The Toddler Jihad

It’s the pacifier. No, no, it’s the Blankie. No, it’s neither, it’s both, it’s the last bit of my reason draining out of my ears.

In the check out line of the Home Improvement store, every grandmother, mother, cashier and manager was crowded around my kids watching them in the mother of all screaming meltdowns. They have launched a joint operation codenamed “Fuck Dad” and have unleashed it like a Blitzkrieg through Poland.

As stated before throughout this blog, I am an idiot. What I should have done the moment I saw that they had both decided to join forces against me was to turn my ass right around and put everyone in their room for some nap time. But for some reason my mind doesn’t work like that. I saw it, as I see most of these, as an attempt to usurp my authority. I saw it as a push to question all that is the greatness of Hossdad. I will not be questioned. I will forge ahead which brings us back to our central theme: I am an idiot.

I had some home repairs to make so I thought that I would take both kids with me to the home improvement store to pick up the required items. No big deal I thought, I take them everywhere with me. Besides, I spend hours doing what they want to do, so they owe me this.

It started bad and I have no one to blame but myself. It was cold out and I bundled up Little Hoss (2 years old) and Bubba Hoss (4 months old) and put them in the car. We hit a snag right off the bat because I currently had washed all of Bubba Hoss’s blankets. So I grabbed the only one that wasn’t in the wash, Little Hoss’s favorite Blankie. I know, this was a mistake. But I honestly didn’t think that she would mind because she wasn’t using it. Not only that but I was very sly about it as I distracted her with a cookie while I wrapped up Bubba Hoss in it.

I get them in the car and everything is going well until we pull into the parking lot. That’s when Little Hoss notices that her brother has her Blankie and that she has now decided that she wants it because the cookie I gave her is gone.

I don’t know why, but every parent tries to reason with a 2 year old. We all do it. It’s stupid, but I was actually explaining that she wasn’t using it, that if she loved her brother she would let him borrow it and fin ally that if she would stop crying I would give her 100 bucks. None of that worked, she just wanted her Blankie. This was the first test of my authority.

In the middle of the parking lot, in the middle of the cold rain was when Little Hoss staged her first “Sit Down” Gandhi style. She knows that a non violent protest is her only hope against my awesome power. So she sat on the wet concrete and started to scream her head off.

My daughter weighs only 30 pounds so I hosted her up by her jacket and told her to again behave. She didn’t listen but I was to cold to argue so I put her on my hip and we went into the store.

Once inside was when she asked for her Pacifier. We have rules on this. She can have a pacifier in the car (for my sanity) and when she goes to bed. No other times. But that rule has now changed. She can have one when I need her to shut up.

The second sit down occurred the moment I put her on the ground after telling her that she could not have her pacifier or her Blankie. She retaliated by taking a squat right next to the person who followed us in. I think she was trying to make me feel awarkward, which she did, good move. I looked at the lady and said “Yup, that one is mine” although in hindsight I should have said something like “have you seen this little girls father?”

She refused to follow me to the aisle I needed to go to so back up on the hip she went, kicking and screaming. I consider myself a pretty big guy but at this point my arms were getting tired as I am pushing Bubba Hoss in the cart and Little Hoss is in my other arm. Try pushing a cart one handed, it ain’t so easy.

Little Hoss continued to stage her protest very loudly as we went up and down the halls. This was the only moment that I actually considered turning around and going home. It’s such a parent cliché but I swear to God that was my thought. Then I realized that is exactly what she wanted and every one knows that America doesn’t negotiate with terrorists so we powered on.

In the light bulb aisle I could take no more. I actually caved, I gave in. I admit it. I couldn’t take the looks from EVERY SINGLE PERSON that we passed as they watched my child screaming her head off. And I even tried the walk away. I put her on the ground, she went down into her usual “fuck you” position and I walked away. I walked all the way to the end of the aisle-like a mile away. You have been to Home Depot, you know how long those aisle are. She didn’t budge, she just continued to scream and even spiked up a notch as people walked by. They would then to look to see where her parents where and since I was down at the other end of the aisle, a couple actually stopped.

So I went back and collected my screaming daughter and that is when I caved into her demands. I took the Blankie off of Bubba Hoss and gave it to her. I actually smacked talked her. I said “Fine, here’s your stupid Blankie, Santa hates you.”

This is when Bubba Hoss decided that he didn’t like this arrangement and his screaming tantrum began. But I am a father that knows how to improvise. I had bought a new welcome mat so I placed that across his lap figuring it would give him something to play with and keep him warm. That didn’t work. At this point, I was done, I was a broken man. I had been broken by two individuals who can’t even spell their name.

We were going, I would get the rest of my crap later. We went to the check out line and that’s when everyone and their dog decided to come see what the fuss was. The comments I got were “Oh, isn’t h e upset!” or “I bet you he’s hungry.” And my personal favorite: “He just wants to be picked up.” Little Hoss had gotten upset again, this time I assume just for fun, and then joined in he wailing. I almost broke down and told them that No, she wanted her blankie and her pacifier and I said no so now she has decided to call the cops on me but then decided public humiliation would be much sweeter.

Seriously, there was a point there where I bet 20 people were gathered around my cart. And they all assumed that I was an idiot. “Boy, you have your hands full.” And “Just Dad today, huh? Aren’t you brave.” There was a part of me that wanted to explain that I was a stay at home Dad and that I had them everyday. But since I am a Dad, people assume I’m an idiot with my own kids and at this point, I can’t really disagree with them.

I kept a smile on my face and joked around, Yup, just good old dad today, to bad mom isn’t here, yuk, yuk, yuk. They continued state of how brave I was and what I good father I must be since I was taking them both out. What was really going through my mind was that as soon as we got to the car I was going to take off my socks and roll them up in a ball. Then I was going to pelt my daughter in the face with them.

Mom’s can throw shoes, Dad’s have to be a little more creative.


  1. As a fellow stay-at-home Dad, all I can say is hang in there buddy. I've been there! I remember one afternoon my 3-year-old son Michael decided to scream "HELP! HELP ME! HELP!!" as I was carrying him out of the grocery store in front of about 20 horrified Grandmas. Still don't know why I wasn't arrested :) Fun times!

    Love the blog!

    - Dave in Idaho

  2. At that point, I think I would have called the cops myself and let them take him out while I spent a few relaxing days in the joint. It's a bad day when y ou actually consider prison as "personal time." Thanks for the encouragement!

  3. At some point in the next year or so, some "helpful" person will recommend that you teach Little Hoss to scream "You're not my Daddy/Mommy" if someone tries to take her. Don't do it, trust me. You know that moment when you thought about picking her up and leaving the store? That's when she'll start screaming it. And then you will get to spend some quality "time out" moments with local law enforcement.