It was all fun and games until my daughter fell on her butt. Sprout was having one of her patented “molasses on a cold day” mornings meant to drive me insane, but I was in too good of a mood to succumb. This displeased Sprout. For reasons beyond my comprehension, she had decided that needed to be upset with me this morning. She does this sometimes, testing to see just how far I will bend before breaking. However, my steadfast refusal to play her games only made her more determined to get a rise out of me.
She lagged behind by a few paces as we walked the Bean to school. She attempted to stay with her brother on the playground, wanting to try out being a first grader for the day. On our return trip, she was half a block back, casually pretending to notice imaginary interesting things on the sidewalk. I remained cool, maybe even a little detached.
Sprout was unhappy that she was no longer the center of my attention so she tired a different tactic.
She suddenly appeared by my side and in her sweetest voice said, “Pick me up!”
I obliged and tossed her over my shoulder.
This was not what she was expecting and though she pretended to be upset, her delighted squeal as I lifted her in the air betrayed her. She squirmed and twisted, yelling, “Daaaddddyy! Put me dooooowwwwnn!!!”
She was still wriggling when I placed her back to the ground and that’s how she ended up tush-first on the pavement.
It was clearly a soft landing so I know she wasn’t hurt, but I apologized all the same. This was the opening Sprout was looking for. Like a shark sensing blood, I had given her a signal that I had done something wrong. Now she had a reason to be mad at me. She let me know it by ignoring me while getting her mom to cuddle with her. And from the time we returned home until the time I dropped her off at pre-school, she made sure to move as slowly as she could.