“You have Hapkido today,” I said as nonchalantly as I could as Sammy left the kitchen to go get dressed for school.
We had discussed this. She had brought it up. She wanted to go. When I pressed her to choose, she wanted to take Hapkido instead of dance. I said she could take both, but she had to stay for nap on Thursdays. Hapkido was at twelve thirty, but past experience told me her teacher was always late starting class, up to a half hour. And I had to pick up Ella no later than twelve thirty. Ella and Penny need their naps. And it’s no fun hanging around preschool trying to entertain the two of them while we wait for Sammy to finish. Plus,if she stayed for nap, that would be two days where I have potentially everyone at home asleep at the same time. Which means a nap for me. I really need to nap.
I told her this. She had to stay for nap. So she changed her mind. No Hapkido. But I signed her up anyway. She liked it so much last year and was really disappointed they didn’t have it this year. And it’s good for her. My shy little girl kicks and punches and “Ha’s” with such force. It’s good for her.
But there was the nap thing. I decided I’d try to pick her up before nap. We’d wait. Because I really do think it’s good for her. I hadn’t told her this yet when I said, “You have Hapkido today.”
Her face melted. She shook her head. No words, just head shaking and big tears, dropping on the ground. Lip quivering. She was trying not to cry. I went to her and hugged her and asked her what was wrong.
She sobbed. No words.
“You don’t have to stay for nap,” I said. “I’ll pick you up right after Hapkido. Okay?”
More sobbing and head shaking.
“I don’t want to go,” she said into my neck. “I don’t want to take Hapkido.”
“Why not? You loved it last year.”
“I don’t want to .”
“Is it because you have to stay for nap?”
“Yes. I don’t want to take Hapkido.”
“But, Sammy, I already said you don’t have to stay for nap.”
“I don’t want to .”
“Don’t you remember how much you loved it? Show me the punches,” I said, thrusting my hands in front of me as spastically as I could. “Like that?”
She shook her head no. I caught a quick smile. I had found my distraction.
“What is it you say when you punch?”
She shrugged, watching me, waiting for it.
My arms contorted, “Macaroni and cheese?”
Smile and head shake.
Again the arms, “Banana split?”
I went in for the kill. Arms flailing wildly, “Butt?”
She fell off my lap, squealing with laughter.
“You said ‘butt'” she roared.
Ella, sitting at the kitchen table, doubled over, grabbing her perpetually naked belly, and slapped the table while she cackled away. Penny, in her booster seat, had no idea what was going on, but she joined in. Laughing and laughing.
Sammy went to Hapkido. Penny, Ella, and I waited, out of sight so she wouldn’t be self-conscious or try to leave early. But I peeked. There were only eight children in the class. Much smaller than last year. Sammy was clearly the oldest, a head taller than everyone else. The instructor led them in kicks and punches.
“I hear Sammy,” said Ella.
“Yep, that’s Sammy,” I said.
My shy little girl, the loudest of them all.
*This post was inspired by this prompt from The Red Dress Club. I would like to thank my daughter, for having a tantrum this morning so I had something to write about. My brain is fried this week and the fiction wasn’t coming along.