So you want to know how my night was?
Cue warm fuzzy music
Fade in from black to reveal a warm sunny day and a field of flowers…
I didn’t cry or anything like that, but Ella was very cute in her tutu. Her excitement over the welcome mat with ballet slippers was equal to the joy I felt taking her to her second dance class. I had been looking forward to our daddy and daughter time together all day while I was at work. First was tap, and I helped her get out of her Dora tennis shoes and into her black patent leather tap shoes before sending her through the door of the waiting room and onto the dance floor. I took a seat and every now and then I craned my neck to try to get a glimpse of her in the mirrors that lined the wall. I could see her being so sweet, watching her teacher so intently and imitating everything she did. I felt proud to see how well she listened, not like some of the other kids in class… whose tap shoes assaulted my ears. Then they changed into their ballet slippers and I watched carefully at what instructions the teacher gave, imagining Ella dressing up and pretending to be a ballerina at home, swaying, flexing, pointing, and making her arms round like a cake (blowing out the birthday candles – which is what the teacher calls the thumbs when they stick up). After the dancing everyone lined up against the wall and got a stamp. Ella spotted me and gave me a wave and a wink as I signed “I love you.” We walked out to the car hand in hand, smiles on both our faces.
Cut to next scene
Cue hard rock drum beat and distorted guitar
Fast forward to bedtime and it’s a different story. Pax was in his room playing with the train table and Thomas trains he got for his birthday. Ella came in and wanted to play. She usually wants whatever Pax has, and she started asking (not in a kind way) to have the Thomas train, when Pax was done with it. I said yes, sure she could have it. She just needed to wait until he was done with it. She kept asking about it and I kept trying to reassure her she would have it after Pax had his turn but I could feel my blood starting to boil. Erica wisely suggested we sing a song to kind of change the mood, so we started up a simple chorus. This made Ella madder and she told us not to sing. She was getting defiant, and I told her she didn’t have to sing but that we were going to sing. That’s when she said no and leaned in to try to slap me. Erica says I didn’t raise my voice, but I felt like I did as I took her to time-out downstairs. My emotions were raging inside. I can remember thinking, “C’mon Ella, we were having such a nice night together.” I told her she does not hit daddy and that she was in time-out. So she cried an angry cry and stomped her foot, which she knows she is NOT supposed to do. And I told her she now had two time-outs. Then, I walked away to cool off.
I wish I could just be calm. Why do I get so upset about stuff like this? Why is disciplining so hard? I really do think she is such a sweet girl. But it is such a roller coaster sometimes… Sometimes I feel like I’m the only dad in the world who struggles with this stuff.
I love recording all of the beautiful things my kids say and do, some nights are just overshadowed by toddler drama.