Allow Me To Stipulate My Demands, Daddy

Sometimes, your child can out smart you.

June-2017-VV-DOW-allow-me-stipulate-demands-daddy-Nishant-Choksi-for-Reader's-DigestNishant Choksi for Reader's Digest

Argument 1

Child: Can I have this?

Me: No.

Child: Ah, perhaps I’ve miscommunicated. I’m asking for it because I want it.

Me: I understood that, actually.

Child: I think maybe you’re not hearing me. I’d like it because I want it.

Me: I’ve heard you quite well. I’m saying that’s not actually an argument.


Me: There’s no problem with my hearing. The problem is that your argument is, as the Romans would say, circulus in probando.

Child: Well, then, let me offer this new information: I want it.

Me: That’s the same information. That’s what you just said, and it’s also the information I assumed when we started.

Child: Well, can I watch YouTube?

Me: You also can’t watch YouTube.

Child: If I can’t watch YouTube, then can I have it?

Me: No! Sorry. No.

Child: Can I have part of it?

Me: No. The having of it is what I’m saying no to. Having part of it is the same as having it.

Child: So can I have all of it?

Me: No! I’m answering the same question. The answer is no.

Child: Why not?

Me: BECAUSE I— Look. No.

Child: But, OK, look, here is some new information.

Me: Yes. What is it?

Child: I need it.

“I think maybe you’re not hearing me. I’d like it because I want it.”

Argument 2

Me: Put your shoes on.

Child: In the vacuum of space, are there free-floating molecules?

Me: Put your shoes on.

Child: Did you know that we don’t actually vote for president—we vote for people who vote for president?

Me: I don’t care. Put your shoes on.

Child: I am.

Me: You’re not.

Child: Why do we have shoes, anyway?

Me: Just put your shoes on.

Child: That reminds me. Where are my shoes?

Me: What? They’re right there! Right next to your feet!

Child: Oh, these shoes?

Me: YOU ONLY HAVE … I’m sorry. Yes. Those shoes. Your only shoes.

Child: I can’t. I’m not wearing socks.

Me: Did you take your socks OFF?

Child: Well, I’m not wearing them anymore, so it’s a fair bet.

Me: Put on your socks, and then put on your shoes.

Child: I am!

Me: You’re not! You’re just sitting there!

Child: This is me putting on my shoes! This is part of it! All of this—this is the putting on of the shoes. It says in the I Ching—

Me: NO. NO MORE I FRIGGIN’ CHING. PUT YOUR … I’m sorry. Just … If you put your shoes on by the time I count to five, I’ll let you choose what we do next. One …

Child: (With socks and shoes already on) YouTube.

Argument 3

Child: Where is Mom?

Me: Why do you need her?

Child: Sometimes one just needs one’s mother.

Me: I’m standing right here. Perhaps I can help you.

Child: This falls under Mom’s purview, so …

Me: She’s busy right now, and I’m taking care of you.

Child: Busy where?

Me: Upstairs. But don’t go there.

(Child leaves room)
(Long pause; muffled discussion from upstairs)
(Child returns)

Child: I spoke with Mom.

Me: So I gather.

Child: Mom says to ask you. Where is the thing from before?

Me: The thing I wouldn’t give you before?

Child: Yes.

Me: Why do you want to know?

Child: I’m a curious person. I thirst for knowledge.

Me: But you can’t have it.

Child: Boy, you are really jumping to conclusions here! I know I can’t have it! I’m just curious.

Me: If I tell you where it is, will I find out at some future time that you have the thing?

Child: Does anyone truly know what the future holds?

Me: So there is a future where you’ve gone and gotten the thing.

Child: Hold that thought.

(Child leaves room)

(Long pause; muffled discussion from upstairs)

(Child returns)

Child: Mom says she’s busy and that you should just tell me where the thing is because I promised not to get it.

Me: You promised.

Child: As Mom is my witness.

Me: The thing is on top of the refrigerator.

Child: Why did you put it there?

Me: Because I don’t trust you.

Child: But … how is that possible? I trust YOU.

Me: Thanks.

Child: I trust you so much that I know when I go and get a stool and bring it over by the refrigerator and climb up it, the thing will be there.

Me: You promised you wouldn’t do that.

(Child leaves room)


(Child comes back into room)

Child: Why are you yelling at me?

Me: I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have yelled.

Child: Can I play on the computer?

Me: Yes.

(Child opens laptop and begins watching videos on YouTube)

(Mom walks downstairs)

Mom: I specifically told you not to get on the computer.

Child: Dad said I could.

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