BAILIFF: Ladies and Gentlemen of the courtroom, would you please rise for the honorable imaginary judge.
JUDGE: Everyone sit the hell down so we can get this over with. We all have better stuff to do online today; surfing porn, checking Groupon, finally giving in to LinkedIn invitations.
PLAINTIFF (me): Yes, of course your honor. Today I intend to prove, with photographic evidence, without a reasonable doubt, that our toddler is occasionally a violent lunatic who sometimes needs to chill out and take 5 without inflicting injury upon herself or anyone else.
JUDGE: Go on.
PLAINTIFF (me): Members of the jury…
JUDGE: There is no jury, get on with it numb-nuts.
PLAINTIFF (me): Ahem, sure, my apologies. It all started around 15 months. It was a regular Tuesday morning and I was getting Ava dressed for a walk. I paired a purple romper with a matching headband-flower and thought the outfit would really pop with some silver Mary Jane’s. Well, your honor, she didn’t want the MJ’s. I considered a compromise and asked her what ‘sues’ she wanted to wear. She responded by pointing at a pair of brown snow boots with fur trim and pom-poms hanging from the back, which were completely out of season.
JUDGE: This is getting a little gay, please continue.
PLAINTIFF (me): Your honor, as much as I wanted her to express herself and pick out her own accessories, I knew we would be a spectacle on the playground. So I sat her in my lap and went back to my original shoe choice. At this point, she began to thrash her body wildly back and forth, writhing around like i was wrestling an alligator in the Everglades. In the struggle, she blasted her occipital protuberance into my left orbital cavity.
JUDGE: This is not a real court case. Stop using medical jargon and give me the layman’s terms.
PLAINTIFF (me): She slammed the back of her fucking skull into my damn eye socket.
And with that, I present Exhibit A:
PLAINTIFF (me): Your honor (in a whiny voice), this wasn’t the only time that she’s done this. Several weeks after this, as I accidentally deleted an episode of ‘Olivia”, once again, she flew into a psychopathic rage. I knelt down to comfort her, like a decent and loving father, to explain that it was an accident, but she didn’t want to hear it. This time, she took aim on my other eye socket.
I present Exhibit B to the courtroom:
DEFENDANT (Ava): Your honor, wait, he’s only telling one side of the story! He’s lying!
JUDGE: ORDER, ORDER IN THE COURT! (bangs gavel wildly). IF I HEAR SO MUCH AS A MOUSE FART IN HERE, YOU WILL BOTH BE HELD IN CONTEMPT!
PLAINTIFF (me): Thank you your honor. As I was saying, her behavior has become erratic and sometimes even self-destructive. Shortly after my second black eye, she stopped the thrashing. Instead, now she started smashing her forehead into anything hard, whether it be the walls, concrete floors or even corners of furniture.
Finally, I present Exhibit C:
PLAINTIFF (me): Clearly you can see the jaundice bruise on her forehead. At one point your honor, I was afraid that strangers might call child protective services on me. I can’t even quantify the punitive damages incurred by me. Every week at the market, a father with black eyes and daughter with giant bruises on her head. We looked like I had driven the car over a cliff and survived. Banged up and beaten, tired of being judged by everyone.
JUDGE: Ava, do you have anything to say on your behalf before I deliver my verdict?
DEFENDANT (Ava): First off your honor, my Dad is a punk. He tries to make me watch ‘Baseball Tonight’ all the time instead of Nick Jr. He also doesn’t give me cookies when I want them. He drags me off the playground when I’m not even done playing yet and occasionally attempts to feed me mac n’ cheese two days in a row for lunch! I rest my case.
JUDGE: After hearing your testimony, I have made my decision. Dad, I sentence you to buy a soft helmet like Natalie Portman wore in ‘Garden State’, as well as some of those Kareem Abdul-Jabbar goggles. You are also ordered to provide Ava with the necessary snacks and TV programming to keep her at bay and avoid these outbursts.
Ava, as for you young lady, I see nothing wrong with your behavior, which is normal for a toddler. Your Dad needs to grow a set and be smart in picking his battles with you.