Things fall apart. Or just fall. Again.
Pulled into our driveway at 1 AM on Sunday (or rather, Monday morning), my dad arrived Monday evening. Yesterday, in an attempt to design a low-key yet interesting neighborhoody day and promote bonding between grandparent and grandchild, I took Mermaid Girl and my dad for a walk down to the deli and then to the library so MG could hand in her Summer Reading record sheet with requisite hoopla and picture-taking. We also took the Incredible Pink Scooter that Aunt Cady gave her in Molson, BC, which we then schlepped across the province, shoving it into the sleeping-bag storage closet every night.
But I digress. Because the point is, we took the scooter and also the brand-new Polllly Pucket Mermaids, because I suggested to MG that she might want something to play with in the restaurant. I even offered to carry them in my own pockets, though I think they also spent some time in the scooter basket, which in turn spent some time hoisted in turn over my dad's and my respective shoulders as MG refused to ride it for longer than a few yards at a time.
You may be able to guess where this is going (hint: see the Pride Parade post for foreshadowing). Several hundred hours and a couple dozen low-level power struggles later, we returned to the house, and then came the inevitable question: "Mommy? My new Pollly Puckets that I just bought with my own money? Mommy? MOMMY?!?!?! WAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!"
By that point Jessie had been dropped off for an afternoon visit because she and MG couldn't stand one more moment out of each other's sight, but poor Jessie had to sit around for half an hour or so while MG moaned and sobbed and I called the deli and the library and no, they hadn't seen two tiny little mermaid dolls, sorry. I briefly considered dragging everyone out again into the hot afternoon to retrace our steps, or else leaving the stoic Jessie and the wailing, keening MG with my dad--who was still recovering from the previous day's 14-hour standby nightmare--while I looked on my own, but neither one seemed like such a great idea.
Finally MG knucked under to my threats to take Jessie home if she didn't pull it together and act like some kind of hostess (empty threats, as it turned out, because I called Jessie's mom and no one was home) and put aside her grief to splash in the backyard wading pool. My dad read the paper, and I did laundry and struggled with the moral dilemma of what to do.
This morning we called the Matttel people, who said they don't carry individual parts for these particular items (both dolls were part of elaborate product sets) because the cost with shipping would be more than just buying a whole new damn set. We're still thinking about whether it's worth ordering the sets again.
My offer to MG at the moment is that if she wants to buy replacement dolls, I'll pay for half. She has enough money right now to do this deal but one of the sets, but not both. She's now mostly okay, but is subject to fits of Pollly-Pucket related melancholy.
Which leaves me with the following conclusions:
1) I'm either a wussy marshmallow parent who doesn't allow her child to become responsible for her own things, or a mean mommy who loses her kid's brand-new dolls that she bought with her own lemonade-selling money and then refuses to replace them. Or both.
2) In either case, dealing calmly and decisively with this kind of crisis is not, to put it mildly, my forte.
3) As of today, the Boredom-Forestalling Objects of Choice for outings with MG will be limited to paper and pencils so she can draw. Anything else she wants to bring, she's strictly on her own.
4) I should rename my blog "The art of Losing," since that's all we seem to do these days. (You should've heard RW and me on the trip. Every day, the same thing: "Where's the...[fill in name of small but important object here]?" "I don't know; where'd you put it?" "I thought you put it away!" "I thought you put it away!" etc. etc. until we were ready to throw each other off the numerous scenic mountains.)
5) While writing this post, I finally hit upon a much more effective method for promoting grandparent-grandchild bonding: disappear from the scene and hide in the bedroom with the computer! MG and my dad are happily reading The Dumb Bunnies, and I am happily not-dragging-everyone-around-town.
Okay. Now I'm going to promote even more bonding by catching up on everyone else's blogs. Trip news coming soon. It's good to be back. Really. It is.