So there’s this iPhone game in which you defend a daffodil patch from hordes of rampaging Vikings by flinging a traditional bladed woodcutting implement. It’s called Axe In Face. When you lose, your guy cries a river of woeful, manly tears (see above).
My daughter, who is two and a half, loves this game. She’s even kind of good at it. It’s a little violent, but it’s only cartoon violence, so no big. But I didn’t want to tell her it was called Axe In Face, because what kind of monster do you think I am. My mistake was that I neglected to come up with a substitute name.
Nothing about being a two-year-old’s parent is easy. The messes, the tantrums, the impossible questions. You get used to meeting the confused stares of strangers; you develop this sort of whaddyagonnado shrug that smoothes everything over. You shrug; you smile; you move on. But the judgment, the recrimination. That hurts.
So I’m begging you, dear friends. Say you’re at a diner, or the doctor’s office, or in line at the bank. You’re munching a french fry, you’re filling out a deposit slip. Then a tiny voice floats up from somewhere: “Daddy, can we play the crying game?” Look away.