We will also be living in increasing squalour and subsisting on cold pasta and wild strawberries foraged from the unmown back yard, because I don't see myself getting any housework or shopping done while they're both home. And remember, this year Mabel won't be napping. So by the time we go to the pool in the afternoons, she'll be overtired and the stress of getting her to leave at the end will be hardly worth the strain of getting them both there in the first place. (I would love to go to the pool in the morning, but it doesn't open to the public till 11, and going at lunchtime is asking for sunstroke/meltdowns/disaster.)
Don't worry, I'm sure I'm exaggerating. Dash has a week of camp, we're going to the beach for a week, we will have playdates and see friends and enjoy our freedom from the tyranny of school timetables and homework. I might even get the groceries delivered, or something.
I only mention it because this morning Mabel and I had a nice time, just the two of us. We tried to do this last week when I took her to Target on Friday morning and it all unravelled into a disaster because it turned out she was tired and hungry and in no mood to be helpful or even just neutral about the trip. I had to grab the essentials (milk and Gatorade) and retreat while I still had a shred of dignity. Then I came home and complained to Facebook, who told me in no uncertain terms that my mistake was trying to put "reasonable" and "three-year-old" in the same sentence.
But today, it worked out well.
First of all, I snatched victory from the jaws of disorientation, when I took the wrong exit and still navigated sure-footedly to the right place. (Mabel: Why do you always say that? Me: Say what? That I took the wrong exit? Surely I don't.) That seemed like a good omen.
Then we picked a toy for her right off the bat, and one for her absent brother too. I know, I know, bribery is of the devil, but I'm grateful to Target for providing the banks of one-dollar crap at the front doors, because they understand my life. Much as I hate to bring home extraneous junk, and spend money on things we didn't need, and make the kids think they're entitled to something new every damn time, and be a bad parent - today the payoff was worth it. Mabel found a lavender-coloured squishy rubber porcupine that entertained her for the next half hour, and I got Dash a couple of torpedos to throw around in the pool, because I learned my lesson last week at school pickup, my lesson being:
1) Just because he wasn't there doesn't make it fair that Mabel got a new thing and he didn't.
2) Mabel can in no way be relied on not to tell him that she got a new thing.
In fact, no. 2 went more like this:
Me, on the way to school: Mabel, don't tell Dash you got a new thing. Or at least, don't gloat.
Mabel: Okay, I won't gloat. I'll taunt him.
[Five minutes later, Dash runs out the door from school]
Mabel: Look, I got a new toy and you didn't.
Dash, to me, his theory that he is the unloved child finally proven: Waaahhh. Why didn't I get something?
Me, to the amassed other parents: Parenting fail.
And then we had a lovely time (back to today, I mean) wherein I got to wander around, try things on, even swimwear (Mabel, at the top of her voice, in the changing rooms: "Are those new underpants, Mommy?"), find the right moisturizer instead of just bunging the nearest thing in the cart and running, and check out at our leisure. Then we had a snack at Starbucks and I congratulated myself on my lovely, cooperative daughter. See, Facebook? Perfectly reasonable. Sometimes.