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News & Features » August 2019 » “The Capitulation Method” by Tyrel Kessinger

“The Capitulation Method” by Tyrel Kessinger

Are you a parent going through the Terrible Twos? Did you live through them and survive? Terrible Twosdays is a place to commiserate over the unending shenanigans of your Darling Children (as the online parenting communities say). Nonfiction stories will be considered, so long as names have been changed to protect the guilty. Inspired by our best-selling gift book for parents, Go the Fuck to Sleep, Terrible Twosdays joins the roster of our other online short fiction series. Unlike Mondays Are Murder and Thursdaze, we’re looking for stories with a light and mischievous feel, all about the day-to-day challenges of parenting. As with our other flash fiction series, stories must not exceed 750 words.

This week, we are introduced to a new method to parenting . . .

The Capitulation Method
by Tyrel Kessinger

As one of the more common breeds of spineless parents, I am a huge fan of giving into the demands of my two-year-old. She’s an F5 cyclone of a girl full of wildly fluctuating emotions and I’m the house made out of straw. I do this despite the likely fact that not giving into your raging toddler is the most all-time cited pearl of wisdom from advice giving parents, which is to say, every parent that has and will ever exist. Then again, what do they know? How accurate is “common” knowledge like that anyway? I mean, these are probably the same people who said naming your kid Horatio smacked of pretentiousness. On a personal level, I’ve seen nothing but great results from this parenting tactic that I like to call the “Capitulation Method,” which, is exactly what is says: don’t ask questions and give the kid whatever the hell they want. Conversely, I can also see where this claim might furrow a dubious brow or two. To that end, I’ve cobbled together a brief, anecdotal list of recent two-year-old meltdowns that successfully demonstrate the efficacy of the Capitulation Method.

CASE STUDY 1: The time when my daughter went Apeshit City over not being able to watch one more YouTube episode of a certifiably insane forty-year-old woman narrate the “story” of seventeen different “LOL Surprise Dolls” in an unreasonably high-pitched voice. (Parents, you know what I’m talking about.) Mind you, I’d already spent the last forty-five minutes warning her that she only had five more minutes to watch so it’s not like I hadn’t warned her. But it’s hard to compete with the relative silence that follows as I tightly hug myself to sleep while she stares at the harsh glow of the screen like a quiet, sated zombie baby after another thirty episodes or whatever. 

CASE STUDY 2: We parents know, of course, how important a healthy diet is for our children, sure. But really, isn’t it much nicer to enjoy a two-year-old’s sloppy leftovers of manhandled eggs and avocado toast you made for her for breakfast in an atmosphere that’s almost calm enough to hear the crunch of eggshell between your teeth as she quietly feasts on an entire sleeve of crusty, weeks old marshmallow Peeps instead?

CASE STUDY 3: Picture yourself at the grocery store, making the bonehead rookie mistake of going within smelling distance of the meager toy aisle before getting any of the other items you came there for (including the eggs and avocados that she will later refuse to eat). I can testify that you’re going to appreciate the freedom to continue shopping at your (sort of) leisure after you let her have one of the overpriced plastic toys (one that will eventually end up the in the stomach of a hapless sperm whale in a couple years) that you swore she wasn’t going to get. An added bonus: the looks the grandmas in public places give dads with smiling, happy kids in tow are much more pleasant than the ones they give the ones whose kids are squalling like dying banshee demons from the black bowels of a dark hellscape.

Admittedly, I do worry the long-term effect my Capitulation Method is having on my daughter and wonder what awaits us on our journey into older ages. I wonder if she’s going to be a needy type? Ungrateful? Am I raising one of those assholes that parents are always saying they aren’t going to raise? Like the stereotypically perturbed soccer mom who angrily pisses rage on the poor high school student working the Dairy Queen drive-thru because she didn’t get her large Reese’s Cup blizzard handed to her upside down? Will she end up in prison after stabbing a Fazoli’s employee in the eye with a plastic fork after being refused another free yet insanely delectable breadstick? I also wonder what’s worse: my dubious parenting skills, or that I am actually now imagining my child in any of these scenarios. The good news is that she’s two. Theoretically, there’s more time to iron out these “quirks.” My wife and I keep telling ourselves that we’re going to harden up one day, introduce her to the School Of Hard Knocks, crack down on the nonsense and prepare her for a world that absolutely will not tolerate an iota of her shit. But, to be honest, we’ll probably end up letting her decide how things are going to go.


TYREL KESSINGER lives in Louisville, KY. He is a stay-at-home father of two wild animals and occasionally finds time to write things. 


Do you have a story you’d like us to consider for online publication in the Terrible Twosdays flash fiction series? Here are the submission terms and guidelines:

—We are not offering payment, and are asking for first digital rights. The rights to the story revert to the author immediately upon publication.
—Your story should focus on the challenges of parenting. Ideally, stories should be about children aged 0 to 5, but any age (up to early teens) is acceptable. Stories may be fiction or nonfiction.
—Include the child’s age at the time of the story next to your byline.
—Your story should not exceed 750 words.
—E-mail your submission to info@akashicbooks.com. Please paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.

Posted: Aug 13, 2019

Category: Original Fiction, Terrible Twosdays | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,