Monday, March 21, 2011

The Devil Inside

"I need an old priest and a young priest." - Dr. Evil from "Austin Powers in The Spy Who Shagged Me"

I have bestowed upon my child a new nickname. It's not a flattering nickname. And it is by no means a nickname that I say in front of her.

Penelope mid-tantrum. With cauldron
"Penelzebub." As in "Penelope + Beelzebub."

You may now be asking, "How can you possibly combine the sweet name you gave to your precious little girl with a name for the prince of demons? It's simple. Because Penelope can turn into the devil at the drop of a hat.

Or, put in simpler terms, at the uttering of the word "no."

First of all, you're right. Our daughter is precious. She's courteous, has good manners and is generally well-behaved. She listens pretty well, is a decent eater, and even goes to the bathroom on her own. Heck, even when she asks for candy or a cookie, she rarely eats the whole thing.

But there are times when I swear she has been possessed by some sort of pint-sized monster. And it happens in an instant. Take the other night, for example. Bedtime.

Bedtime is always a precarious time of day. It can go either way, really. It could make you laugh. It could make her cry. You just never know.

This particular evening seemed to be going rather swimmingly. Fun was had. Teeth were brushed. Books were read. And then... a flash of lightning... and my perfect little princess was gone.
Photos of Penelzebub are rare. This one is from Easter 2010

In her place, was Penelzebub.

She threw herself on the floor, screaming, crying, incapable of listening to anything, let alone reason. She was beyond talking to. She was beyond comprehension. She was just... beyond. Possessed, I tell you. What the hell just happened?

We told her we were doing 'group hug' in her room, not in ours. Perish the thought. What sane, rational person would not throw a fit upon hearing this horrible news? Group hug is the point in the evening where the four of us - dog included - collectively embrace right before Penelope lays down her sweet head. (I hold the dog with one hand and hug with the other, in case you were wondering).

She wanted to do it in our room because we had just read her a book on our bed. But we were all headed to her room... so my wife said, "Let's just do it in your room tonight."

In an instant, we have been transported to one of the nine circles of "Penelzebub."

Penelope is still perfecting this trick from "The Exorcist"

Then, as she lay there on the carpet... more hysteria. I made the mistake of turning off the hallway light. That ratcheted up the screaming and flailing even more. Why? Because Penelope wanted to turn off the hallway light herself. Had my wife not corraled her like a boated marlin,  I honestly think that my daughter would have started levitating.

But why? Why do our children do this to us? Why do they flip out - literally - at the flip of a switch? Over nothing at all?

I don't have the answer... but in cases like this, I could really use some divine intervention.


  1. This is so totally universal. Chase does this too. If you turn on the water for him to wash his hands he says "you never let me do anything."
    We've started saying Chase is pulling a Fukushima, a nuclear meltdown.

  2. I'm right there with ya, but I have no ideas. If I'm home I just shove the 5yo in a room and shut the door, but you can't really do that in the grocery store...

  3. Ugh, yep. Here, too. Ours is 4-1/2. For us the quickest transition to--let's call it Lucafer (Lucas/Lucifer)--is when we ask him to eat the food on his plate that he asked for and was begging for 10 minutes earlier. "You can have more chicken nuggets when you finish the noodles you asked for."...

    Cue the flailing, whining, falling out of the chair, and repeating "I don't want to, I don't want to" about 37 times...

    This is dinner time at our house. Every night. So yeah, I hear ya, brother.

  4. "Lucafer"?
    That's nice. He's cute though. LOL
    I love my little demon spawn.

  5. You guys are so cute (Pinwheels and Bungalow) chatting to each other on my blog site. You want me to leave? LOL (btw, everyone else: they're a couple).

  6. Haha! Sorry. Yeah, I thought Lucafer was fitting for this post. ;) It's a good thing he's cute or he'd have been defenestrated by now.


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