I had to tell Dylan off the other day. It felt weird. Until recently, I’ve only ever had to tell him not to do something pretty minor like hitting the television – although if Waybuloo is on at the time, I can’t really blame him – or to warn him against dropping things down the back of the sofa. This was completely different and disconcerting. We’d been playing on the floor and I was lying down when he walked up to me, raised both hands above his head and slammed them down onto my stomach. It wouldn’t have looked out of place in a WWE match – or whatever it is the pumped-up actors in spandex call their show these days. I was surprised at the force of the blow, but more taken aback that it entered his mind to do it in the first place.
I knew I had to make him aware of the fact that he had been naughty, but was caught off guard and probably took the wrong course of action; I put him in his cot for all of two minutes and stood quietly in the corridor outside in case he got too upset. I’m sure he knew I was there as well. Rubbish! Even though my efforts at teaching him some discipline were fundamentally pathetic, I still felt awful about it. When I went to get him afterwards, he was all sad and clingy. Talk about guilt tripping!
Until now, he’s never done anything that can be properly classified as naughty and is generally a very good little boy, so this threw me. We’ve always rewarded good behaviour with hugs and applause, so he must have a notion of what’s right and wrong. And while it was always inevitable that he was eventually going to test his and our boundaries, the concept of bad cop in our house is an alien one. Both Kate and I are going to struggle with that role. When I took him to his room, I had a horrible feeling inside that I was being too severe, though I’m sure I wasn’t. It looks like we’re going to have to introduce a naughty corner for such occasions soon – not a naughty step mind, I wouldn’t leave him alone on the stairs anyway and he’d only climb them and empty all the drawers.
So it looks like I’m going to have to man up a bit and find an authoritative side. Looking to some famous fellas you wouldn’t mess with for inspiration, I don’t think channelling my inner Hulk would work – of the Incredible variety, you understand, not Hogan; Dylan would definitely think it was all an act if it that were the case. Nope, Bruce Banner’s alter-ego is too angry.
Instead, what about everybody’s favourite retired Italian referee Pierluigi Collina? Every player respected him and games were rarely punctuated by his whistle, but everyone knew who was boss. A good choice – especially as I’m actually a qualified referee myself – but not quite right. I would be terrifying with a bald head. Combining a vague recollection of something I saw years ago with the power of the internet, however, I have come up with a potential role model. Check this video out!
Job done. My inner Mr T it will be. Dylan would respect my authoritah – sorry, South Park has permanently altered the way I say that phrase – and still think I’m awesome. Unless, of course, he misbehaves on an aeroplane; then I’d be in trouble…