Lately, when I pick The Big H up from school she’s absolutely vile to me. Normally she’s reserved and stares at me with utter contempt and sometimes runs to her teacher and clings to her waist, as if I’m evil incarnate and beat her daily. That’s absurd. I only beat her on Fridays. Today she not only looked at me with contempt, but also ran to her teacher to cling to her waist, but then ran into the bathroom to hide from me. I swear that all I did was walk into the classroom and said hello. She forced me to walk to the bathroom to say, “Hanley, can we please leave now?” How horrible of me, right? Then Hanley started crying and screaming, until another teacher asked her to leave with me. That made me kind of laugh. She was polite, but I could tell that inside she was saying, Would you just get the freakin’ freak out of here? NOW! So Hanley tried to run out of the bathroom and past me to the door on her own. I’m still not sure what she was trying to accomplish there. Maybe she knows how to hotwire cars. I’m not sure how she thought she was going to get home. But I stepped neatly in front of her and said in my most calm and manny-on-the-verge voice, “Take my hand and leave with me now.” She balked for a second, but then looked at my face and suddenly took my hand and left quietly.
Minutes later she climbed into her car seat and acted as though nothing had happened. She was my best friend in the whole world. “Hi, Uncle Tim! Can we go to–”
I shut it down immediately and explained to her that she wasn’t at all a good girl in her classroom when I picked her up. We had a talk about good behavior and what’s expected of her, and then I confiscated her stuffed kitty and explained that she wasn’t allowed to hold it on the way home, because of her inappropriate behavior. She was shocked, shed a few tears, but took it in stride. When I parked in front of her house and finished texting H’s mother about what went down, I asked if she was going to be a good girl and she said, “Yes!” I gave her her stuffed kitty and then she said, “Are you beating me, Uncle Tim?”
“Only on Fridays, Hanley,” I answered.
H entertaining herself and me in the process.