The girl’s back popped triumphantly. She rolled over and made a noise halfway between a groan and a giggle. “Okay okay okay. Now it’s your turn, Daddy. I’m going to push on your back.”
“Okay…” I said, as we switched places on the floor between her and her sister’s bed. “But be careful. And follow my instructions exactly, alright.”
“Sure.” She said.
I turned to face the cavernous region under her bed and made an inventory of the lost socks and books that I saw there while I relayed instructions on where to put her hands and which way to turn them. “Now push.”
“I am pushing already,” was her stained response.
“Oh. Okay, well, maybe you should try bouncing up and down a little. You know to sort of push a little harder.”
I felt her move to readjust her position, “Okay, that’s a good idea.” She sighed thoughtfully.
I waited a few moments, but nothing happened. Maybe something had distracted her? A few more seconds ticked by. What is taking her so long? Finally, I turned to look back over my shoulder to see what my daughter was up to. What I saw was a single frame of motion frozen in time. I saw my daughter suspended in the air halfway between the railing at the foot of her bed, and my fragile spine. Her body was layed out flat with her elbows extended in front of her like two short spears. A huge smile stretched across her face. Her legs kicked lightly in the air like a shark propelling itself forward. I opened my mouth to scream, but all that came out was “No! St-” before my body was crushed beneath the weight of the falling anvil child. Her elbows were driven deep into my ribs and the full force of her plummeting torso crushed the air out of me with a loud “Pouuuuuuhhhh…”
As I writhed in pain, I tried to crawl under the protective fortress of the bed. I heard her giggling uncontrollably behind me, rolling back and forth across my exposed legs. I wanted to disappear among the socks and discarded books. To be forgotten about and die in peace. Within my ringing ears echoed the memory of my earlier words, “follow my instructions exactly… maybe you should try bouncing up and down a little…”
Life and death are in the details, my friends.