Through a bizarre confluence of happenstance, Viva spent the past two weekends with her aunties. Two weekends ago, she spent the night with my sister Lola, and then last weekend she flew off to Vegas with my sister-in-law Diva to watch her cousin in a cheerleading competition. Being away from her parents and her everyday life has been a bit of a challenge, and thus this weekend we have been dealing with some Acting Out.
It is a toss-up whether at any minute Viva will be clinging to my leg and whining, running around the house shrieking like a banshee, or simply playing nicely, either by herself or with Sweet Dub and/or me. It is rather exhausting, although we are trying to be understanding.
The one thing that is really killing me is the weird, alternate-reality fibbing to get out of doing things she doesn’t want to do. Witness:
The scene: Viva’s room, Sunday afternoon. I am trying to get her to nap, or at the very least have 45 minutes of Quiet Time with the door closed.
Mama Blah [easing toward the door]: So just relax, and close your eyes, and –
Viva: I’m not good at closing my eyes! They keep opening by themselves!
Mama Blah: What?!
Viva: I’m not a good eye closer.
Mama Blah [suppressing a sigh]: Well, maybe you need to practice. Try this: close your eyes and count to five.
Viva scrunches her eyes shut, grinning, counts to five, and bing! Her eyes pop open.
Mama Blah: Okay, now close your eyes again – not scrunching them tight like that, just nice and easy, like this, be natural, and see: One, two, three, four, five, nice and slow, and your head will hit the pillow… Try it again, but this time, count to ten.
Viva [convinced by now I am completely insane, but willing to give it a shot]: Okay. One, two, three, four…
A few minutes later I pass by her room and I hear her counting: Twenty-eight, twenty-nine…
(Five minutes later, she has corralled her daddy into sitting with her for the rest of Quiet Time. I can hear them in there, chatting and laughing together.)
Later in the evening, she has a complete breakdown, directly attributable to being overtired. In the morning, she gets up grumpy, uses the toilet, and then refuses to wash her hands, brush her teeth, or wash her face. We actually time her, unintentionally, by pausing the TV and telling her she can’t watch TV unless she takes care of her hygiene. From the moment we pause to her actually going back to the bathroom and performing this two minutes of self-care, sixteen and a half minutes elapse. After she emerges from the bathroom, she refuses to put on pants, even though it is chilly enough that the heat has come on. Sweet Dub is completely exasperated by this point.
Sweet Dub: You are like cold molasses today. What is going on with you? Why can’t you just put your pants on?
Viva: It’s not my fault, it’s because I’m a girl.
Sweet Dub & Mama Blah simultaneously: What?!
Viva: If I was a boy, I’d be faster.
Mama Blah: Being fast has nothing to do with you being a boy or a girl, Viva, and you know that.
Viva: I just can’t put my pants on.
Sweet Dub: It’s , and I’m already exhausted.
And so the day goes. Viva celebrated the birth of Presidents Washington and Lincoln thusly, fourscore and seven minutes at a time.