Today I made a decision. Not a deep, meaningful decision in a “this will change everyone’s life” sort of way, but a decision that did make me think a little longer than usual after this type of outing. I have a very curious two-year old. When she is told “no” she will sit and bury her face in the floor. It doesn’t matter where we are, if our answer resembles a hint of “no” or even “Well…” she will sense our hesitation in saying an automatic and exuberant “YES” and will gently stop, turn into Jell-O and melt her way into the ground. This has happened at the mall (on tile and carpet), at the bus station, on walks, in the garage and in the parking lot of our apartment building. She tried it once on the grass, but she said it was “ouchy.” Smelly and slimy is healthy for the complexion, I suppose?
Lately Tink (we call her Tink) has been wanting to sit backwards in her car seat. She’s forward-facing now because she was having such a hard time sitting backwards. I understand, why would we always want to keep looking back, instead of forward? We’ve already been down that road, show us the future! So we’ve been struggling with getting Tink strapped into the car seat without much hassle. There have been tears and tantrums, especially if a cookie is not immediately available. Of course, by the time a cookie arrives the tantrum is in full swing so the floor gets the cookie, squashed from tail to trunk. Of course now that she is forward-seating, she wants to play with the stroller in the back-back of the SUV. Can we ever win?
This morning, after milk and pretzels and a few too many episodes of The Wiggles (all of the songs I can sing now, by the way), it was time to go. I gathered my purse, backpack and Tink’s diaper bag and headed to the door.
“Let’s go, Boo!”
“Do you want to walk to the car or do you want Mommy to carry you?”
“Okay, hold my hand, please.”
She held my hand and on the way to the garage I remembered, her daycare provider needed diapers. Yikes. Decision time. I knew Tink would have a difficult time getting settled in the carseat, she wanted to do what she wanted to do and there would be a battle of wits. I would win, not due to wits, but due to strength and size. Today she had multiple pacifiers so getting settled in the car was not a huge battle, and once she was strapped in she said, “Kaay!”
As we drove down the street I thought about my options. I could stop at the grocery to pick up diapers, bring Tink along with me and ask for a battle just to get back into the car, or I could take Tink to daycare first, turn around, go back to buy diapers, turn back around, drop them off at daycare, and then head to work. I decided to brave the grocery store. I said “Yes” to the situation. “Yes, I will take Tink into the store with me, and yes, we will get diapers and yes, I will try to smile and realize that she is two and she will touch things that don’t belong to her, and as long as nothing breaks, an orange can be handled by a toddler, and she will put it back because she likes to put things away. Yes. We are going to the grocery store.”
I pulled in to the parking lot and said, “Okay, we have to get diapers for Holly’s house, ready?” “Essss.”
“Okay, let’s go!”
“Kaaay!” I carried her through the busy convenience store, past the Powerades, “Dada! Dada!”
“Yes, those are daddy’s drinks. Let’s leave them alone. We need diapers.”
We picked up the 84-count diaper package and a diet coke. “Mama! Mama’s!”
“Yes, that’s mommy’s drink.”
“Okay, you can get down but you need to hold my hand, please.”
“Mmmnoooooo.” And she giggled. “Hahaha!”
“You silly goose. Stay close, please, Mommy needs to pay for these.” She was less than five feet from me, and since it was before 7:30 in the morning, I was not worried about foot-traffic in this particular store. Some moms oo’d and aah’d. Others said, “I don’t miss those days!” Which at first didn’t bother me. I played along, “Oh, well, she’s two and she has a sixteen year old brother at home, too. I have a teenager and a toddler!”
“Oh well, I’m glad I don’t have that anymore, my kids are grown!” one woman said, face caked with makeup and lipstick just a tad too dark for my taste.
I looked at Tink and saw her happy toothy grin and light blond curls and thought, this is my baby girl. She’s two already. She’s toddling along and starting to sing along with The Wiggles every morning. She doesn’t just ask for Twinkle Twinkle anymore, she is starting to sing the words.
I paid for the diapers and soda and went to hold Tink’s hand. “Okay, we’re done, let’s go, Boo.”
“Kaay.” She mumbled through her pacifier.
I maneuvered out the door and muttered a quick “oh thank you” to the woman holding the door, who had just mentioned she had her tubes tied a year ago and boy will I be ready for a break when she goes to school in a few years.
Tink held my hand as we got to the car and then she started. She didn’t want to be confined to the straight-jacket in the back seat, she wanted to explore that parking lot, darnit!
I said yes. I decided to play with my daughter. Five minutes of fun, silly tickles and turning upside down before heading to daycare wouldn’t be a big deal. Five minutes of silly tickles and kisses and “Uh Moh” upside down time.
I don’t think it even lasted five full minutes. I didn’t set a timer, I just tickled my kiddo and told her how silly she was. She wanted to go upside down again? Goodness, what a silly girl! Silly girl kisses! Ppppffbbbt on the neck! Silly goofy! Silly goose! Kisses! Silly! Laughing baby goose!
I hope someone saw me. I hope someone saw me playing with my daughter, not worrying about whether or not I got to work on time, but saw me enjoying a few moments really PLAYING with her. Instead of battling the seatbelt-straight-jacket-scream-from-death, Tink wriggled a little but said, “Suck-oo?”
“Yes, you want your sucker?”
“Ready to go see Holly?”
“Let’s put your seatbelt on.”
“Yes, sweetie. Saht-Butt.”