Last night I was stricken with feelings of regret and pride. Maly has always been really good about tending to her “duties”, specifically her bedtime to do list. She gets a drink of water, goes to the bathroom, washers her hands, brushes her teeth and brushes her hair.
Last night, after the above ritual was complete, Rocio came over to drop off Rafter. We all hung out in the kitchen for a bit and Maly and I shared a sprig of grapes. Over my shoulder, and without putting too much thought into it, I told Maly that since she ate grapes, she was going to need to brush her teeth again.
Ten minutes later I found myself sitting at Maly’s bedside, finishing the Snow White story we’d started earlier in the evening. I remembered telling Maly earlier that she was supposed to brush her teeth. I just assumed she hadn’t, so I told her, “I asked you to brush your teeth, but since it’s late and you’re already in bed, it’ll be okay this one time if you don’t.”
“Daddy, I did brush my teeth.”
“No, I meant after you ate the grapes.”
“But I did brush my teeth.”
“A second time, after you ate the grapes?”
“No you didn’t.”
“Yes I did.”
“Are you sure?”
“You brushed your teeth twice tonight?”
I assumed that my child wouldn’t heed my instruction and lie to me about it. And I had absolutely no reason to make that assumption. I still wonder what that says about me.
This morning Elise asked, “Did you tell Maly that she needed to brush her teeth again last night?” I told her that I did. And it was confirmed that the child did in fact brush her teeth a second time last night. I praised Maly this morning for brushing her teeth, and I apologized for assuming that she hadn’t. I didn’t go into the details of my assumption – I just made sure to praise her because she did the right thing.
You know what happens when one assumes…
And so now we fast-forward to 3 p.m. today. I was walking out of the bedroom and into the living room where I caught the angel of a child on the couch with the cat’s head locked between her knees. Before I could say anything, and before she noticed my presence, she punched the cat in the head.
I’ll spare the details, but will say that it wasn’t pretty. There was no beating or bloodshed, but the child probably felt like she was an inch tall after I was done.
I had to go out to the garage and pace as the rain poured onto the driveway and contemplate the punishment for the Shiny Toothed Cat Mangler.
It’s amazing how in one day the child can be a saint, and in the next, she can be a demon.