Once upon a time, there was a man. I shall call him Nayfan. Which sounds a lot like Nathan. Which is the name of my cousin. Which my boys cannot pronounce. So they call him Nayfan. Which is entirely a coincidence and has no bearing on this story.
Once upon a time, there was a man named Nayfan. And Nayfan had a son.
And the boy grew. And he grew. And he grew. Until he became a stocky, hilarious, and very stubborn three-year-old boy.
A three-year-old boy who had a favorite word.
And that word was no.
Wait, wait. That’s not exactly right.
His favorite word was NNNNNNOOOOOOOOOO!
Sometimes, NNNNNNOOOOOOOOOO was followed by other words, like I DON’T WANT TO. And STOP IT! And NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!
One night, the boy was offered dinner. It was a delectable dinner with noodles and cream sauce. The boy liked noodles and cream sauce very much. And he wanted to eat his dinner. But he had made a commitment to the NNNNNNOOOOOOOOOO, so by the NNNNNNOOOOOOOOOO he stood.
The boy would not eat his dinner.
Nayfan’s wife (the boy’s mother), whom I shall call Wes-a-wee, which sounds a lot like Leslie (but is definitely not Leslie), cajoled.
She encouraged. She held bites. She may have threatened.
But the boy was steadfast. NNNNNNOOOOOOOOOO. NO NO NO NO NO.
And then Nayfan saw the beautiful, sweet little thang that would change it all. Her name was Cupcake, and she was dressed in ridged paper and swirled with frosting.
Nayfan beckoned Cupcake to their table, and he introduced her to his son.
“Son, this is Cupcake. Cupcake will change your life. But in order to have her, you have to eat your dinner.”
And the three-year-old, that stubborn little boy, thought long and hard. He thought about his relationship with NNNNNNOOOOOOOOOO. He thought about all they’d been through together. They way they’d clung to Wes-a-wee’s pants when they had to leave his cousins’ house. They way they’d held protest signs and rallied for the right to more juice. That one time in Toronto they got arrested for chaining themselves to a tree to avoid naptime.
The boy wooked at his dad. And he wooked at Cupcake. And he wooked at his dad. And he wooked at Cupcake. And indecision wrestled with his soul.
So Nayfan did it. He peeled off a teeny, tiny piece of Cupcake’s paper. And he said, “Son. If you want Cupcake to lose more paper, you have got to eat a noodle.”
The boy’s eyes glazed over, and indecision lost. The noodle was a thing of the past; it went up, into his mouth, was chewed and swallowed. And the boy wooked at his dad. And he wooked at Cupcake.
And Nayfan peeled off a teeny, tiny piece of Cupcake’s paper again.
A bite. A strip. A bite. A little more.
Until dinner was consumed and Cupcake lay bare to the oogling eyes of the three-year-old boy.
And that, my friends, is the Striptease Model of Parenting.
Boom chick-a wow wow.
Poor kid. He never stood a chance.