I went over to have a romantic dinner with Mirabelle this evening. Meter decided she didn't want anything to do with me when I arrived, greating me with grunting noises that sounded suspiciously like I'm-really-trying-to-poop-so-don't-bother-me noises. Suspiciously. She decided bedtime was preferable to spending another I'm-going-to-poop minute with me, so off to bed she went.
Mark and Megan were planning on heading out tonight for some (possibly much-needed?) nudge-nudge, wink-wink, know-what-I-mean? Well, that, or a romantic dinner of their own.
Mirabelle and I spent the first twenty minutes I was there counting our money (well, her money) and going over our plan. We decided the best course of action for the evening was shoot videos, eat dinner, play for a bit, have pudding, shower, read a book or two, pray, and go to bed. Well, she would go to bed, I'd just write about the adventure, or something like that, waiting for the nudge-nudge to end.
When I was with my mom last in Orange County, she gave me the advice to always show a child the picture you took of her. I think the suggestion was to help the child understand what the camera is, but also to get a sense of self and be included in the picture process. So, with Mirabelle, I try to show her the pictures of her that I take. Which includes the videos. And which often end up in a loop of 2 seconds of something cute followed by 20 seconds of "Let me see! Let me see! I need to see! Push the button?" But, Mirabelle likes the videos, so we shot a bunch.
Right about when we were going to start dinner, Mark and Megan were on the way out the door and down the steps. Mirabelle realized what was going on and instantly panicked. Wait, wait, wait for me, I'll go, too! Mark tried to explain to her that it was just like preschool, and they would be back. Mirabelle clung to Megan harder, so Megan did what every mother from here to the other side of the world and back again does in these situations.
She bribed her child.
If Mirabelle didn't cry, we could have PUDDING! Glorious PUDDING! Heck, even I stopped crying at that point. I wanted the PUDDING.
I also picked up Mirabelle, so that we could go over our plan again, with the added event of PUDDING! I figured, if she was talking to me and sufficiently distracted, she wouldn't notice Megan and Mark leaving, and we could advert any meltdown disasters. I am one with the two-year-old child distraction techniques, and before long, we were once again enjoying our romantic dinner for two.
After a few pasta bites and a chicken bite, Mirabelle declared she was done, could she go play now? I said no, and explained she had to clear her plate before hopping off her chair to play. Which, to my surprise, she did. Just as she finished, Katie and Alex came down the stairs to say hello. Mirabelle and Alex took off back up the stairs, after Katie said it was okay, given Katie and me time to chat. I heard some details about Katie's riding lessons and her new horse, which sounded like loads of fun, before the two of us heard the two other non-sleeping people in the house screaming over something, I don't recall what, but it was VERY IMPORTANT to said two year olds.
So, Katie and I wandered back upstairs to see what was up. Much to my surprise, it was already 7:45, and time for PUDDING! Actually, I shouldn't have been so surprised, given that Megan and Mark had left barely a half hour before, but I felt obligated to both put Mirabelle into bed by 8 for Megan, and complete our plans for Mirabelle. We're on a mission kid! Time to eat your PUDDING!
Back downstairs we went and into the fridge we ventured. Where's the PUDDING? I asked Mirabelle. This? she answered, pointing to the container of salad I had just put into the fridge. No, that's not it. Any idea where it is? I asked. This? she answered again, this time pointing to the bottle of lemonade. Uh...
Eventually I figured out which container we wanted and pulled out the PUDDING! Mmmmmm..... tasty tasty PUDDING! We sat out on the porch, watching the sun go down as we ate tasty chocolate PUDDING! Mirabelle taking huge bites with her small spoon, I taking small bites with my huge fork. A nice moment.
Eventually, though, even I could not eat another bite of PUDDING! so I closed up the container, making the mistake of stating, "All gone." "I want to see," Mirabelle answered quickly. "I want to see inside. Inside. I want to see. I want to see." Aw crap.
Uh, tomorrow kid. You can look tomorrow. It's time for a bath, remember our plan? "I want to see." Great.
Eventually, through gentle insistence, which was more plunking Mirabelle down and removing her top and bottoms so that she could use the toilet before showering, I managed to distract her, yet again, away from the PUDDING container that really isn't empty, not even close, and onto the shower.
For the record, Keith and Katie's showers are AWESOME. Yes, as awesome as the PUDDING, didn't you see the capital letters? Unfortunately, I hadn't realized that bathing a two year old in the shower works best when you bathe them like 25 pound beagles, which is to say hop in the shower with them, tower over them, and scrub like you mean it. Mirabelle managed to avoid such a terror, but only by small margin. She showed me where all the toys were, found the hidden bar of soap, stopped the shower from draining so that she had a small bath, and stood under the delightful shower head as water rained down all over her.
I think that Mirabelle likes showers as much as I do, or at least playing in the water as much as the Smith brothers do, which made actually rinsing and draining the shower difficult. Once I pulled the drain cover off, she plunked her little butt down on the drain and continued to splash in the water, adjusting herself on occasion when she realized the water was still draining. Another six months and she'll be able to cover it completely.
After bathing, Mirabelle dressed herself, then waited patiently while I brushed her hair. We had our photoshoot before reading two books, one about dreaming of dinosaurs, the other about being a big sister who can just rock the world, and saying a night prayer. For the record, I suck at night prayers. I had even asked Mark and Megan for advice on what to say. Didn't help. Something about Jesus and watching over us and uh something else and okay say good night and amen already, kid, or something like that.
She said her amen and ran to her bedroom door, flinging it open and launching herself onto her bed, giggling the whole time. I was sure that Meter was going to wake up, with all of the noise, but she didn't. Not that it really helped. Mirabelle was tossing and turning for the next hour and a half, finally settling around 9:45. Meter started crying at 10.
I'm sure there's a trick to these small persons. I'm convinced of it. I just need to find that secret off-switch.