Last Night I Turned my Child into an Axe Murderer

Sparkle loves to dance. After she learned how to stand, instead of working on her first step she worked on her shimmy. She is a single lady, she puts her hands up and kicks that leg to the side right on cue. Whenever I let her watch TV it’s a toss up between CBeeBies and MTV. She finds them equally riveting.

A while ago she developed a preference for dresses, when she realised that they moved, flowed and twirled much better than pants in response to her dance moves. She’d get really excited whenever we put her in a dress, and break into a little jig. Soon she staretd insisting on wearing dresses. Then she started crying to sleep in dresses too. I didn’t mind this fixation, too much, until this week. The whole country, well except Cape Town as usual, has been plunged into some weird winter in the middle of November. I tried to get her into the warmer pants and tracksuits, I failed. She wears dresses exclusively, even to bed. Pyjamas will not do.

Last night I got home late, tired and only just in time for bath time. We’ve had the same routine since she was a baby. It all went like clockwork until we got to the point where she was supposed to undress. She refused to get out of her dress. I was told that the previous night, on which I’d missed bath time altogether, it was a mission to get her out of her dress. I wasn’t going to have any of that. I was tired and I had work to do so I forced her out of the dress. She fought me all the way. Then she refused to get into the bath in protest. Seeing that she was so attached to the damn dress I tossed it into the bath, which is where I wanted her to be.

My daughter broke open and the chasm emitted a heart wrenching wail. You would have thought I had decapitated and drowned a puppy before her very eyes. She frantically tried to climb in and rescue her dress. I have never seen her so distraught.I was quickly realizing that I had made a grave mistake. In a quest to make amends I helped her into the bath, to go save her precious garment. She grabbed the dress and tried to climb out the bath with it. I helped her out. She then dropped to her knees, cradling the dress, and sobbed. Her little naked body shaking with emotion. By now my heart was torn into a gazillion pieces. In a last ditch attempt to salvage the situation I grabbed child and dress, ran to the kitchen and tossed the dress into the tumble dryer. Bad Move. I might as well have pulled Glenn Close’s bunny boiling move from Fatal Attraction. She started pounding on the dryer door, crying after the victim spinning inside. I stopped the dryer, took out the wet dress, cuddled and rocked both right there on the kitchen floor until Sparkle calmed down.

I am completely traumatized by the experience. I am scared I may have scarred her for life. I can already see the documentary on cold-blooded female psychopaths, 25 years from now, featuring my Sparkle and how she turned bad at 19 months old when her mommy drowned her red and white dress.

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