Mum. Dad.

Let me begin by saying I’m a fan. You are truly two of the finest method actors of your dog generation. Your commitment to playing Ground Is Lava? Divine. Your work in “Dance Mode”? Awe-inspiring. Your miming of heavy objects in “Featherwand”? Could bring Daniel Day-Lewis to tears.

But, please. I’m begging you. For the love of all that is good in this world (including the last few shreds of my sanity), please stop.

You see, my kids used to think I was a halfway decent parent. Sure, I might spend too much time on the internet. And I routinely recycle their crafts when they aren’t looking. But I was doing okay until you two came along with your delightful Australian accents and seemingly endless stores of free time and patience.

Now, I’m expected to dance on command—in public—whenever my child yells, “DANCE MODE!” Do you know the shame of being forced to dance to “Party in the USA” in the maxi pad aisle of a Kroger? Of course not. You lick your furry nether regions when the camera isn’t rolling. You don’t know shame.

As if the dancing weren’t enough, when my kids yell, “HEAVY!” I’m supposed to pantomime that whatever I’m holding is unbearably heavy. That works fine with a pen. It’s even manageable with a cup of hot coffee. When holding your best friend’s newborn? Well, you can only imagine the choices I’ve had to make.

Because, Mum and Dad (do you prefer Bandit and Chilli? We are all adults here), you’ve made opting out not an option. You’re never too busy to play. Never say no to an increasingly ridiculous game. In your seven-minute bursts of animated Masterpiece Theater, you’re almost always ever-patient, entirely present parents.

That works fine when your children are scripted into being semi-reasonable creatures. Call me when you’ve lived with a drunk-on-power toddler for nearly three pandemic years (roughly 2.7 billion cartoon-dog years).

If I say no, then I’m a monster—thanks to you. Does everyone in your country have the energy of a Tasmanian devil that just ate an entire sleeve of Tim Tams? I’ve seen The Wiggles in concert. You people are like human energy drinks.

So, I’m begging you on behalf of a beleaguered nation of exhausted parents. Stop.

Why not take a page from Daniel Tiger’s parents’ book? Sure, they’re basically perfect parents as well (and it must take a lot of time to rehearse all those songs), but they hardly play anything more than a simple game of blocks with Daniel. You think Daniel’s dad comes home from a long day at the clock shop and is willing to let Daniel boss him around with a magic xylophone? No way. Those parent set boundaries. Sure, your kids are a little more interesting than Daniel, but at least the Tigers get to put their paws up every once and a while.

So on behalf of tired parents everywhere: just stop. Or, to put it in terms you will understand, today’s episode of Bluey is called “Bugger Off.”