Last night Claire was in one of those moods. She sulked and pouted. She talked back and was rude. She even hauled off and slugged her sister. This sort of behavior is very rare for Claire, and I'm not used to it at all.
By bedtime she had worn every one of my nerves thin. She whined and argued and fought the entire time I prepared her for bed. Finally, in exasperation, I yelled at Claire.
Claire was shocked. For a moment she just stared at me. Then she completely fell apart. She started sobbing uncontrollably. I left her alone, her face buried in her pillow. Anna was still up, and I figured I'd better get her tucked in while both Claire and I cooled off.
As I pulled Anna's blanket up to tuck her in, Anna said to me, "You know, Dad, you probably shouldn't have yelled at Claire. She's like a vase of flowers. They're fragile. You have to be careful with them."
I smiled at Anna and gave her a goodnight kiss.