Maybe I’m a terrible father

My oldest daughter is a wonderful little sprite. She’s 3 and a complete crackerjack. Her grandmother calls her “Contrarian,” which is countered with a defiantly shouted, “I am not.”

If she doesn’t like what you’re doing as a parent, she waves her little index finger at you. It was so adorable that Molly and I both laughed at first.  Now we’re paying the price. She storms after you when she’s mad at you, with no fear of any oncoming punishment. 

That said, I can’t stress this enough: she’s wonderful and astounding 99 percent of the time. 

Today, after an episode in our dining room, in which I gently told her I expected more of her, she tore into quite a fit. 

So I tossed all expectations of proportional response out the window. 

We’re not talking about spanking or timeouts. We’re talking the mother of all bombs. Except mine was nuclear.

“That’s it, I’m telling Santa.” It’s July 28. Christmas is half a year away. 

Horror fell across her face.

“You can’t,” she yelled. “No,” she screamed. 

She flopped down on the floor and let out a guttural sob.

So I picked up the phone, dialed, waited, and said, “Santa, please.”

My 5-year-old son on the couch, gasped.  

I had a back-and-forth with Santa on the phone.  Which included, “Oh, I’m not sure Minnie has to go on the naughty list… I understand. … she has to be good.”

It was then that an unexpected thing happened.

Minnie, squawked. Like a 2-ton, monstrous eagle, she squawked twice and said, “No!”

I looked mortified. “Oh Santa, I’m so sorry. OK, I understand.”

She’d called my bluff. Now she’s sitting on the steps in timeout, screaming, “Bad Santa!” “Bad Santa.” 

I’m terrified of what she will be like in nine years. 

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