I always considered us to have a good relationship. We made a pretty good team, but we also remained individuals. She had her likes and dislikes and I had mine, but we respected them. She’d let me listen to the music I wanted to, and in return we’d watch the show she liked. We could spend time together or spend time apart and be content. Even if we were doing separate things in the same room, she’d go about her business and I’d go about mine. But we’d look up once in awhile and smile at each other, and maybe even blow a kiss. I was content and happy. Things were great. Were.
Over the past few months, things have become strained a bit. Our simple carefree relationship was being tested. Maybe it’s the stress of all the changes over the past few months, but someone has become an outright over-opinionated nag.
Yes, I said it, a nag. I can’t do anything anymore without her aggressively chiming in giving me her unsolicited opinion. From what I wear, to what I listen to, to what I cook. Someone always has something to say about it. Yes Ellie, my sweet little girl, has turned into a part-time high maintenance bossy nag.
When we get into the car and before I can even get it started, Ellie starts demanding me to turn the music on. “Ah! Dance!” she’ll squawk from the backseat while pointing at the radio. And when I do turn the music on (which has been the Yo Gabba Gabba soundtrack lately), we can’t agree on which songs to listen to. I have my favorites and she has her’s, they just aren’tthe same. So I’ll skip through the songs until there is one she doesn’t bark at. “Ah!”
Playing music at home has changed lately too. I used to be able to put on anything. I’d always try for a variety, classical, jazz, rock, pop, oldies, and of course the Beatles. But now? If she is in the room when I turn music on, I need to ask her permission first. If I don’t, she’ll point and say “No, no noooo! You did not ask my permission!” And if she says yes, I need approval on which song to start with. She either likes the Glee mash-up of Thriller and Heads Will Roll, Adele’s Someone Like You, Stereo Hearts by Gym Class Heroes, or a Japanese song called Gyu Gyu Good Day. Once her song has played, I can usually switch to something else without protest. I thought Yo Gabba Gabba songs would be a viable option, but when the video doesn’t accompany the music, forget about it.
She’s also become very opinionated on not only her own wardrobe, but also mine too. For one, if I’m wearing long sleeves, they must be down at all times. Rolling my sleeves up for any reason is forbidden. Not complying with these rules will involve her coming over to me with a stern look on her face to right my wrong.
It doesn’t stop there either. The other day when I went to put my shoes on, she whined, begged, and pleaded until I changed and put my boots on. She started nice with a slight suggestion at first, but then got more demanding.
“Dada, boots?” she asked all cute.
“No Ellie, I already have my shoes on.” I replied.
“NO! DADA BOOTS!” she scowled.
Do I look like an idiot with these shoes? I thought I had at least a few more years until she was embarrassed of how I look.
In addition to my sleeve length and my shoe type, sometimes I’m not allowed to wear my glasses. She calls glasses “eyes.” Occasionally when I get her after her nap, the first thing she does is point at my face and say, “EYES! NO!” I thought that maybe it was because she thought my thick framed glasses were hiding my dreamy brown eyes. “You’re a four-eyed nerd dad, take those off!” What was I thinking? Just as much as she requests them off, she makes me put them on too. “eyes… eyes… EYES… EYES!”
I’m also not allowed to sing along to any song. I can sing Old MacDonald or the Wheels on the Bus acapella, but singing along with anything on the radio, TV, regular music, or children’s music is strictly prohibited. I understand my voice isn’t exactly star material, but neither is Elmo’s. Just sayin’.
I’m not allowed to dance, wear hats (unless they are picked out by her), and I get kicked out of her kitchen when my mom comes over. She also sometimes prefers to watch her show in private and I get asked to leave. “Dada go… Gooo!” Sheesh :-/
Don’t let those cute little pictures of her fool you. It’s part of her shtick. She doesn’t want you to believe me. “Me, demanding!? How could you think such a thing?” she’d say.
Am I being emotionally abused by my two year old daughter? It all happened so gradually. She’s chipping away at me little by little. But isn’t this how all relationship problems always happen? Everything starts out great, but you become blinded by what’s happened. The next thing you know you’re watching Lifetime movies everyday and her favorite food is now your favorite food. But in this case, I’ll find that all my “favorite” movies will have Elmo in them and my favorite food will be grilled cheese sandwiches. And to feel alive I’ll probably be sneaking out of the house at night wearing shoes just to feel free.
No matter what type, many relationships come and go, but I’m in this one for the long haul. And whether she realizes it yet or not, she is too. I’m just wondering if it’s too early for couples counseling?