My children like to play “Monster”, wherein I stomp around with my arms up and growl at them. They either run or fight and I subsequently either chase or battle. The game usually begins when they least suspect it to; Pleasantly coloring or reading when I slowly peer around the corner and softly growl until they look up and shriek. They love it. Except when they don’t.

Recently, at the playground, Brianne made friends with another little girl. They were running to and fro, as little girls do; Racing up ladders and down slides, across walkways and through tubes. They were having a wonderful time – “what a perfect moment for a monster attack” I thought.

I waited until they slowed down a bit, standing together at the base of some steps catching their breath and giggling. I stood ten feet away, my arms up, my mouth scowling, when Brianne looked at me. I expected the usual shriek followed by a rousing chase. Instead I got “Daddy not now” hissed in a stage whisper as she glanced between me and her new friend, making sure she hadn’t seen. Then she pointed at me and stomped her foot before turning around.

A minute later they were off running again, leaving me to think “that hogwash isn’t supposed to happen for another ten years.”