I watched her walk up the Slip ‘N Slide after I told her to walk on the grass after she’d had a turn to slide. Before I could say anything, Lincoln dove head-first down the slide before crashing into Anna’s shins.
As Anna scampered away, Lincoln sat on the slide with tears running down his face and a goose-egg forming on his forehead. As I helped Lincoln to his feet, I yelled to Anna that her time on the slide was finished. She walked to the other side of the yard where she stood with her arms crossed and a scowl on her face.
When one of Luca’s friends and her mother rang the door bell, the kids raced to greet them. Luca had been invited to her friend’s home. When Anna realized she wasn’t invited, she acted up, and Kim sent her downstairs in timeout.
I sat at my computer typing away. Music played in the background. I could barely hear Anna’s sniffling. She sat on a cheap plastic chair with her knees pulled up against her chest. Her scowl showed no signs of leaving. Her actions ensured she’d spent more time in timeout than playing.
It’s tough being five.
Kim and the gang were upstairs. I wondered how long Anna would stay on the chair. Would I have to remind her? Would she test me? I looked straight ahead at my computer screen while trying to watch her out of the corner of my eye.
When I felt enough time had passed I asked her to come sit on my lap. She wasn’t sure what to think.
“Let’s talk, Anna”
“About whatever you want”
She wiggled around on my lap so I could see her face. Her eyes were bloodshot. Her cheeks bright red. She wants to see me, but she doesn’t want me to see her. I figured she was done talking, but I was wrong.
“I’m just having a really bad day”
I’m not sure what constitutes a bad day to a five-year-old girl but, nobody would argue with her assessment today. I love Anna’s honesty. At times I’ve struggled to connect with her, and I know these opportunities don’t come along often.
“We all have bad days. Even dads have bad days”
“Do you cry when you have bad days?”
“I’m going to be good tomorrow, because I cried all my tears out”
With that, I picked her off my lap, gave her a hug and sent her on her way.