“Just hold the dress open and I’ll shove her down into it!” I said to my wife.
We were late in leaving for a wedding, one in which my 3 ½-year-old was to be the flower girl. However, at the moment, she was a demonic creature from the Netherworld. And she was dead set against putting on that dress.
Just moments before I was up street picking out a wedding card when my phone rang. It was my wife. And she sounded desperate.
“Get home as soon as you can,” she said. “We have a situation here.” So I paid for the card and sped home, not sure what to expect when I got there.
My wife greeted me at the door. “I’m going to kill her,” she said. “Really. I’m not kidding this time.” I looked over and saw my screaming, sobbing, hysterical little girl, sitting in the corner of the dining room, wearing nothing but her tights.
Obviously I needed to diffuse the situation. “Go get ready,” I said. “I’ll handle it.” My wife’s “tough cop” routine may have failed, but surely my fatherly charms could soothe my frantic first-born.
So, crouching down to her level and speaking in a clear, composed voice, I told my daughter that she had to put the dress on because she had a very special part in the wedding, and the dress would make her look like a princess!
But the demon was unmoved. “I am NOT putting on my dress!!”
Again, I reiterated her obligation to the bride and groom and explained the urgency of our situation. “Listen, honey, I don’t know what’s wrong, but we’re going to be late. So, I’m very sorry, but you’re going to have to put your dress on. Okay?”
That’s when the screaming hit a new, ear-splitting level. “I! WILL! NOT! PUT! IT! OOOOOOOOOOON!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
There comes a moment in parenting when, no matter how hard you try to remain calm, your blood begins to boil. You can feel it, slowly rising up from your belly and radiating into your chest. One minute you’re in total control of your emotions; the next, you’re the Incredible Hulk. You feel as if you could pick up the television and throw it through the window—and it would feel really, really good!
We had reached this critical moment.
“You WILL put it on!” I said, fire and smoke now emanating from my mouth. “Right now!!”
“NO I WON’T!!!”
Since diplomacy had failed, it was time for Plan B—Operation Stuff Her in the Dress. And it wasn’t easy, what with her screaming and hitting and kicking the entire time. Then, just as we managed to cram her into the dress, she activated the one super-power that all kids have, where they can instantly triple their body weight and drop to the floor like an anvil.
But we were not deterred. While taking blow after blow to the face, my wife, the trooper she is, managed to squeeze my daughter’s feet into her white patent-leather shoes. Then I immediately whisked the screeching demon—I mean, child—outside and strapped her into her car seat, all the while the neighbors peered out from behind their venetian blinds, horrified.
As my wife and I attended to our wounds, we expected a long drive ahead of us, one full of screaming and crying. But amazingly, just minutes down the road, my daughter was somehow exorcised of the demon and transformed back into our little angel. It was a miracle! Either that or she could sense wedding cookies in her future and, therefore, abruptly changed her tune.
Somehow we made it to the church on time and my beautiful princess walked down the aisle as the wedding guests looked on adoringly. And none of them had any clue that this sweet little cherub had earlier been a crazed demon.
We have the scars to prove it.