I often wrestle and (play) fight with my kids. As part of this dad activity, it is my fatherly duty to play the role of all sorts of nasty villains from ogres and giants to mad scientists and Republicans. The kids are always the heroes; I'm always the bad guy. I've become quite convincing in this role -- maybe too convincing.
Recently I was Captain Hook. I was being swarmed by Pan and a band of his Lost Boys (and Girls) as they tried to beat me into submission. Their efforts were futile. Until. Until the game came to a screeching halt as I was immobilized by what felt like a pair of pliers trying to remove my bicep from my upper arm. Shedding all but one of my assailants in an instant, I looked down to see Amelia's jaw fully locked on my arm.
Scooping her up and heading straight for "timeout," I started asking her, in a not-so-gentle tone, what on earth was she doing. She knows biting is not allowed and has long outgrown that toddler phase. I think I was more shocked than angry, and I was grilling her in disbelief and showing her the injury she had given me.
When I sat her down in the chair, I could see nothing but devastation on her face. Tears were forming at the corners of her eyes. With a quivering lip and a shaky voice that could barely muster a whisper she said, "But, but, but Daddy... you were Captain Hook." And with that she threw her face into the crook of my neck, sobbing over and over again, "I'm sorry, Daddy."
Being the soft dad that I am, my heart instantly hurt more than my bicep. I wrapped my arms around my little girl and did my best to console her. I told her everything was OK and that she just needed to be more careful. She eventually calmed down but continued to apologize throughout the night. My precious little girl isn't all nails and vinegar, after all.
But she's still Amelia.
The next morning I showed her the lovely green bruise that was left from the injury she had caused. She took a close look at it and, in the most dismissive voice you've ever heard, said, "Oh just put a band aid on it."
Then she just walked off, as full of nails and vinegar as ever.