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My daughter's iron will

Ariah is an absolute angel. As I wrote last night, she gives the most thoughtful compliments and is so delightful to play with. She’s the cream filling of our lives. But like all of us, she has dark side.

I had the unlucky responsibility of putting her to bed tonight. Believe me, there’s no lack of fatherly love in that pronouncement, it’s a realistic description of the arduous task. Of course, my gentle demands were fruitless. As I asked her, then told her, then ordered to her to go potty, she responded by running around in circles, prancing like a sprite, too high on life to do anything else. The sight was so funny, I started laughing, Then she started laughing. Then Teresa started laughing. But life had to go on. I picked her up and put her in the bathroom. She ran out. So I picked her up and put her in the bathroom again. She ran out again. For the third time, I picked her, put her in the bathroom, and this time closed the door, telling her I wouldn’t open it until she went potty.

That pushed her button. She hates it when I close the door. She wept. She wailed. She gnashed her teeth. For at least a half hour. “Will you open the door?” she plead about a thousand times. Now and then I responded with, “Not until you go potty.” Of course, she wasn’t interested in reason. It was Ariah versus daddy, a struggle for power. Neither of us could bend. She wanted to defy my authority and retain her absolute autonomy. I wanted to uphold justice and prevent her from growing into a monster by refusing to compromise with three-year-old terrorism. It’s insane how long the agony lasted. Teresa nearly begged me to make it stop. I would say, “Ariah, you’re acting like a baby. You’re a big girl.” She got so into her defiance, she responded with, “I’m not a big girl!” When her appeals to mommy proved fruitless, she decided that we were both the enemy and started shouting, “Stay away from me, mommy and daddy!” In the end, I couldn’t take it anymore, so I opened the door and put her on the toilet myself.

When it was all over, we brought her into our bedroom for a little talk. Teresa prefaced the somber occasion to Ariah, and Ariah immediately followed by looking us in the eyes and saying in a serious voice, “Okay. Mommy and daddy, you need to be nice.” She has the iron will of a Gashler. Hopefully, someday, she’ll use it for good instead of evil.

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