Confessions of a Bad Dad on the Eve of My Second Child » VSB

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Confessions of a Bad Dad on the Eve of My Second Child

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As my wife and I careen into the last few weeks of her pregnancy and prepare for life with our new little girl, it’s beginning to dawn on me just how bad a job I’ve been doing as a parent for our first daughter.  Four, almost five, years into the game and I’m finally coming to grips with the fact that, as a dad, I’m not very good at my job sometimes.

So, in the spirit of lip professing and atonement as a means to clear the slate for this new life to come, I feel like I owe it to my eldest to profess my sins and seek something like forgiveness for being a shitty, although involved, dad.  Just like Usher Raymond, these are my parental confessions (although imagine me as DMX on the cover of Flesh of My Flesh) laying myself bare for your judgment.

I’ve exploited my child’s illiteracy for my own gain.

Throughout my life, I’ve had to use a variety of ruses and subterfuge as tools to get my way, get what I want, or get out of a jam.  Most of the time when I had to run game, I was dealing with adults with some modicum of education who required a lot of thought to pull off a con.  Then, God gifted me this little person who came into this world knowing essentially nothing.  But most importantly, this lil bamma doesn’t quite know how to read yet.

Man, is that liberating.  Driving down the street and you see a sign for a fast food place she recognizes?  I tell her that the sign says it’s closed and she just can’t read it.  At the store and she’s getting ready to get her Ezell on for some cookies or some chips?  Flip that bag over and tell her, “Oh no, these say they’re spoiled,” then keep on truckin’.  And then there’s my favorite move, when she pulls out that long ass bedtime story to try to prolong the magic and keep from going to sleep (bruh, there’s this book that’s called Grandfather Ghandi that’s like the goddamn Odyssey for children), skip pages and make up a new story on the spot.  What’s she gonna do; stop you?  She can’t read and I know the jig is gonna be up any day now so I might as well get it in while I can.

I’m pretty sure I’m gonna pay for this when she gets a neck tattoo that I’m forced to read for the rest of my life.  I’m sorry.

When I’m in the car with my kid, I listen to unedited versions of albums.

This, for me, is a matter of principle.  As a person who has grown up on and with Hip-Hop and the preeminent musical form, I feel like there’s a value to the integrity of the music as a whole song.  That means production, sampling, and lyrics.  There’s a profundity in the profanity in Ready To Die and, if you were to edit Straight Outta Compton it would lose its worth.

Now, I’m not saying that I’m in the car with my shorty listening to some trap shit or blasting “No Limit Soldiers” on the way to school every morning (I wait to drive off for that).  But when we listen to the classics like Aquemini or Things Fall Apart or Good Kid Maad City, we’re gonna listen to it the way nature intended it.  With the cuss words.  Yeah, I’m probably spending more time stepping over the lyrics telling my kid “Don’t say ‘muthafucka’ at school,” but it’s for the art, man.

I’m pretty sure I’m going to turn out for the worst when, at some point, she has both the classroom and street vernacular available to tell me why I can’t see my grandkids.  I’m sorry.

I told my daughter that an ex-girlfriend was a witch.

True story.  A few months ago, I bumped into an ex at the Whole Foods.  When she walked away my daughter asked who she was, I just blurted out, “She’s a witch and she’s probably here to get ingredients for a stew made of children.”

The thing is, if you know this woman, I may or may not be stretching the truth.  Jussayin’.

I’m pretty sure this is gonna be a problem when my daughter figures out all my shortcomings like my ex did.  I’m sorry.

I’ve given my child to a stranger to take her to the bathroom.

Aiight, this is one that my wife still hasn’t forgiven me for, but bear with me.

Me and the fellas went to a sports bar to watch football and took the kids with us because fatherhood.  My daughter, as kids are wont to do, decided she had to pee and, as this was a sports bar, they had no family restroom and the men’s room looked like what would happen if a Little Caesar’s Pizza and a bottle of E&J had a love child gestated in a vagrant’s innards.  It was nasty and I was at a loss.  That was until a kindly white lady came along and asked me if I needed help and offered to take her to the ladies room for me.  It was like a miracle.  It was awesome.

Then I told my wife and she got mad.  Like, this woman might have stolen the kid.  First off, I was standing by the door the whole time and secondly, I was raised on 80’s television where rich white people adopting little black kids was presented as a viable path for personal advancement so it might’ve been a come-up.

I’m guessing that I’m gonna regret this when my daughter is the only woman at Spelman College to pledge Zeta Tau Alpha.  I’m sorry.

Whenever my daughter talks about Jesus, I tell her that he’s Black.

I actually don’t feel bad about this one.

Santa’s Black too.  I’m not sorry.

Sometimes, I pretend to be asleep to get her to stop talking.

Living with a four year-old is like living with the cops.  From the moment my feet hit the floor to the moment I drop her off at school and again when I come home at night, I’m peppered with all manner of questions about every-fucking-thing.

“What’s your favorite color?” (for the sixth time in thirty minutes)

“What’s your favorite holiday?” (on Thanksgiving which you’ve announced as your favorite holiday)

“What’s that guy’s name?” (pointing to a random person on the corner)

“What does Jesus smell like?” (actual question)

Every so often, I just lean my head back, close my eyes, and imagine those halcyon days when my house was quiet and empty and being drunk at 11:00am was a good start.  After about five or six loud fake snores, she gets bored and starts to play quietly by herself.

I’m pretty sure this is gonna bite me in the ass when I’m actually trying to impart some real wisdom and she trusts a YouTube clip for career advice over me.  I’m sorry.

Most of the time, I’m totally winging this shit.

I’m not even gonna lie, since the day that put that first baby girl in my arms I’ve been out here in the world just making this shit up as I go.  Maybe it’s because I didn’t have my own father around all the time as a role model or maybe it’s because I’ve created this unattainable standard of parenthood for myself or maybe, just maybe, none us really know what we’re doing and we’re just raising another generation of kids to be just as jacked up as we are.  Who knows?

What I do know is that, throughout time and the history of humans on Earth, somehow and someway we’ve been able to master both the act of procreation (the fun part) and then accept the awesome responsibility of progeny (the work), so we gonna be aiight.

I’m pretty sure I’ll have a whole new list of screw-ups and apologies four years from now with this second one so I’m just gonna say I’m sorry now to a child I haven’t met and hope she can forgive me for all of my imperfections as easily as I can accept her for the perfect creation she’ll be.

Corey Richardson

Corey Richardson is originally from Newport News, Virginia currently living in Chicago, Illinois with his wife and two daughters. Ad guy at work, Dad guy in life, and whiskey enthusiast, Corey spends his time crafting words, telling bedtime stories, and working hard at becoming the legend he is in his own mind. You can read his paternal musings at FatherlyNoir.com where he chronicles his life doing battle with all of the women with his last name.

  • King Beauregard

    EVERY dad is just winging it. As your daughter gets older and you can talk to her person-to-person rather than adult-to-child, I bet you’ll shine.

    As for Jesus and Santa, they were both brown (Palestinian and Anatolian), so you’re not entirely wrong. And as for pretending to be asleep, EVERYONE does that.

    • King Beauregard

      … if I had to explain why most pictures of Santa and Jesus depict a Scandinavian, I’d probably spin some BS that it’s a reminder for white people to be more like them. In reality, Saint Nicholas of Myra looks like friggin’ Worf:

      http://www.catholictradition.org/Children/saint-nicholas1a.jpg

    • Brother Mouzone

      Blackety Blackety Black….no need to compromise.

      • Brother Mouzone

        They can have “santa”

        • King Beauregard

          “Santa” comes from little kids trying to say “Sint-Nicolaas”, Dutch for “Saint Nicholas”. Saint Nicholas of Myra sure didn’t look Dutch.

  • Numbah5

    Just the fact that you realize your fatherly shortcomings and are willing to apologize for most of them, makes you well ahead of the game and shows you care about raising a decent human being.
    Don’t be so hard on ya self!

  • -h.h.h.-

    Most of the time, I’m totally winging this s–t.

    not sure if i’ll ever be a dad, but i feel like that’s everyone in general…i mean you pull from things in your past and people you know and respect, but pretty much it’s winging it lol

    i actually have started buying edited versions of albums (thank you amazon) in the small chance that i do have kids..and they get into my music stash…well, at least it’s a clean version of Lil’ Boaty

    Driving down the street and you see a sign for a fast food place she recognizes? I tell her that the sign says it’s closed and she just can’t read it.

    http://cdn.styleforum.net/f/f4/f4360c66_most-impressive-darth-vader.jpeg

  • Scorpiogoddess??

    Cute entry.

  • TeeChantel

    Man, you are active in your child’s life and for that I don’t think you are a bad dad.
    Just don’t start opening credit in your daughter’s name and we’re good. :-)

  • Cleojonz

    “What does Jesus smell like?” just tickled me so much. Just know you are not alone in this parenthood game. You could do it all the way right but children are illogical irrational little humans and they are sometimes still unhappy despite your best efforts lol.

    Perfect parents = a Joyless childhood IMHO lol.

    **Edited to add: Funny story – we were at a camp event and someone had plugged in their iphone and an unedited version of a song popped up on shuffle. I have never seen my husband move his big body so fast across that courtyard before to change the song. No small children were harmed in this incident.

    • Junegirl627

      I’m childless so i’m always getting caught with the Explicit lyrics on the loud speaker situation.

      • QueenRaven23

        Me too. My family has figured out to not ask me for my spotify.

        • Junegirl627

          I had organized a community xmas party through my old job a few years ago. So I figured I would create a playlist with a mix of party music and xmas music…. I felt like a heathen after realizing that out of all 6000+ songs I have in my phone on 40 were suitable for this event.

      • L8Comer

        When my niece was 2 she loved 50 cent so I made her an album. It may have just been instrumentals but the gun shots weren’t edited out lol. My sis wasn’t amused. It didn’t help that she was a recent veteran from the war either. :/

        • Junegirl627

          I didn’t know “Accidental Savagery” was a thing lol

          • Janelle Doe

            lol, i feel like ‘accidental savagery’ explains much of my work week

  • Most of the time, I’m totally winging this ish… #TrueStory

    My main goal everyday is make sure my daughter doesn’t die. Everything else is icing on the cake.

    • HouseOfBonnets

      Pretty much lol

    • Kas

      This, a thousand times this

    • Gibbous

      I raised my neice since her mohter and my sister died when she was nine. I actually told her that she’d have to suck up my crappy parenting because I was totally making it up as I went along. She seemed cool with that and is now grown with her own family. She seems to be better at parenting than I was though.

      • Kas

        I’m sure you made a great parent.

        • Blueberry01

          They say that our innate parenting abilities come out when required…

          • Gibbous

            15 years as a camp counselor certainly helped. There were lots of “natural consequences,” i.e. punishments that i didn’t have to apply – simply the results of her poor decisions that she had to live with. (Why did you think you should cut your own bangs?)

            • Blueberry01

              Lol…

              I love getting young people that THINK about their own decisions. Not only does it build self-awareness, it makes for great conversation.

              • Gibbous

                And then I’m not the “mean” one, that’s just life, responding to your decisions.

                • Blueberry01

                  Preach that Word, Gib.

                  I used to say, “Right now, you’re making a decision to not focus on your academic success” to my students when they were doing something that they weren’t supposed to be doing in class (e.g. sneak a peak at their cell phones).

                  They hated when I said it, but when we revisited any poor choices in judgment (e.g. parent conference), it was easier for them to digest. I personally try to stay away from using “bad” or “good”.

        • Gibbous

          Thank you. I certainly tried hard enough.

    • Tomesha Rene

      Word! My ex-husband has moved 3 hours away so now I am a single parent of an 8 year old boy. I have NO clue if I am doing this right. He can read and he eats veggies. We good right?

  • Cleojonz

    Also, we used to tell our kids stuff was closed ALL time. We even made up a mythical town elder named Stamford (the name of our town) Jones. Finest parenting moment was telling these small children that Stamford Jones said the park was closed.

    • camille1128

      When my son was 2-3 and trying to get out of going to bed by telling me he had to go downstairs, I’d tell him downstairs was closed. It worked for a while.

      • Cleojonz

        Lol, we do what we gotta do sometimes.

  • Junegirl627

    “I told my daughter that an ex-girlfriend was a witch.”

    I ain’t even read the explanation and i’m dead. just dead….. now go tell my mama what you did to me.

  • Junegirl627

    ” the men’s room looked like what would happen if a Little Caesar’s Pizza and a bottle of E&J had a love child gestated in a vagrant’s innards.”

    Where the f uck you takin dem kids yo!!! lmaoooooooo

    • Diego Duarte

      My guess: a regular men’s room. I’m not going to discuss things I’ve seen here, all I’m gonna say is I’ve seen unspeakable things in my life, the worst of which have been in a bathroom.

      • Junegirl627

        same in some public women’s bathroom except menstrual. (Menstrual always makes it worse)

        • Diego Duarte

          Part of me wants to know the morbid details on how that’s even possible. The other part is full of NOPE.

        • RaeRae

          You.Ain’t.Lying!!!!!!!!!! I work at a high school…I use the faculty bathroom, but just walking past the bathrooms the students use usually cause me to gag.

          • Conrad Bess

            The washrooms back in my high school were so rank, that I just went home to do my business. Home was a 1/2 hour walk.

      • mr. steal your costco samples

        how do it eem happen though?

        • Diego Duarte

          Inconsiderate jerks. Always.

          – Will it kill you to lift the dmn toilet seat before you urinate? Seriously. Your parents can afford to pay the entirety of your tuition and masters in laws degree at a law school, but they couldn’t afford to teach you manners?

          – It’s more like a spray shotgun than a sniper rifle, I get it. But it’s a four feet tall, two feet wide urinal, HOW CAN YOU MISS?!

          – I don’t care how white or porcelainy it is. If it’s above your waist that is the lavatory not the dmn urinal. You shouldn’t be getting the two of them confused!

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