Trish told me about this, but I didn’t believe it.

Saturday morning I woke up decided to spend the morning with Ella, instead of rushing off to Lowe’s or going straight to work in the yard. But I was hoping to get Ella outside. The weather was perfect, and the dogs needed walking.

We dawdled a while upstairs before I started broaching the subject of getting out of our PJs.

No, Ella said. She wanted to cook breakfast for me. In her kitchen. In her bedroom.

Dingdingdingding! Alarms went off. It’s happening, just as Trish said it would. Ella is stalling. Some mornings, if Trish doesn’t pick Ella up and take her downstairs immediately the morning passes slowly, like a cheesesteak sandwich. “If I don’t dress her downstairs we don’t get anything done for an hour,” Trish had said.

That’s silly. Ella’s 2, for crying out loud. We need to remind her that we’re in charge.

But I had already hesitated, and Ella pounced.

“Come!” she said, and patted her leg like she does when she calls the dogs. “Come!”

Then, very sweetly, “I will cook you beckfast. You want an egg, Daddy?”

I followed. Down the hall. Into the sun-bathed room. I took two steps inside and started with, “OK, but we need to make it fast so we can get dressed and go out …”


She had slipped behind me and shut her door. Trapped!

I could see a thought bubble rise above her cute little head.

‘Now you’re mine! All mine!’ it said. ‘Wa-hahahhaha.’

She was diabolical. I swear she was wringing her hands.

I heard Trish out in the hallway. “That’s why I dress her downstairs,” she said.