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  • They had all played this sad little game a thousand times.

    He closed the bedroom door behind him. Wiggled the key to pretend he was locking. The boy and the girl cried out in disbelief and sorrow. "Daddy. Please. Let us out. We'll be good. Please."

    Why would they not listen? He had asked them kindly, softly to be quiet and lay down to sleep. He told them firmly, commanding, to lay down to sleep. He sung their favorite lullaby while ignoring their squirming and wriggling. He warned them that he would leave the room and lock them in if they would not be quiet.

    They ignored him completely. Taunted him, if anything. Jumping around in bed, laughing, teasing each other.

    He could not let them carry on. It was already too late in the evening. They would be such tired, grumpy monsters in the morning. He was so tired. He had no ideas left as to how he could get through to them. He got up and walked out. Defeated.

    The closing of the door, the rattling of the key. It broke the spell. The playing, the giggling, the wriggling stopped.

    He put on a stern face and opened the door again. "You must sleep now"

    Sulking, the children put their heads on their pillows and pulled the blankets tight.

    He tried to explain again. He kissed away a tear.

    They all surrendered.

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