Chickadee and I have been talking about working on a jigsaw puzzle together as sort of our special girl time project. For whatever reason she doesn’t consider all of the things we do together on any given day to count as special time, things like cooking or doing laundry or discussing why none of her jeans fit her anymore on account of she grew three inches this summer or me yelling at her to pick her junk up off the floor. Go figure. So we decided to get a puzzle and set it up in the dining room and try to work on it a little bit every day.
The challenge, of course, will be that she wants it to be something for JUST US and I can already see how this is going to become An Issue because everything must be completely fair, and after Monkey finishes wailing and gnashing his teeth he’ll probably insist that I set up ANOTHER puzzle which is just for me and HIM, and then Chickie will complain that now HER puzzle is no longer SPECIAL and I will have to sell both of them (the kids, not the puzzles, because I rather enjoy puzzles) on eBay.
But in the meantime, because I am a glutton for punishment, I have agreed to this plan.
We went out to lunch yesterday after church because the kids had been exceptionally good and we are lazy. Afterwards we returned home, changed our clothes, and tried to plot a gameplan for the day.
“You said we would buy a puzzle!” Chickadee helpfully reminded me. I nodded, and told her we could probably do that. Of course, she’d also just reminded me that she STILL didn’t have a chest guard for Tae Kwon Do, and that she NEEDED one (she has been borrowing one), so I was online shopping for sparring gear and crying on the inside. I mean, sure, I don’t want my kid ending up with cracked ribs, but when you look at the prices of some of that stuff you start wondering if maybe you couldn’t just tie a pillow to a pizza pan and suspend the whole shebang from her neck. Or maybe I’m the only one who thinks that, because I am cheap.
I finished ordering and went to check on the menfolk. Otto was watching cars going around in circles, and Monkey was reading a book. I casually asked Otto if he would mind if we girls went out to run a few errands, like to drop off a prescription and look for a puzzle and stuff. Otto waved us off, so Chickadee and I set off on an adventure.
By “and stuff” I meant “shop for a purse.”
I am still carrying my summer purse. Now, understand: I am not a Purse Person, really. I have a lighter (fawn/tan) purse for summer and a darker (burgundy) purse for the rest of the year, pretty much. But I went to switch bags a couple of weeks ago and after searching high and low I could not find my other purse. And even though it’s still in the 90s here (side note: Dear Georgia: WTF? Love, Mir) it’s starting to feel a little ridiculous to be carrying what is obviously a summer bag. And really, I haven’t bought a purse for a couple of years, so I felt entitled.
Let me tell you, shopping for a purse with a 9-year-old is highly entertaining. First of all, tween girls are LOUD in both their joy and their horror. There’s nothing quite like standing in TJ Maxx while your kid exclaims “IS THIS REAL FUR??” while beholding a couture bag as if it’s fresh roadkill. These are the moments when I love her the best, when she’s making me laugh and reminding me that this is hardly a serious endeavor, looking for the right receptacle for carrying all your crap.
TJ Maxx had only one bag I even considered, and ultimately I decided that it was more than I wanted to spend. We then went and dropped off my prescription on our way to SteinMart, which is a store that’s new to me but seems to be a similar concept (designer stuff cheap), and hooboy did we have fun there. Just for kicks I started coaching Chickadee on how to figure out if a bag is really leather or not, which led to an interesting discussion about what pleather and PVC are made of, and why, and whether or not a bag has to match your shoes (no) or go with your coat (maybe) and why do some of them have little feet? (You know, I never thought I wanted a girl, but you just can’t imagine the importance you feel, being the one to explain to your daughter why or why not a bag should have little metal feet. It brings a tear to my eye, just thinking about it.)
SteinMart, as it turns out, has a locked glass pillar cabinet in the middle of the purse area, and in that case are things like Coach bags. I found my dream purse in there. It was beautiful. The leather was so buttery I could practically feel it from the other side of the glass. And then I saw the price tag and swallowed my tongue.
Chickadee and I then talked about the relative merits of a really pretty purse vs. a month’s groceries. Who says you can’t learn important life lessons while shopping for accessories??
Needless to say, no purses were purchased. We also looked for a puzzle in every store we went into, and came up empty. (Since when does CVS not have a few jigsaw puzzles around? Hmph.) However, after a hard afternoon of purse shopping, with the estrogen cloud so thick that men were fleeing from the very sight of us, I remembered that I’d promised Chickadee that if she stopped biting her nails, I would let her pick out some nail polish. (I have been waving this bribe in front of her for YEARS and she only in the last couple of months has finally done it. There are no words to convey how enormously proud I am of her, to have stopped such an insidious habit during what has surely been a very stressful time in her life.) So there we were, back at CVS, discussing the relative merits of the pearlescent pink vs. the glittery pink. In the end she selected a shade called SHE’S SO GLITZY which I silently prayed would be more sheer than it appeared in the bottle (otherwise, um, SHE’S SO TRAMPY might be more apropos). She was elated with her selection and we were both giddy by this time, and so somehow we also ended up purchasing our first new Halloween decoration of the season: A skeleton in a cage who lights up, rattles his chains, and begs for you to let him out when his motion sensor is activated.
We are klassy, yo.
Anyway, it was getting late and so we made a run for groceries (hey, no puzzles at Kroger either, WHAT A SURPRISE) and headed home without a puzzle, but I promised to paint her nails that night in lieu of puzzle time, and further pledged to find a puzzle TODAY. And everything would’ve been JUST FINE but of course, life sometimes gets in the way. We had a nice dinner and talked Halloween costumes (oh, do we have some doozies planned… that’s for another day) and went for a walk as a family and had a GREAT TIME!
Right up until it was bedtime and we hadn’t painted Chickadee’s nails.
We would’ve had time, but the kids had screwed around when I sent them upstairs to get ready for bed, and then it was late. No time. And if you are a distraught 9-year-old who was really looking forward to SHE’S SO GLITZY you do NOT want to hear that if only you’d done as you were told you’d have pretty pink nails right now. I told her I’d do her nails this morning if she got up early enough, but that was no comfort at all. In fact, it made her cry harder, because she is so TIRED in the mornings, and getting up EARLY would be TRAGIC!
So she went to bed in tears and then I came downstairs and cried because WHY WHY WHY even when we have an awesome day together can ONE LITTLE THING be what she fixates on and decides that everything is horrible? Why? It just makes me so sad.
This morning she got up early and had her breakfast while I packed lunches and then I painted her nails (and it was a nice sheer glitter sheen, perfectly appropriate for 9 and not skanky at all, PHEW) and she sat at the table, splay-fingered and grinning, until it was time to gingerly collect her backpack and go. And after the kids went to school (side note: Dear Georgia, It’s Columbus Day! WTF? Love, Mir) I went directly to the ONE place I hadn’t looked last week and found my purse, so now I don’t need to buy another one.
This afternoon I’ll go out and buy a jigsaw puzzle and maybe, JUST MAYBE, all will be right with the world.