Punishing my daughter and punishing myself

After refusing to allow us to change her diaper and put her in her pajamas, my wife and I picked up our daughter, plopped her in her crib, said goodnight, turned out the light and closed the door. No pajamas. No books. No brushing of the teeth. No combing of the hair. No washing of the face and hands and feet. No cuddles. No hugs. No kisses. No tucking in.

A complete break in the routine. An almost absolute absence of the love and affection that has ended our day for more than two years.

As Elysha closed the door behind her, we held each other in the hallway outside her room, feeling like terrible parents and great parents at the same time.

We did the right thing, I thought. I hate the right thing.

In my next book, a mother says that the right thing and the hard thing are usually the same thing.

That mother was right.

“What will we do when she starts calling for us?” I asked Elysha.

“We’ll give her one chance,” she said.


No chance was ever needed. Clara fell asleep immediately and never made a peep.

I couldn’t believe it.

Apparently her disobedience had more to do with exhaustion than obstinacy.

Now I sit here in the wee hours of the morning, writing this post, waiting for her to wake up so I can kiss her and hug her and tickle her like I would have last night.

Like I should have last night.

I can’t wait to enjoy all of the little things that I love so much but was forced to skip when I had to be a good parent and do the right thing for my daughter instead of doing the right thing for myself.

I’m a selfish man. This parenting gig can be hard.