To celebrate the 24th of July—also known as Pioneer Day—we went to a neighbourhood picnic, which was a lot of fun. Rachel, however, hasn’t seen many picnics in her day. In fact, I think the only picnic she’s ever been to was a teddy bear picnic we had in Cairo with some friends. It was pretty much a new experience for her.
We spread our blanket on the ground to claim our spot and then got in line for the food, which was plentiful. There were hot dogs and steak, corn on the cob (which Rachel loved—it was her first time eating corn on the cob and she probably had like three), salads, fruit, breads, desserts, a whole smorgasbord of dishes. Potlucks are fantastic.
Among the desserts was a beautiful strawberry cake. I took a piece, making room on my plate by crowding my actual dinner to the side. Andrew also took a piece, but he put his piece on a separate plate.
We returned to our blanket and began the juggling act that eating a picnic dinner with a three-year-old is. We didn’t even have Miriam at the time because Grandpa had walked off with her. Trust me, it was difficult enough with one child, drinks, plates, and feet to worry about.
Poor Rachel was all over the place. She’d change positions and kick a drink. She’d reach for a chip and flip over the whole plate. Her crowning achievement, however, happened while walking off the blanket. I can’t remember why she was leaving—perhaps she’d had enough of us chiding her to “watch out!” or perhaps she’d spied a friend—but she was off in a hurry.
I knew it was trouble the minute she stood up so I was already uttering my useless warning.
“Rachel! Watch where you’re…”
That’s when she stepped right on Andrew’s spare plate holding his piece of delicious strawberry cake.
“…going.” I groaned.
I should be used to it by now—at least half of what I say is useless. Rachel already ignores half of what I say.
Today, though, I learned that sometimes she really does listen. You see, Andrew and I went on a date tonight. One of those real-live kind of dates where we leave the house and everything. That kind. Usually we do “lock-down dates” so this is kind of a big deal.
We went to see The Wedding Singer at the Hale Center Theater in Salt Lake. My cousin Wendy was in it. Anyway…
The girls sometimes need a bit of preparation before we leave them since we so rarely do that so we warned them that we’d be going, told them who would be watching them, and reassured them that we’d be back.
Rachel took the news quite well. She was actually excited for us to go on a date. She was going to stay with Grandma and Grandpa all by herself and James was going to come and play with her and it was going to be great.
“Can we watch a movie when Mom and Dad go on their date?” she asked Grandma.
“I don’t know,” Grandma answered, “We’ll have to see.”
“Actually, yes, we can watch a movie because Mom and Dad won’t be here to say no!” Rachel chirped excitedly.
Because that’s pretty much what we do—say no. Sheesh! Where did she pick up that attitude?
Right before we left, though, she got all sweet. I was giving Miriam a final diaper change and Rachel came to help.
“Are you taking her with you?”
“No. She’s staying here with you.”
“No, not me. I meant Meme. Is she going, too?”
“No. She’s staying.”
“No, Mom. I mean, are you taking Miriam?”
“No, really, Rachel. Miriam is staying here with you and Grandma and Grandpa.”
“But…that kind of bothers me because Miriam doesn’t like it when you’re gone.”
As it turns out the girls were fine. They had a popcorn party with a movie, played with James, and Grandma had them both in bed (and asleep, mind you) by 8:10. That has got to be some kind of a record! It never happens that way for me.
Maybe I should try feeding them more popcorn and saying yes more often. But then, who would they have to ignore?