pinning a 2 year old on a man you've never met. I mean, I could try harder to shake the toddler logic out of my son’s head, and I would, but it’s too funny. So sorry sir but today my son is calling you daddy. And so am I.