Being Evil

Tonight, I was playing in the living room with my girlfriend (Sarah) my oldest son (codename Oot: age 5.5) and my youngest son (codename Cutie Snoo, age 1.5)

It wasn’t anything fancy. Nothing organized. I’d just come back from recording this week’s podcast with Max Temkin, and rather than head upstairs to do more e-mail, as I am wont to do, I decided to stay downstairs and play with the kids.

A large part of this is because my Cutie is at a magical age. 18 months is pretty awesome. After a bit of a hiatus, he’s saying da-da again, and it pulls at my heart.

Those of you without kids might have trouble understanding how enthusiastic an 18 month-old can be. Let me explain.

You know how excited a dog can get when you’ve been away for a couple hours? (Or let’s be honest, when you’ve just left the room for a couple minutes). At 18 months, my little boy has that level of enthusiasm. He runs up to me, his face all lit up, grinning, his legs doing that straight up-and-down stomping walk that’s the closest he can get to a run.

And all the time he’s saying “da-da-da-da-da-da!”

So yeah. It’s pretty fucking amazing. I’m not going to lie.

Anyway, I’m hanging out with my family, and Oot walks up to Sarah and says, “I’m so… thirsty! Can you please… get me… a drink of water?”

His performance makes it clear that he is about to die from thirst. People in the desert don’t have it this bad. He’s really going full Shatner in his performance.

Sarah starts to get up to get him a drink of water. She does this because she loves him.

Sarah and Oot

(Exhibit A)

“You know where the water is,” I say to Oot. “You can get yourself a drink. You’re a very grown-up child.”

I say this because I love him too. Sarah and exhibit our love in different ways. She wants him to be happy now. I want him to be happy in the future, and part of that is making sure he’s self-reliant.

Plus he’s five. If we were living in the wild, he’d be hunting and cooking birds on his own. So yeah. He can get his own drink of water.

But here’s the thing, it’s a little late at night. The kitchen is on the other side of the house. It’s a whole, like, 50 feet away. And it’s late in the evening, so that part of the house is kinda dim.

And he’s five, so he’s a little scared of being alone, and of the dark.

“Will you come with me?” he asks.

This is a familiar dance. We want him to do things for himself. He wants company. We want him to be brave. He wants to feel safe.

Nobody’s wrong here. We all want good things. But they’re in conflict.

“You can do it,” I say. “I know you can.” (Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not some muy mas macho monster. If it was fully dark in there, I’d work with him. But it’s not. He can handle it. He has before. It’s good practice for him.

I’ll tell you a story,” Sarah says.

This is a compromise we use sometimes. If he hears our voices, he knows he’s not alone. So one of us will tell him a story, and it will help him go somewhere in the house when he’s a little spooked.

“I’ll tell you a story,” I say.

“I want mom to do it,” he says, moving toward the baby gate that leads into the dining room.

He’s on to me.

Once there was a little boy who really liked candy,” Sarah says. “So he decided to go exploring.

I’m going to be honest here, Sarah’s narrative structure isn’t the best. Her themes can be kinda muddy sometimes, and, truthfully, her stories are often really lacking in terms of the Aristotelian unities. But even so, I know she’s up for this. Two minutes of story will get Oot into the kitchen and back. I watch as he opens the gate then turns on the light to the dining room. Out of our line of sight. Out of his line of sight. He’s gone.

So one day he walked out into the the backyard and he found–

A Thousand Angry Ghosts!” I say. I don’t yell it. But I say it in a really loud voice. My phantom of the opera voice. I project from my diaphragm.

And from the other room, comes a high, piercing scream. It lasts for a full two seconds.

Then Oot comes running back into the living room.

You’re going to have to trust me on this, it was *super* funny. Sarah will back me up on this.

You see, most days, I’m a good dad.

Other days, I’m an AWESOME dad.

Stay tuned, everyone. Soon we’ll have bedtime stories.



This entry was posted in babies, Beautiful Games, Because I Love, Cutie Snoo, Oot, podcasts, Sarah. By Pat26 Responses


  1. Posted August 18, 2015 at 3:51 AM | Permalink

    Heh, I thought the punchline was going to be that something oot did would be naughty, but then I see you got to entertain your chaotic evil side. Well, done!

    As for the podcast: I tried to listen to it today, but unfortunately Max’s audio is too low (I’m playing this in a noisy car on my phone). Having one part missing from the conversation took away some of the enjoyment.

  2. justajenjen
    Posted August 18, 2015 at 6:16 AM | Permalink

    That is awesome. Half the fun of having kids is torturing them, right? My kid, WOULD. NOT. STAY. IN. BED. Like, he was up 15 times in an hour. I told him that if he didn’t stay in his bed, the monster that lived under it would grab him and tickle his toes.

  3. Khyshael
    Posted August 18, 2015 at 6:32 AM | Permalink

    Hahahaha! Love it! Sounds like something my boyfriend would do to our daughter when she reaches that age. I definitely feel you on the energy level of an 18 month old. Our little Hatchling runs circles around us most of the time when she gets going. Lol

  4. firebird
    Posted August 18, 2015 at 7:04 AM | Permalink

    I’m hoping those bedtime stories are of The Seven.

    • khil1
      Posted August 18, 2015 at 8:03 AM | Permalink

      Now who’s evil, I thought we wanted his kids to be able to sleep?!

  5. Sahz
    Posted August 18, 2015 at 8:01 AM | Permalink

    Mwahahaha! This reminds me of one time:
    I was looking after my little cousin. He was playing with something he shouldn’t have. I asked him “Do you know what happened to the last little boy who played with that?” He’s asked what.
    I told him “He dissappeared and we never saw him again!”
    The way he paused to comprehend that sentence was hillarious! :)
    No harm done. He’s a happy kid :)

  6. Della
    Posted August 18, 2015 at 8:09 AM | Permalink


    • cynrtst
      Posted August 18, 2015 at 10:01 AM | Permalink

      Naw, it’s character building. Grows hair on their chest, so to speak.

  7. jonzes
    Posted August 18, 2015 at 11:22 AM | Permalink

    I had a dream last night that I had won some sort of contest and as a result I was having dinner with Pat. Apparently he was moving to the Madison area so we discussed housing prices in various neighborhoods. Thrilling stuff!

  8. lovelylass987
    Posted August 18, 2015 at 11:23 AM | Permalink

    So, I have this hiccuping laugh when I laugh. I try to keep it to a polite haha most of the time.

    That story made me bellow out a freaking huge laugh that would probably scare birds away.

    Thank you for this story.

  9. BayouBecky
    Posted August 18, 2015 at 11:49 AM | Permalink

    When my youngest brother was about Snoo’s age, he started wanting to go up our staircase, which is obviously not safe. As my two brothers, two sisters and myself were teenagers, we thought it hilarious to put this terribly ugly latex mask on the third step and wait for him to discover it.

    Mom was not amused.

  10. MJSmart
    Posted August 18, 2015 at 12:48 PM | Permalink

    Of course you realize (“…this means WAR!”), that he’ll probably get you back, in spades, many times over….and you deserve it you…. Chandrian! JK. They’re all accounted for.

  11. Posted August 18, 2015 at 1:20 PM | Permalink

    This reminds me of how terrible of an uncle I was anytime my nieces stayed the night. I’d make sure to give them something good and scary to think about right before turning off the lights and wishing them a good night sleep. To this day they still keep a TV on through the night as a sort of night light. I should have told them that lost dead children come out of the TVs at night and pull unsuspecting good children into the TV. The only way to prevent this is to turn the TV off before going to bed.

  12. ali rahemtulla
    Posted August 18, 2015 at 3:03 PM | Permalink

    Oot looks like he has stubby legs in that photograph. And its adorable.

  13. Marcus Cox
    Posted August 18, 2015 at 6:27 PM | Permalink

    Hey! When did Sarah’s speech turn green?!

  14. MrMoto57
    Posted August 18, 2015 at 11:11 PM | Permalink

    Yay! Bedtime stories!!

  15. Jzone
    Posted August 19, 2015 at 12:39 AM | Permalink

    You’re gonna turn the poor lad into a bedwetter with pranks like that and just guess who’ll be payin’ the counselling bills. But still… lol.

  16. Tzadik
    Posted August 20, 2015 at 1:43 PM | Permalink

    I know what Prairie Home Companion is, and have listened to it on multiple occasions.
    That Venn diagram overlaps at at least one point!

  17. Laura777
    Posted August 20, 2015 at 2:29 PM | Permalink

    I’m still laughing at your “Phantom of the Opera” voice. Thanks for sharing such a great story!

  18. Sedorner
    Posted August 21, 2015 at 11:20 AM | Permalink

    It’s good to be a dad.

  19. ofMindandHeart
    Posted August 22, 2015 at 8:45 AM | Permalink

    I feel like what Oot needs is his own little flashlight. I bet Auri would even come up with a name for it.

    • Karissima
      Posted August 27, 2015 at 2:01 PM | Permalink

      Or he might benefit from learning that if it’s dark enough, he can’t be seen by the monsters. Blindness works both ways, yanno.

  20. graff_fuller
    Posted August 22, 2015 at 1:29 PM | Permalink

    Thank you for willingness to see your interactions with your kids and Sarah. Thank you. I just get a real kick out of how you do it. BTW, I love your books. Again, thank you.

  21. Jack.
    Posted August 25, 2015 at 8:01 AM | Permalink

    Hahaha You made me laugh so much with that one! Thank you for being so close to your readers and sharing all those stories. It’s always a pleasure to read your writting whether it is from your books or your blog.

  22. mauricio gomez
    Posted August 26, 2015 at 5:57 PM | Permalink

    hi pat
    I found your message in Chapter 43 of The Wise Man’s Fear, in the letter sent to kvothe denna
    Horse Rumble
    I send this message to know to know more about your work
    I hope to receive a letter from you
    Mauricio iam from mexico

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