They kick your butt! said my neighbour shaking his head and I smiled inside broadly.

If you see my neighbour you would understand. He is a huge guy, a (US) football coach and Dean of his school. He probably played Offensive Tackle in his younger age as he has got that build – 250 lbs or more. Now, his kids – they are growing but still small. And he was talking about them. They are the “they” in They kick your butt. He wasn’t talking about a pickup game of basketball or flag football where he lost to them. No, he was talking about how kids get their way when they want to, and in process kick his butt regularly. It was funny watching him say it as I sort of pictured a man of his size getting his butt kicked by a couple of small kids. But it was funnier because I could relate to it too. I am not big, in fact I am typical South Indian – wiry thin. I have one small kid and I also get my butt kicked all the time.

Now, if you are an unmarried man but for whom marriage is even remotely on the horizon, I am sure your married friends would have filled you in that after marriage your wife kicks you butt. All your fantasies of freedom like you know “Man of the house”, “King of the castle”, “Independent man” etc. etc. are just that – fantasies, as you will soon find that they evaporate quickly into thin air. They evaporate because they are your creations to begin with. So if you still hold on to them – then you find that she kicks your butt everytime and usually with your consent.

However, that butt-kicking is nothing compared to the butt-kicking you will get from your child – pretty much right after he/she enters the world, crying heartily. Now you probably would never have seen something so tiny, but with all human emotions already shown in that tiny face (e.g. Watch the face of a even a few days old baby when you put a few drops of bitter medicine into its mouth. The face contorts showing the bitterness exactly like you do!). You think – how cute, how angelic! And there … It is over for you! You may not know but you have already signed up for lifelong butt-kicking. The only consolation in this case is that your wife will get her butt kicked too.

It seems that there is no defense against a kid wanting to get something (which you don’t want to give) that will work consistently. They are like an extremely adaptable, adept super-organism mutating to changing environment and coming up with new effective tricks: Dad doesn’t want to give this. Let’s ask Mom. What’s her mood? Ah! nice! Let us complain about Dad! Oh no! Both are upset! Let us turn it up a notch and cry – Waaah! You guys don’t love me! Hmm… they seem sorry now. Let us put up a sad puppy face! Hey, they have calmed down! We should ask if we can have icecream/candy again!.

At times, you think you have won. You feel somewhat satisfied to have successfuly bent their will to your way that left them crying or scared or angry, yet compliant. But an hour later it is you who feels lousy. Next day morning, it is you who looks at them and says How could I have gotten upset with this angelic face?. They see it too, and think Now is a good time to ask for something. This time you of course give in. Show butt. Get Kicked.

Some men have the dumb notion that they simply can delegate these parenting nuisances to the mother, and relax with the guys. Confucious probably would have said – That only means you end up getting kicked on both sides of your butt by two people.