We have pajama parties on Friday nights when Daddy is away. We usually put on jammies and snuggle up and watch movies. Tonight we decorated Gingerbread Cookies instead. We listened to Christmas music and we destroyed the kitchen and the dining room table with powdered sugar, flour, and frosting.
Then bedtime rolled around and we’d had TOO much fun and so winding down was hard. I was nursing the baby and listening to the shrieks and shouts above me and resolving NOT to yell upstairs and well… You can guess how well that went.
So our Gingerbread making Euphoria came to an abrupt end and C started doing that thing she has done since she was teeny, teeny tiny and pushing to the limits and then past the limits and then painting herself into a corner of ugliness and consequences…
That’s where she found herself when I finally kissed them goodnight. I sang the normal lulla-bye to A. C refused hers. C refused her bed. C curled up on a particularly soft portion of her bedroom floor with her pillow pet because she thought it would really show me if she didn’t actually get into her bed. She refused hugs and kisses and so I told her I loved her and came downstairs to settle into watching The Wonder Years on Netflix (did you know that they have The Wonder Years on Netflix Instant Play??? I am SO. EXCITED!!!).
Well, I got about 21 minutes into the pilot and Karen had just announced that Winnie Cooper’s brother Brian had been killed in the war when Abigail crept downstairs weeping.
“What’s wrong, Abigail???”
*sniff* “Carolyn is running away!!!”
I called C downstairs and tried my normal running away bag of tricks and said sadly but non-nonchalantly, “It’s too bad that you’re running away. Especially since Papa and Nonna will be in town in just a couple of days… And especially since we have all these presents under the tree for you… I guess I’ll have to find someone else to give those to. Plus I will just miss you so much. BUT if you’re going to go, be sure to dress warmly, and take your piggy bank.”
She still held onto her steely resolve.
Abigail continued sniffing quietly, not being so wise to the ways of Carolyn’s ‘running away plotting.’ It’s been a while since she’s tried this particular tactic, and Abs is a little tender about the idea of family members packing bags and going anywhere at this point. I sent them back upstairs to bed and told C to stop the running away nonsense if nothing else for A’s sake.
In the meantime I hit the computer to check my email for a message from hubby and to look at Facebook. I happened to see that a friend of mine had posted the Muppet version of the Carol of the Bells. About this time, Abigail crept down again to tell me that Carolyn had still not budged. She was packing her bags as we spoke and soon she would no longer reside in our household… I told her to call her sister downstairs.
She came around the corner with her sweatshirt pulled on over the Daddy shirt she was wearing as a night-gown, with the cardboard box that a Teddy Bear came in a week before packed full of odds and ends for her journey. I pulled her up onto my lap. I could have taken the reasoning tactic, or the ‘we love you so much that I don’t ever want to hear you talking about running away again’ tack. Or I could have leveled more consequences and spoken with her sternly. Instead I didn’t say anything…. she sat on one knee and Abigail crawled up on the other and we watched The Swedish Chef, Beaker, and Animal sing us “Carol of the Bells.” I laughed and laughed. Abigail giggled and Carolyn tried hard not to crack a smile. Then I turned on a few Swedish Chef videos and not even she could suppress a giggle or two. It was all over for all three of us when the Swedish Chef used a Bazooka on the pumpkins who were hoping to avoid being carved and ended up with two perfect talking pumpkin pies with whipped cream eyes on their tops. We sat there guffawing together at the nonsensical food violence of The Swedish Chef.
Maybe it’s not what the parenting books would describe as the best way to handle discipline with a spirited child… and maybe it was past their bed times…
But for a few minutes I had perfection with those two little birds who though they are my ‘big girls’ will always be my babies. Both girls snuggled in and giggled hysterically, while taking turns picking the next video to watch. I forgot about the mess in the kitchen and my to-do list before bed, and I was distracted from that place in my chest that constantly aches with the missing of husband.
As for Carolyn? She decided not to run away after all.
She wants to watch more Swedish Chef videos on the computer when she wakes up tomorrow morning.