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The stay-at-home dad: One day of 5-year-old FOMO requests

by TYLER WILSON/Coeur Voice contributor
| November 21, 2020 1:00 AM

Middle children often struggle to define their role in a family. The oldest kid tends to get more responsibility, and the youngest gets the attention (and perks) of being the “baby” of the house.

With four kids, my wife and I struggle with two different types of middle children. Our 7-year-old son just wants to be the oldest… he asks for all the same decision-making opportunities as our 9-year-old daughter, except his particular skill sets let him down. For example, the kid just wants to be able to make pancakes like his older sister, but he can’t really follow simple cooking instructions, much less remember those steps to do it on his own the next time.

Our 5-year-old daughter was obviously meant to be the baby of the family. She LOVES being the center of attention, and she relishes being the cutest kid in the room. Then her parents had to ruin her life by bringing her baby brother into the world.

I’ve written about it before: My 5-year-old has the most severe case of FOMO ever recorded. FOMO stands for Fear of Missing Out, a common ailment for adults on social media but a much more serious condition for a child battling for attention against her three strong-willed siblings.

She has her own interests and hobbies. She’s whip-smart and an excellent student, and she loves following rules (and making sure all other humans follow those same rules). But if anyone in the house wants something she doesn’t currently have, she wants it RIGHT NOW.

To understand her extreme condition, I decided to record a single day’s worth of FOMO-related requests. These are all things my 5-year-old daughter requested because someone else in the house wanted/did them:

  1. Another kid: “I’m going to make a birthday card for Mommy.”

Her: “I want to make a birthday card!”

  1. Another kid: “Look at this picture of The Mandalorian I just made.”

Her: “I want to do that! What’s a Manda-dor-an?”

  1. Another kid: “Let’s watch ‘Shark Tank.’”

Her: “But I don’t like Shark Tank.’”

Me: “You don’t have to watch it.”

Her: “No, I’ll watch it.”

  1. Two kids want ketchup to go with their chicken nuggets. My 5-year-old doesn’t like ketchup with chicken nuggets.

Her: “I want ketchup with my nuggets!”

Me: “You don’t like ketchup.”

Her: “But I still want it on my plate!”

  1. Another kid: “Hey dad, I just read this whole book.”

Her: “I can read that book!”

She takes the book, opens up the first page and asks me, “What’s this word?” for EVERY WORD.

  1. Me to another kid: “Your hair smells. You need to go take a bath.”

Her: “I want to take a bath!”

Me: “You just took a bath this afternoon.”

Her: “I want to take another bath.”

  1. Younger brother “I need to go poop.”

Her: “But I need to go poop first!”

Me: “Then use another bathroom.”

Her: “I want whatever bathroom he’s using!”

  1. Younger brother: “I stand up and pee.”

Her: “I want to stand up and pee!”

There are more bathroom related things than you’d expect.

  1. Her: “It’s too cold to play outside.”

Another kid: “Let’s go play outside.”

Her: “It was MY IDEA to play outside!”

  1. Her: “I don’t want to play the ‘Curious George’ card game.”

Another kid: “I’m going to play the ‘Curious George’ card game.”

Her: “Hey! It was MY IDEA to play the ‘Curious George’ card game!”

  1. Me: “Do you want to come sit on my lap?”

Her: “NO!”

Another kid: “I’ll sit on your lap!”

The FOMO girl pushes the other kid over to come sit on my lap.

I know I said I was going to record all the FOMO-related requests in a day, but honestly, this was all just within a single hour, and I can’t anymore. Column over.

Her: “I want to write a column!”

• • • 

Tyler Wilson is a freelance writer and stay-at-home dad to four children, ages 3-9. He is tired. He can be reached at twilson@cdapress.com