At Friday lunchtime, I arrived at Abi’s school to take her up to the hospital for her chemotherapy. The hospital wasn’t far and it was a beautiful day, so I had decided we would walk up. I fetched Abi from her classroom and before leaving, we went to the toilet so I could put numbing cream on her port.

Then we began to make our way up the hill, towards the hospital. “Aren’t we driving, Daddy?” Abi asked. “No,” I told her. “It’s far too nice to be stuck in a stuffy car. So I thought we’d walk instead,” I continued. “I don’t want to walk, daddy!” Abi screamed back at me. “Abi! Don’t be silly! It’s not far and it’s a lovely day. The walk will be fun!” I told her. “No, it won’t, Daddy. I want to go in the car!” Abi replied, stubbornly.

The argument continued until, after a while, I had to start dragging Abi towards the hospital. She was getting herself into a state: “I don’t want to walk, Daddy,” she told me, sobbing. “Abi, come on. We’re walking, whether you like it or not,” I told her. Abi pulled at my hand stubbornly: “No!” she screamed. Things were getting out of control. “Abi, stop it!” I said, getting a little angry now. That didn’t help. “I hate you!” she screamed, suddenly. “Abi, that’s not fair! Now come on, we’re going to the hospital,” I said, firmly. With that, she sat down and refused to budge. Fortunately, I’m a little stronger than Abi, so I was able to pick her up, put her on my shoulder, and continue our journey. Abi began to lash out, and one punch struck my right in the face. At that, I put her back down and slapped her bottom, not hard, but hard enough to warn her that she was not going to win a physical battle. “You’re not allowed to do that!” she screamed at me. “Someone call the police!” she bellowed. She carried on shouting that after I had put her back on my shoulder and continued up the hill. It was quite a scene. So much so that a gentleman crossed the road and asked Abi if she was okay? Before she could answer, I did instead: “This is my daughter, and she has a hospital appointment that we’re walking to, whether she likes it or not.” He got the idea and left.

We finally made the hospital with Abi still screaming: “Someone call the police!”I sat her down on a bench to try and calm her down. But she was having none of it: “Go away! I hate you!” she shouted at me. “Well, that’s unfortunate, Abi, because I love you very much,” I told her. Just then, one of Abi’s nurses appeared. “What’s going on, young lady?” she asked Abi. “My. Dad. Made. Me. Walk. Here,” she sobbed, hyperventilating. “Breath, Abi,” the nurse told her “Was it so bad? It’s a beautiful day for a walk,” she said. “I wanted to drive, though”, Abi told her. She was calming down. She was still unimpressed with me, though, and shot me an angry look: “I hate my dad!” she said. “Abi! That’s nonsense!”, the nurse told her. “I tell you what” she continued. “Do you want to come up to the ward with me while your dad fetches himself something to eat?” She readily agreed. I did as I was told too, and had lunch in the canteen.

Abi was playing happily when I finally made the ward. “Hello, Daddy,” she said to me. “Hello, Abi,” I replied. It appeared I was out of the dog house. I pondered whether to mention her behaviour, but I thought I’d wait until she had been given chemotherapy. Afterwards, I sat opposite her while she put her shoes back on. “Abi, do you think that was acceptable behaviour?” I asked. “No. Sorry, Daddy,” she said, sheepishly. “Hmm. That’s okay, I suppose. As long as it doesn’t happen again. You realise we still have to walk back?” I asked. She nodded. I continued: “Am I going to have to put up with more behaviour like earlier?” “No, Daddy,” she replied. And with that, she skipped down the corridor and out of the ward. It was as if the whole tantrum had never happened.

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