I have two stories to tell about today. First, there is Story A: the one where my sweet little kid and I spent the day together, traipsing around the city — meeting friends at playgrounds, delighting in artisan popsicles (really!), and gathering fresh herbs from the local farmer’s market. But also, there is Story B: the one where my demanding, off-mood preschooler and I spent hours together, battling high frustration and low patience, continuously re-starting, having “time-ins,” and trying to get it right.
Story A: We finally got it together to make plans with our city pals — a favorite toddler and his new baby sister. We couldn’t have ordered up better weather. Dry, sunny, breezy. The playground was hoppin’ and there was lots of green space to run, dig with sticks, and basically love life. When The Who announced that he was hungry, it was easy to rally the troops and casually walk the few blocks to a charming neighborhood cafe.
Story B: A whole day’s worth of preschooler drama happened before 7:30am and it all stemmed from the wrong butter. Really. Unsalted stick butter for the toast when the expectation was the usual spreadable salted kind. After that insult, nothing was up to par. The crackers were broken. The milk wasn’t warm enough. I didn’t fast-forward through the show’s opening song with enough accuracy. I was frustrated and tired and The Who wanted me to play with him, which was low on my list of desires. Getting out the door was challenging and when we finally made it into the car with the aforementioned cup of milk to go, he told me: “Now it’s too hot!” Of course. Of course it is.
Story A: After lunch, where The Who and his pal played amicably together and the baby even smiled for a few quick snapshots, we parted ways, the boys giving each other charming, delightful hugs goodbye. The Who and I walked hand-in-hand back to the playground, spent a few minutes singing and playing, and then meandered back to the car. Before going back home, I decided to run us by the local gourmet popsicle shop that I knew had opened not long ago in the neighborhood. The Who chose “Chocolate with Salted Caramel Brownie” for his and I slurped on a Watermelon Mint one.We hung around the shop for a bit after as The Who and I cheerfully played “popsicle shop” with the charming little wooden pop stand they had set up in the corner.
Story B: At some point during lunch, the window/counter seats we were at started to become uncomfortable and sweaty as the afternoon sun beat down on us. At just about the same time, a comfy cool table for four opened and so my friend and I made the executive decision to move operations over there. Well. The Who was not amused by my show of authority and he let me know by loudly protesting and insisting that he and his plate AND a grown-up needed to stay with him. In hindsight, I should not have made this decision without either asking for his input and/or letting him know what my plan was before I up and moved us. The upshot: a scream and a cry inside the cafe that I had to take outside to address. He did calm down and join us at the table and I apologized for disregarding his preference so rudely.
Story A: After popsicles (and a quick visit to the taqueria next door for a take-out burrito and a potty visit) we headed to our farmer’s market, where we picked up homemade pickles, local heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil, and placed an order for an organic, free-range, small-farm turkey for Thanksgiving. We popped over to Trader Joe’s to pick up a few essentials to round out our groceries (namely fresh mozzarella to go with those stunning tomatoes and basil) and got home in enough time to relax a little with some lemonade and Little Einsteins before I cooked up a delicious dinner that we all ate together while we chatted about our days.
Story B: As predicted, The Who beelined for the cupcake stall at the farmer’s market and, as predicted, he was allowed to choose one and eat it on the spot. He chose a heavy, dense blueberry cupcake with lemonade frosting. The cupcake lady apologized for not having any napkins today and I, obviously stupidly, moved to break a piece off of the cupcake so The Who could eat it more easily (and tidily.) He. Lost. His. Everloving. Shit. Right there in the middle of the farmer’s market in front of the sausage guy, to whom we had promised to return before we left. It was all “you broke my cupcake!” and “I need a new one!” I tried to smoosh it back together while apologizing and assuring him that he could have it all and I was just (obviously misguidedly) trying to help him, but he would have none of it. He wanted it to be whole and he wanted it to be new and he wanted to SCA-ream about it. Loudly. So, I did what I had already done once in this day: I took him by the hand and walked him out of the situation. We holed up in the car, which was parked across the street and he tried to calm himself while I held him on my lap, simultaneously expressing remorse for fucking with his cupcake and also letting him know that a screaming fit and demand for a new cupcake was not appropriate and wouldn’t be tolerated. Somehow, with some back-stroking and feeling-talking (“I felt so sad when you did that to my cupcake) he was able to calm down and take a few bites of the now-mushed and mangled cupcake. Turns out he didn’t like it anyway. (“It tastes like sugar and sour all mixed up together.”) Just before we got out of the car to go back to the farmer’s market, I said, “Now, let’s try to have no more screaming and be kind to one another,” and he said, “I was just going to say the same thing to you!”
The rest of the evening was neither here nor there. We were both pretty beat, I think, from all the sun and the walking and the emoting.
Thank God tomorrow’s a school day. I think I feel a migraine coming on.