Having a daughter, Namjoon reflects, is all about new experiences. There's nothing particularly different about Daehwan that Namjoon hasn't gotten into when he was younger, prone to getting into scrapes and scrambling for creepy crawlies at every turn, but dealing with Hyeyoung is a little like having to relive his younger days with his sister, except this time he's supposed to be understanding instead of a jerk about it.
Not that Namjoon could ever say no to Hyeyoung. Unlike his sister, the sight of Hyeyoung's scrunched up, tear-stained face is enough to make Namjoon panic and heft her up into his arms, and every time her eyes linger a little too long at a doll at the toy store, Hoseok has to stop Namjoon from pulling out his wallet. It's hilarious that it's Hoseok that's the reasonable parent now, when once it had been Namjoon who had nagged him about how baby talk would do nothing for the kids' comprehension in the future.
Then again, it's not Hoseok that's sitting in a tiny tea cup ride with their daughter, legs cramped and pride suffering from the indignity. Somewhere in the amusement park, Hoseok is busy having the time of his life playing bumper cars with Daehwan, and Namjoon is getting a migraine from the entire ride, concentric circles that make him want to puke more than the rollercoaster does. Hyeyoung doesn't seem to be too bothered by it, but it's Hyeyoung's idea anyway – they would have gone with Hoseok and Daehwan, but Hyeyoung had taken one look at the bumper cars and all the larger kids ramming their rides against the slower ones before throwing a temper tantrum at the gate.
There's no sign of the hysterical seven year old now, Hyeyoung long since appeased and sitting primly across Namjoon with her poofy ballet skirt and her black t-shirt. Namjoon had tried to get her to wear something more casual and more comfortable, but Hyeyoung had just stared at him with wide eyes until he'd succumbed to the pressure, the same way he'd given in when Hyeyoung had pointed at the tea cup ride and said, "Appa, don't you think that one's the coolest?"
Cool. Right. If he could sink lower into his seat, he would, but these seats aren't made for hiding in shame. Damn tiny teacups.
"Are you sure you don't wanna go back to the bumper cars yet?" Namjoon asks, not for the first time.
Indifferent to his pain, Hyeyoung fusses with her braids, tiny fingers plucking at the loose ends. Hoseok's better at doing her hair than Namjoon, but Hoseok had been busy trying to coax Daehwan out of the tub and into proper clothes without giving anyone an eyeful of his naked body, shrieking and running down the hallway with Rapmonnie and Mickey nipping at his heels the entire time.
"I hate cars," says Hyeyoung, never mind that she doesn't really have a problem with Namjoon's car, "They make me feel sick."
She tips her chin up and wrinkles her nose, the same way Hoseok does when he has to deal with Namjoon's pile of clothes and Hyeyoung's adventures with glitter glue and Daehwan scribbling on the kitchen wall with crayons; on her, it looks even more adorable, devastating to the end. Still, she can stand to be a little more honest.
"Did it scare you when the other kids were driving?" He asks, gently. Hyeyoung's pout turns into a full-fledged scowl, and she kicks at his legs, flats digging into his calf.
"I'm not scared," she says, stubborn to the end.
"I didn't say you were," he says. He'll never understand how his conversations with Hyeyoung seem to end up this way, like she's the victim and he's the bad guy. A part of him wonders if Hoseok's been secretly plotting behind his back and setting him up as the bad cop, but an even bigger part is terrified about what it'll be like when Hyeyoung reaches puberty. Oh god. He's never going to understand girls at all. "I was just asking if it were a possibility."
"What's a pos—pobi—" She wrinkles her nose again, tripping over her words. "Whassit. That thing."
"Never mind," he sighs. He scoops her up into his arms, settling her onto his lap, and she slumps against his chest, fingers clutching at the front of his shirt. "Don't you wanna go on a ride with Daehwan and appa?"
"Daehwan's too noisy," says Hyeyoung, "and appa just screams a lot. I like it better when I'm with you." Namjoon feels a flutter of something in his belly, and he hides his smile behind her hair. "But don't tell appa that, or he'll be sad."
I'm raising a con artist, he thinks, but it doesn't fill him with despair, not really. Just pride, that's all.
"I like going on rides with you too," he confesses, half a lie, half not, and when she beams up at him, it's worth it, he thinks.
At least, until they get off the ride and she catches sight of another in the distance.
"Daddy," she says, eyes shining, "can we ride the merry-go-round next?"