10 Ways to Get the Kids to Love You: What it’s like to be a stay-at-home dad, Answer 7.

I complain about being too noticed, not noticed enough, and noticed in the wrong way. None of that matters even a little bit, though, because kids — not all kids, but enough — love me.

I’m mature enough to acknowledge that this popularity has absolutely nothing to do with me. I brainwash the kids into thinking I’m cool, and here’s how. I frequently:

  1. Dangle children upside down.
  2. Provide salty snacks. Ruin lunches.
  3. Replace words in “Itsy Bitsy Spider” with vaguely naughty but meaningless expressions.
  4. Tell freakishly random, caffeine-induced stories with strong morals.
  5. Hang upside down and lose loose change.
  6. Smuggle in playground contraband (for example, sidewalk chalk).
  7. Find millipedes and worms, share them with children, then let them pretend that they found the critters by themselves.
  8. Extend the 5-second rule to ten or twenty seconds. Or minutes.
  9. Perform dangerous acrobatics with no concern for spine.
  10. Paint my toenails, then wear sandals.

Sure, I’m cheap. I pander to four-year olds’ tastes with my goofball gimmicks. But I don’t care: one nice thing about being the dad on the playground is that some kids really like dads for that sort of thing.

(Don’t worry, moms — I know they love you for everything else, and probably most everything important, too.)