I should have realized my folly when one day my wife explained that
the chosen name for our son, Ryan, came from the old Irish word
meaning "little king." I suppose that after receiving the title, my
little man figured I owed him nothing less than a life of
servitude. As a stay-at-home dad, I now realize exactly what is
expected of me as his underling.
My lord arises each morning around 7. Befitting his kingly
stature, he sleeps soundly, saving his energy, for he knows it will
be an exhausting day filled with many commands and demands upon his
court of one. After my wife leaves for work, he beckons with
piercing cries and I come running.
First, my sovereign needs his royal outfit changed, as he has
soiled himself during his sleep. The task complete, it does not
take long for the royal tummy to growl and soon the king demands
his chalice of formula. But does his highness take it himself? Oh
no, it must be held for him so his fingers should not be
After this feast, the lord must inspect his holdings. He begins
with his bouncy seat play land, surrounded by an assortment of toys
that gibber and jabber at his command. Next, he demands to see his
ocean world play set, where he attempts to grasp stuffed sea
creatures and watches a bedazzling seascape of lights and images
dance above him. Finally, he settles on scrutinizing the remainder
of the estate by riding in his carriage swing. It is here, rocking
back and forth to soothing lullaby tunes, that he drifts off for a
brief nap. The job of ruling over such a vast domain is tiring for
one so small.
You would think that when the master arises from this short
catnap he would be glad to see his loyal subject there to greet
him, but no. He bellows, pounding his fists and kicking his legs
until a new chalice of brew is brought forth. This satisfies his
lordship only temporarily as he soon becomes bored with his snack.
He now expects his lowly subject to become Merlin the magician and
discover new ways to amaze and astound. Using an array of toys,
tricks and magnificent illusions, I work my magic until his majesty
waves me away.
If it is not a magic show the lord requires then he might call
for his court jester. I then dance and make faces that he finds
pleasing. However, this often fails to entertain the master, for he
has seen these acts before. Next, he summons his minstrel, and I
obey, singing him a song or two. As the minstrel does not have the
strongest of voices or the best collection of material, the song is
often cut short by the king's own vocal chorus of cries.
The afternoon ends with the summonsing of the village scribe who
recites a tale to his lord and master. Depending on the quality of
the performance, the king will determine if I will live to see
another day or instead be tormented with screaming and wailing
worse than any medieval torture device.
Then, as if with the wave of a magic wand, the fair and lovely
Princess Mommy returns from work. With her entrance through the
castle walls, it is as if a magical spell, more powerful than any
that Merlin could conjure, has been cast across the kingdom, and it
is only then that the king is calm and satisfied.
This leaves dear old dad, exhausted and feeling like the village
idiot, to wait until he can pay homage to and entertain his
lordship again tomorrow.
Kris Calhoun is a stay-at-home dad living in
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