My Toddler Told Me “I Don’t Love You” Thanks To Koe Wetzel

Koe Wetzel country music
Jody Domingue

I thought a little Koe Wetzel would be fine to play in my minivan, as long as it didn’t have an “E” for explicit next to the title. I was wrong.

“I DON’T love you, Daddy.”

My toddler seethed and hit me right in the heart with a verbal harpoon while I stood in his doorway at bedtime. At three-years-old, he entered his rebellious teenage years in a span of five words. Telling him it was time for bed apparently cost me his love.

But then I remembered our drive back home from the grocery store that morning, listening to Koe Wetzel’s “Love,” featuring Parker McCollum.

“I don’t love you.
The selfish don’t love nobody.
And I can’t love you,
Like you should be loved.”

That’s it! My eyes lit up and I hugged him tightly. He still loved me, I was sure of it! He’s obviously just quoting Koe. These damn kids hear everything.

But he’s too young to realize that Koe’s “I don’t love you” is a self-critical lament for his inability to love someone well. Maybe he’s working through the words a little at a time. Next time he tells me he doesn’t love me, I’ll take it as a compliment, and offer some minor corrections.

“Thank you, buddy! But the next line is ‘I can’t love you… like you should be loved.’ You forgot that last part! And don’t worry about it, you’re only selfish because you’re three. Now get your ass in bed.”

I’m proud to expose my son to music that I actually like. But the cost of replacing a Raffi banger with Koe Wetzel is that your kid will sometimes parrot a lyric that embarrasses you when you’re standing in line at CVS, or that crushes your soul when you’re standing in his doorway at bedtime.

Still, I’m willing to absorb a few errant “I don’t love yous” or “tell his punk ass to take me to jails” in the spirit of artistic awareness and the healthy expression of emotions.

So I’ll keep pumping Koe’s cleanest songs into my son’s ears while I await the proud day when he looks me in the eye and says, “Daddy… who is sober enough to take me to Taco Bell?”

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock