Have I screwed up my daughters forever?

Have I screwed up my daughters forever?

Have I screwed up my daughters forever?

Notes on fatherhood.
Feb. 15 2007 2:54 PM


Have I screwed up my daughters forever?

This article is part of an ongoing series by Michael Lewis about the birth of his third child. Click here to read the other entries in the series. Michael Lewis first began his "Dad Again" column after the birth of his second daughter, Dixie, in 2002. Click hereto read about that delivery.

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Post-It note. Click image to expand.
The Post-it note

The next morning I wake up and go to the bathroom to shower and shave. Stuck on the bathroom mirror is a dark blue Post-it. The handwriting is unmistakably Quinn's:

Meany Meany
You Are A


After that, all is silence. For the next week no one said a thing about the incident. I removed the Post-it, the girls behaved better, they even got desserts. But of course no day passed without my wondering, however briefly, a) just what damage I might have done, and b) how the incident might play in, say, a memoir. On top of the risk that you might actually screw up your child is the risk that, even if you don't, she'll think you did and blame you for it. Finally one morning, as I drive Quinn to school, I look in the rearview mirror and ask: "You know that cake I ate when you couldn't have dessert?"

"What cake?"

"You know that note you wrote and stuck on my mirror last week?"

"What note?" she asks. I remind her, but she has no idea what I'm talking about. Not the first clue. She doesn't even remember her sister's tears. "The problem with me," she says, seriously, "is that I only remember the stuff that is a long, long time ago. I'll probably remember it in 3000."