- There was a little girl, who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead.
- And when she was good, she was very, very good.
- But when she was bad, she was horrid.
Given all that happened yesterday, these ancient and very, very famous lines could have been written about my daughter, Sasha, whose daycare center was closed for administrative reasons yesterday. After a wonderful morning spent getting soaked at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6 waterworld, Sasha’s horridity began to emerge. At lunch, at the frighteningly kid-friendly Moxie Spot, she deigned only to play with her macaroni and cheese. Did you know it’s fun to smear it in your hair? Neither did I.
But that was just a prelude. After a mercifully long nap, she awoke in tears, inconsolable and frustrated. It wasn’t quite a temper tantrum—I know what those look like—but she wasn’t simply upset, either. She wanted nothing—no water, juice, or milk, no cereal or apples, no toys or books or games—but would not stop crying. I can’t even remember how I finally got her outside to go pick up our biweekly vegetable box from the local CSA, but when we arrived, things got worse, to the point where I just had to leave her writhing and crying on the ground while everyone around me stared, no doubt disgusted with my fatherly incompetence.
The thing is, as horrid as she gets, Sasha has an in-built sense of when to pull back and, to counteract all the anger she’s engendered in me, act ridiculously, unnervingly cute. A thrashing tantrum will end with her hearing a bird in the trees, signing “bird” and saying “tweet, tweet!” She’ll squirm out of her stroller again and again until, at last, she’ll beg to be carried and then lean her head on my shoulder, which is what she wanted all along. And a miserable afternoon like yesterday will end with her force-feeding me pretzels in our garden while fellow ‘wagoneer Theodore—who for some reason thinks his own Upcoming daughter will be easier to handle—kept marveling at how adorable she was.
So, yes, Nathan, I know just how you feel. And I have to add that I’m amazed that you’re even willing to undertake a five-day solo adventure with two kids. I remember back in May, when we all went camping at the edge of Brooklyn, how impressed I was with your willingness to bring 2-year-old Nico along, and I recall saying to myself, “Ah, well, he’s 2! That’s when they’re mature enough to do such things.” But now, as Sasha nears that age herself, I see how brave (or should that be “insane”?) you were. What were you thinking? What were any of us thinking?