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If you asked Grace (2 1/2) right now "What can't daddy do?" she would probably not understand the question. Daddy can move anything, fix anything, run as fast as lightning, simply put, there's nothing Daddy can't do.

Except honestly, I'm a programmer for a living, and I don't work out. Like most (not all!) of my fellow IT guys, I'm not all that strong. And when it comes to fixing stuff, I'm really not all that great at that. C'mon, I had to go to diy stackexchange just to fix a dryer duct! And sure I used to be fast in high school, but I have a hip injury now that prevents me from running much at all.

But she doesn't know these things. To her, I'm freaking superman.

So the other day, we were driving along when she said she wanted to go to the toy store. (It's actually a salvage center at a local landfill. Protip: they love $5 toys just as much or more as they love $100 toys!!) Except that it was the Sunday before a national holiday. In Canada (the only country in the world that values time off more than additional pay). So as you can imagine, it wasn't open. And that's when she had the perfect solution.

"Maybe Daddy open it!"

- Gracie

And try as we might, my wife nor I could get it through her head that no, Daddy can't open the toy store. (Daddy is a very big fan of not going to jail.) And I know it's very common, and of course it feels kind of cool to be thought highly of, especially in areas I'm historically horrible in. And I don't want to just crush her spirit, or make her think I'm bad at everything.

But I want her to know who I really am, to know the things I'm good at and not good at. I want her to know that it's okay to be not good at some things and that no one expects perfection. I want her to have a realistic sense of who I am. How can I do this in a way that isn't damaging to her?

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4 Answers

It's fine that she sees you as a hero. Be her hero and teach her well. Convince her that you are not superman by showing how poorly your flying abilities are. That is, let her see that you are merely human. Talk to her about what you can and cannot do. This way you won't suddenly disappoint her when she realises at the wrong time that you aren't superman.

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If you decide to show her your (lack of) flying abilities, lift off from the ground! –  SQB Feb 26 at 14:34
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Kids have to learn that there are limits and there's no way to avoid it, you just have to explain why things can't happen (often over and over).

You don't have to be good at doing everything, you just have to be good at being a dad. If you do one thing well in your life make it that and she won't give a hoot if you don't even know how to fill up your car.

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That's so cute that child thinks you are a superman. Tell her you are a Fatherman, and your superpower works only at home.

P.S Now i sing the song I'm no Superman (Lazlo Bane)

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Don't worry. In fact, just enjoy it. She'll slowly learn how the World works and some time, probably in her teens, she'll make a break with the idea that you're superman and probably swing the other way for a bit. Be patient and loving. Let her work though it. And, deep down, even after she's grown up, the little girl in her will still believe you're special... but in a way that she'll be able to reconcile with the reality of the World.

Also, totally tell her you can fly. But only at night when she's asleep.

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Love this! Encourage a bit of magical thinking! –  Mary Jo Finch Jul 6 '13 at 20:47
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