I said, “Yes” and like a bell that cannot be unrung, I immediately felt a sense of regret. It was my knee jerk reply to a question Ella asked me as I was putting her to bed. I wasn’t prepared for such an inquisition. There was no time to calculate the ramifications. She had asked me if I was a robot.
What’s so bad about that, you may ask? Well…only that kids seem to take things to the extreme
Let me give you an example:
One night, Ella asked me to give her four kisses because that’s how old she is. I replied, “Four? Or fourteen?” From then on it has only grown. The current combination of nighttime kisses is 14L 4R 5L 6R 3L 2R 1L and a greeeeaaaaat BIG huuuuugggg. This sequence must be completed correctly in order to get her to sleep.
She had asked me if I was a robot
There’s also the secret password to get into her room. She’ll run in before you, and unless you are quick on her heels she’ll slam the door and lock it fast. Then I hear from the crack under the door, “Say happy holidays, merry Christmas, happy valentines day!” And that’s only because this started around December. In a year I will need to recite by memory every federal holiday just to get her to open her door!
So now I read her a book in robot dad voice. A monotone steady voice with weird infrequent pitch changes and accents on all the wrong syllables, followed by beeps and bops. Then I pretended to run out of power, so of course my nose is naturally the on button…
…As I was leaving to say goodnight, she called me over three times to push my nose. What have I created?
Since that first night of being robot dad though it hasn’t been so bad. Yes, I’ve read her the same book four nights in a row in the same robotic voice. Yes, I’ve also had to add to my repertoire a robotic walk, with stiff hands and jerky motions. But I’ve also loved watching her face light up when she presses my nose and I pop open my eyes and we begin having a conversation between robot dad and robot daughter!
As I’m turning off the light and walking out the door I see her watching me. Then she presses her own nose and immediately falls asleep.