2C RG and No Canoe
June 11, 2007
We arrived at the little house in the middle sized city. Random Granddaughter (RG) seemed happy to see her grandparents.
The weather was windy, and threatened rain. After some discussion, we decided to go to the lake, but not to go out in a canoe. A canoe in windy rain is no longer our idea of fun.
RG said, “I want to go to the playground.” Mommies explained we were going to the lake. RG got a certain set expression on her face. “I want to go to the playground,” she repeated.
This created an interesting philosophical dilemma. This was supposed to be an outing for RG, where she would have a good time.
Adults were saying to her, This is where we will go and this is what you will do for a good time. The last time we went there, you had a good time. You said you wanted to do it again with your grandparents. Now, we will force you to have a good time the way we adults think you should have a good time.
This is a frequent scenario between small children and adults.
Eventually, a compromise was reached. We would go to the playground for 10 minutes. Then we would go to the lake.
At the playground, RG went on the swing. She went on the swing for about three minutes. (I knew because I had my tiny timer going. RG rather likes the timer, even though it does interject a bit of a reality principle into her usually flexible definition of “ten minutes.”)
Then she decided to go on the slide, She went on the slide for two minutes.
Then she decided to go on the merry-go-round. We pushed her. She criticized the speed. “Don’t go superfast,” she said.
Even though we adjusted the speed to suit her preferences, she got off the merry-go-round.
She decided to push the merry-go-round. It didn’t have a passenger on it. She put her sunglasses on the merry-go-round. I put my sunglasses next to her sunglasses. Mommy put a dolly on the merry-go-round next to the glasses.
“No!” said RG. “The doll does not go on the merry-go-round.” Mommy took the dolly off. RG began to push the merry-go-round. “I am pushing it superfast,” she said.
The timer went off. She had used up her last five minutes.
“One more thing,” said RG. That is what she usually says when the timer goes off to tell her ten minutes is up.
“OK, one more thing and that’s it,” said Mommy (Random Daughter’s out of law partner and birth mother, aka “OP”). Like a standard chess opening, an exchange like this is a fairly standard sequence with RG.
RG went over to the teeter-totter. A two-year-old girl with a big square jaw and a determined face was on one end of the teeter-totter having a good time. RG went over to get on the other end of the teeter-totter. The little girl got a look of horror on her face. “No,” she screamed. She did not want to share her teeter-totter. Even though a teeter-totter is a playground device meant for two children, when you are two years old, you don’t want to share anything.
The little girl’s mother explained to her daughter how she should be a good girl and share. The little girl responded by screaming with all her might. She was an excellent screamer.
RG watched with relaxed interest. After all, she is a connoisseur of meltdowns, having created quite a few spectacular meltdowns herself.
The mother removed her little girl and tried to reason with her daughter as she screamed in impotent outrage.
RG got on the teeter-totter and bounced up and down vigorously with an expression of complacent satisfaction on her face. After all, she is three years old and goes to preschool and she knows how to share.
She had played for fifteen minutes at the playground. As we left, I saw the little girl back on the teeter totter, with a smile on her face, having a good time again.
It seemed like a win-win situation.
At the lake, RG asked for a snack. She is a grazer rather than a meal eater, and she has learned if she lets her blood sugar get too low, she becomes cranky. She carried a bag of rice crackers with her.
First we went into the arboretum bookstore. Mommy asked, “Do you need to go potty? Before we go for our walk?”
“No” said RG. To emphasize her point, she went over to the drinking fountain and got herself a drink of water.
I noticed a book titled Best Walks for Dogs in Washington State. I didn’t notice any book called, Best Walks for Cats in Washington State.
RG (reluctantly, but peacefully) surrendered two packages of “tattoos” (little stickers that children can apply to themselves as parent-friendly tattoos) that she had helped herself to.
We set out along the path by the lake.
(To be continued.)