Saturday, September 03, 2005

To be a child...

We met Svetlana (she chose her own name for my blog) and her husband Baryshnikov, one great dancer, and their daughter Anna at the lake yesterday. The family had to cancel vacation plans to the South Carolina due to the crazy gas shortage. The hotel clerk where they planned to stay advised them to stay home, because they might not be able to find gas after this weekend.
Svetlana, in her good humor, suggested we meet at the lake and tell her 4-year-old it was South Carolina. "She's not THAT clever yet. I think we can fool her." I suggested Anna would remember the lake from our previous trips there together, but Svetlana persuaded me otherwise. My sons asked as we got out of the van, "What is the name of the state we are supposed to be in now?" They were definitely in on the scheme. "Anna, was this a loonnnggg drive for you?"
After a swim at the beach and swinging on the playground, we headed to my house for a feast: pot roast, potatoes, gravy, homemade bread, corn on the cob. Svetlana brought liver pate' and a blue cheese crumble salad. Yum! Of course, the food is always good in South Carolina.
Towards the end of dinner, Svet and Bary surveyed Anna's plate which had quite a bit of food upon it. "Eat one bite of potato, salad, and bread, and you may be finished." Having four children and not being an especially good parent, I do not survey my children's plates at all. However, I decided to put on a good show and say to my four year old girl "Pooh Bear, you take one bite of salad and bread too." Pooh Bear thinks this is funny and decides to go along with my sherade by chomping down the remains of some of her dinner.
Svetlana mentions how she'd like to be a child again, "Please beg and plead with me to eat. Read books to me all day long, and let me nap!" She changes her voice a little and calls, "I'd like to turn a few cartwheels in the living room before I have to eat." Yes, I'd like to be a child again too. And I'd like Svet to live next door, because she has always made me laugh so hard my insides hurt. I've know her since seventh grade. She was my IPS lab partner.
After dinner, my boys, with about a thousand prompts, cleared the table. Baryshnikov and I washed up the dishes while Svetlana gave our girls a bath. Pooh Bear emerged scrubbed completely pink by my contientious friend. Me, I put soap on the top of Pooh's head, hand her a soap filled scrunchy, and hope for the best when it's bathtime. Last night, Pooh Bear appeared to sparkle after this particular bath. Isn't the best smell in the entire world a damp, gorgeous little girl with lingering baby soap on her skin and folded up in one's arms in a fresh towel? Pooh picked out some jammies from her stuffed drawer for Anna, whose jammies she brought were unsuitable. A wet towel from swimming had soaked them. I simply don't understand how girls are so flexible. When my boys were around four year old, I had to hog tie their legs and hands, wrestle them out of their favorite stained shark shirt and the only pants they would wear with a lego embroidered on the leg, and plunged them into the tub before they noticed I'd run the bath water. The girls change clothes by the hour and ask for baths.
The evening grew late with laughter, and I hated to see Svet, Anna, and Bary leave. It was 10 p.m., and they had an almost hour drive home ahead of them. Anna was none the wiser that she is really still in Tennessee. She surely conked out in the car before the family car made it out of my long driveway. She probably dreamed about her terrific day in make believe South Carolina.

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