So we’re running around the house the other day, Ella and I, like we do. Chasing each other around the stairwell, through the dining room, through the kitchen, through the den and down the hallway. Around and around. It’s probably Ella’s second-favorite game (her favorite is for me to throw her into the air, free from my grasp, three, four feet above my head, and catch her before she hits the ground; that’s a game Trish can’t bear to watch, I don’t know why).

So I’m showing off, running really fast and sliding across the hardwoods in my socks. Except I slip and land on my butt and slam my elbow on the floor.

“Oh, I’m hurt.”

“I help, Daddy.”

“Ouch, this hurts.” I think I’m imbuing her with empathy. What a learning opportunity!

“Here, Daddy.” It’s going to work, she’s going to help me and be caring and understanding.

“Ouch, this really hurts.”She gets behind me and pushes.

“Up, Daddy! Up! Do again!”

I am reduced to a bag of bones, a toy for a sadistic 2-year-old, who is so often very sweet and kind.What can I do? I get up and do it again.