That headline sure sounds scientific, doesn’t it? I have no idea what it means, but it feels like the right way to describe yesterday’s Getting Home From Preschool adventure. Man, it seemed like it was going to go well: I arrived to a loud cry of “Daddy!” from Sasha, who rushed up to hug me and then, more important, gave me no trouble when I put on her coat, scarf, hat, and mittens. She looked her teacher in the eye as she said good-bye, and then we went outside.
That’s when things just suddenly changed—so instantaneously that it was as if we’d stepped through a wormhole into another universe, a universe of crabby, crying, uncooperative toddlers. Now Sasha was walking in the wrong direction, and calling for her best friend, Katerina, who hadn’t yet left school, and then I saw the M22 bus coming and grabbed her to get onboard, and then she was absolutely in tears, writhing and screaming for Mommy.
This was—if I may be allowed a terribly off-color, insensitive, and unnecessary joke—a Fukushima-level meltdown. By the time we’d made it onto the F train, she’d calmed down, but only slightly, and though it seemed to have disappeared when we got home, it was apparently only hiding in the background. When it was time for her to brush her teeth and put on an overnight diaper and go to bed, she went Chernobyl. I don’t think I’ve ever been so angry at her: With Sasha standing in the middle of her bedroom, I turned off the light and closed the door, and I stood there while she pounded on it and screamed and cried. Fuck, what do you do? Through the door, Jean and I told her she was in Time Out, but that did nothing.
Instead, we stood there feeling guilty for 5 minutes, then went in, told her we loved her, and put her to bed properly. And then she was once again a sweet little girl, apologetic and loving and wonderful. The quantum switch had been flipped back.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Woe unto the man (or woman) who attempts to woo my daughter!
Bonus quantum physics reference: Often, mornings remind me of Schrödinger’s Cat, in that Sasha will frequently sit quietly in bed waiting for us to get her up. It’s like she’s both asleep and awake, and could reveal herself to be either at any moment, but we never really know until we open the door.