I posted a few days ago about my six-year-old’s tendency to sing opera whenever things get stressful. I figured today I’d post about my three-year-old’s habit of roaring, barking, or growling at me whenever she doesn’t get her way.
My wife calls her the Little Sergeant. I’ll call her the Peach, which was what I named her back when she was born (and then got really sick).
So Peach likes to get her way. I mean, we all do, but Peach reeeeaaalllly likes to get her way. She’ll ask for something: “Daddy, ketchup,” in a sweet voice. When I don’t answer right away, she’ll repeat it in a semi-sweet voice. But contained in those dulcet three-year-old tones is the looming thunderhead of an all-out fit. Because I still haven’t received the “please” I’m waiting for—and yes, she’s been reminded often enough to know she should say please—the request becomes a demand: “Daddy! Ketchup!”
At this point I’m often reminded of this scene from So I Married an Axe Murderer (“Head! Pants! Now!!!), and I’m sure as heck not going to be treated like a large-craniumed grade-schooler. So I remind her: “Peach, what should you say to Daddy?”
She smiles and says “Peeezze.” (The sweetness of her smile at this point makes the missing L even more endearing.)
So I give her the ketchup. Peach figures, “Hey, I scored once. Let’s head back to the well again.”
I give her a deadpan look. “Have you finished your milk?”
Some of the sweetness vanishes from her blue eyes. “Juice, Daddy!”
“Peach, I can’t give you juice every time you ask for it. Otherwise, you’d spend the day in a sugar coma.”
Peach bats her eyelashes. “Peezzze?”
I falter a moment, my daughter’s inherent cuteness wearing me down. Then, knowing what her reaction will be, I take a deep breath and say, “I’m sorry, honey, but not right now.”
Her eyes flash with something ancient and disconcertingly sinister. “PEEZE!” she barks, like a drill sergeant breaking down a new recruit.
Now, with perfect diction this would sound like “Ruh,” or something uttered by a mezzo soprano golden retriever. But Peach still inserts Ws for Rs, and the result is the above roar.
I try to reason with her.
“Honey, Daddy’s not being mean, he just wants you to be healthy.”
“Because if you drink too much juice, you’ll—”
“—and you won’t grow the way—”
“—and would you stop barking at me?!”
You might have noticed that I haven’t posted about my work much in the past couple weeks. That’s because I’m about to assault you over a long period of time (not unlike my daughter and her roars) about a) my new SAVAGE SPECIES audiobook, b) my upcoming July novel CASTLE OF SORROWS, c) my September novella, d) my January novel THE NIGHTMARE GIRL, and e) the two novels I’ve been working on this month.
So remember to roar at your loved ones when they deprive you of juice. It brings the family together.