Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ending on a High Note

It worked for George Costanza.

But ending on a high note with Norah is the worst thing you can do. In fact, leaving any event or place that's more fun than going home to get ready for bed-- which is pretty much everything and everywhere-- is always a very dramatic scene. Sobbing, wailing, "I don't WANT to go home," and thrashing. 

Here are some examples.

Where: On a picnic table outside of Mr. Twisty (Ice cream place that puts candy eyeballs on their kids' cones. Creepy or awesome? You decide.)
Who: Ryan, Norah, me. And a number of strangers eating ice cream.
Time: 7:45 pm

Norah: I love ice cream! I love Mr. Twisty! 
She stands up on the picnic table to wave back to "Mr. Twisty." 
Me: Are you all done, Honey?
Norah: Yes! Look at that dog! That is silly! (She points to a dog eating ice cream a few tables away.)
Me: That is silly! Let's clean up.
Cleanup ensues. Norah is giggling at the dog and wagging her imaginary tail. 
Ryan: Let's make our way to the car, everybody.
The happy child goes from complete contentment--if not glee-- to raging meltdown in less than two seconds. She loses her will to stand on her own and slumps to the dirty ground, sobbing. People freeze and stare, mid-lick. We scrape her heaving body off of the pavement and walk briskly to the car, not looking back at the horrified people as we try to strap her flailing body in her car seat.

Where: The park.
Who: Ryan, Norah, Sara, "Minta," Norah's BFF, and me. And other park children and parents.
Time: 8:00 pm

Minta: LOOK! Monkeys!
Sara: Monkeys? Where? What color are they?
Minta: Black! And red!
Me: That's disturbing.
Minta: Here they come!
Norah and Minta run away, screaming and laughing. Other children join in on this evil monkey game. Some are evil black and red monkeys, some are being chased by said evil monkeys. Eventually, the monkeys and monkey victims thin out.
Me: Okay, I think the last of the monkeys had to go home for bed. Let's get a-move-on.
Ryan: No! Remember? Give a warning.
I remembered our plan. Warnings will help Norah adjust to leaving. Instead of just scooping her up out of something she's into, we'll ease her out.
Me: Five minutes!
Playing ensues.
Me: Two minutes!
Playing ensues.
Me: One minute!
Playing ensues.
Me: Okay! Let's walk Sara and Minta to their car.
She runs across the little bridge, bursts into tears, and starts shaking her arms and hands as if she's trying to get something off of them. I climb up the playground equipment trying to catch her, as she darts between slides and ascends and descends to different platforms. After persuading her to at least walk to the car, she accepts that it is indeed time to go home, and wails "I want my Minta" and "I miss Minta" for three blocks. 

Where: Walgreens
Who: Norah and me. Customers, employees.
Time: 6:45 pm

Norah: TOYS!
Me: Yes, there are toys. Let's look at a few of them.
Blah, blah, blah. You get the picture.
Me: Okay, let's grab what we need.
Norah: No.
Me: Come on, Baby. Mama needs to get a few things, and then we've got to go.
Norah: NO. 
I try to hold her hand to gently drag her with me.
Norah: NOOOO!
She runs to the other side of the wide seasonal toys aisle and grabs a rubber snake.
Me: Do you want a treat?
I cringe at what I've said, but am feeling desperate. She's starting to act unstable. The clock is ticking.
Norah: No.
Me: Do you want that snake?
Norah: No.
She flings snake to the floor. Now I'm irritated. 
Me: Pick that up and put it away, please.
Norah: Nooo. 
She starts to cry. I put the snake away and pick her up. 
Me: Pull it together, Sweetheart. We just need juice and ibuprofen, and then we're home free. 
Me: I will buy you ice cream and a unicorn if you just hold it in until we leave.
Old lady looks at me with raised eyebrows. 
Me: Jesus, Kid, we're at Walgreens, not Disney World.
Me: I know, Baby. 
Grab stuff. Head to checkout. Norah has giant tears spilling out of her eyes. She's now just muttering her mantra. People are sneaking looks at us. I'm holding her, a jug of apple juice, and my precious ibuprofen tucked under my chin, and sort of bouncing up and down, as if she were a newborn, which may or may not have been soothing. 

So, what are we to do? Never do anything or go anywhere? Or just take the suck with the good? I suppose the latter. But if anyone has any tips on how to make leaving places less hysterical, I'd appreciate it. 

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