My Mini-Me

It began with a bowl of popcorn.

My wife, 2 year old and I were digging in and sharing a light snack.

I’ve been known to grab fistfuls of popcorn and quickly slam them into my mouth, depending on how hungry I am.

Suddenly, I noticed toddler doing the same.

With each mouthful, he looked to me for approval and guidance.

While Mommy reminded him (and me) to eat one or two pieces at a time, it hit me — I have a mini-me.

Toddler follows me around, repeats what I say and sweetly asks, “Daddy, can you play with me?”

“Of course, buddy,” I reply.

The popcorn moment was a subtle but powerful reminder that I need to watch everything I say and everything I do for fear my shadow will steal my bad habits.

And there are many bad habits for him to take.

I’ve been known to dip a finger in the peanut butter jar and drink juice directly from the carton.

Burping in our house is often a contest.

And don’t even ask about my proclivity for cursing. For days, toddler walked around the house loudly and proudly repeating a blasphemy that he heard me say, oh, about a dozen-teen times.

Contrary to what’s written above, I do not live in a frat house. There are rules.

A recent new rule: Daddy has to be on his best behavior all the time.

I eat all of my vegetables. I can’t use my smartphone if we’ve told toddler he can’t play with the iPad. I can’t sneak a piece of chocolate if he can’t have any.

It’s a funny thing about being a role model. It sneaks up on you.

Just a few months ago I could distract toddler with something shiny or a toy with wheels. Now, he calls out for me the second he wakes up in the morning and dictates my behavior.

And I love it. This is what I signed up for.

Being a father defines everything I do and informs every decision I make.

Before we had kids, my wife and I spoke glowingly about how much we wanted to share with our kids, teaching them about our world and how to succeed in it.

I naively need to be reminded from time to time that our kids will be teaching us plenty as well. In fact, they are my muses for much of what I write and think.

One of the many things they’ve taught me is that they look to me as a guide of how to behave.

The least I can do is eat my popcorn one kernel at a time.


The Beginning
About Happiest Daddy

Two boys, one wife and a ton of material. I live for family and I'm one of the most blessed people you will ever meet.

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  1. Left Coast Dad says:

    Yeah – it gets harder the older they get and the more kids you have. There are certain aspects of yourself you WANT them to pick up, but you can’t actually choose what they decide to pick up on. For me, swearing is a problem.

    • happiestdaddy says:

      Exactly! Unfortunately, it’s not a buffet where all your attributes and flaws are on display for them to choose. But this was an eye-opener for me on how much attention he pays to everything I do. Now, I have to work on the tone of my voice. I can sound like a jerk sometimes.

  2. JB ManvDadhood once said something to the degree that they are like little paparazzi, and that always stuck with me. They are watching when you know they are watching and they are watching when you don’t know they are watching. They never forget and they will always be quick to bring up something you did in the past if it helps their cause in the present. I hear you about the iPhone/iPad thing, something I’m struggling with big time right now and actually made some changes to this end – stay tuned!

    But to your overall point, about how cool it is to have a mini-me, I couldn’t agree more. My oldest stands like me, walks like me, talks like me, thinks like me; everything. When he “teases” his mommy and she mockingly cries, “Aaaahh, you’re just like your father!” the smile on my face couldn’t be bigger.

    Great post, welcome to the show.

    • happiestdaddy says:

      Thanks Brad. Psyched to be part of the team.

      My wife told me that these little people have more synapses firing now than they will for the rest of their lives so everything we do gets filed away in their memory bank. I must admit that I, too, always felt a kinship with my dad when I did something the same way he did it. Now that I’m an adult I still find myself thinking, “That’s exactly what my dad would say.” Since I respect my father so much, I love those moments. The thought that I can share that with my kids — in a positive way — is way cool.

  3. AskAGreatDad says:

    Great post. My daughters two favorite words are Truck & Duck, and daddys sounds very similiar, so its only a matter of time, I take this as a wakeup call to myself, the typical Guy behavior needs to be curved in my household starting with me. My daughter looks and acts exactly like my wife, and my son looks exactly like me. This is what we wanted, we just have to remember that they will mimic are exact behaviors just as well.

    • happiestdaddy says:

      No doubt! I’m gonna wear the Superman cape as long as I can. God knows, they’ll see through it soon enough.

  4. James Hudyma says:

    One kernel at a time. That could be a catch phrase.

    I’m much better at watching what I do because my kids are watching too than I used to be.

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