Saturday, April 21, 2012

Abby-Proofing the World

Today was one of those days when a little bit of Abby-proofing of the world would have gone a long way. We picked her up from Nana and Papa's this morning. As many sleepovers go, there was a lot of fun, but not too much sleep. After crying for Mama and Dada last night exhaustion won out around 11:30 p.m. and Abby finally went to sleep - only to be ready for the day at 5:30 a.m. We wanted to zip Abby out of there as quickly as possible because poor Nana was holding on to her coffee like it was a lifeline. We knew she had to be exhausted, but as she knelt down to give Abby a good-bye hug and a kiss, she made sure to get a promise from Abby that she would come back soon - now that's love!

That's when I would have liked the Abby-proofing to begin. It seemed that no matter what way we wanted to go home, there was construction (ah, spring in Michigan - the flowers bloom, the birds sing, and the orange barrels come out to play). We all just wanted to get home, and every time we slowed down to a crawl she would get inpatient and antsy. We eventually picked her up a snack and Jason moved to the back to be with her, but it still seemed like a long ride home.

Finally, we made it safe and sound, and we had a some time before we needed to head out the the roller-skating party Abby had been invited to. She was really looking forward to this, and after about the 5th time of correcting her that it was roller-skating, not ice-skating, I finally just gave in and told her that, yes, she would be able to ice skate - but we needed to go to the mall first.

Enter phase two of Abby-proofing the world. We arrived at the mall to find that this was the weekend of the annual traveling fair. For some odd reason each year a fair (complete with "fold-up" rides that I can only imagine are one rusted screw away from coming apart all together) decides to take up residence in the local mall parking lot. I have never seen this in any other place I've lived, and it has alway seemed extremely strange to me. Abby, on the other hand was fascinated. Of course, the place was packed, and it seemed that the only parking spaces available were the ones with the perfect view of the carrousel and the crazy dragon ride that seemed to go nowhere. Even with the promise of a small surprise it was difficult to drag Abby into the mall, but I accomplished it, only to be confronted with an ice cream truck. Now, the truck wasn't a functioning one that actually sold ice cream - that I could have worked with, no this truck was a "ride" for the kiddos. Those blasted mall planners had put them right at the mall entrance as a way to make the mall "fun" for the kids, but miserable for the adults with them. I don't know about you, but my mall "hanging" days are far behind me. When I go to the mall now I want to get what I came for and then leave - even more so when I have Abby in tow. Abby latched on to that ice cream truck and climbed up to drive. I indulged her for a few minutes, but finally pulled her out and got her going in the direction I wanted to.

Sure enough, she wanted to go into every store. She wanted to try on the hats and even the glasses we passed. I really had to pull when we passed the jewelry store (that's my girl!), but once we arrived at the store I wanted I knew this had not been a wise decision. The birthday party we were going to was for one of Abby's older buddies, so I thought that it would be fun to get her a gift certificate to Claire's. Now, if you are not familiar with that store (and you may not be if you do not have - or have never been - a preteen or teen girl), let me give you a snapshot. Imagine if you will a large closet, one that is rather skinny, but surprisingly deep. Now, jam that space with a desk and cash register, and every sparkly bauble, shinny trinket, and frilly novelty that you can imagine, and a few you can't that would make a 10 year old drool - that's Claire's. This was a veritable nirvana for Abby.

Since we were only getting a gift certificate, I told her she could pick out one thing (mistake number one). She seemed to instinctively head to the back where the crowns were. She picked one out rather quickly and I thought: Wow, that was easy (mistake number two). I tried to corral her to the front so we could pay for it, but she was waylaid by the huge mirror, so I thought she could entertain herself while I began the payment process, so I continued on to the counter without her (mistake number three). That was when I heard things begin to fall and I doubled back to find her pulling off her real glasses, so she could try on a pair of fake glasses. I was able to get those back from her and as I turned to replace them (mistake number four), she found a pair of sunglasses and took off out of the store - wearing the crown and glasses. Because she is small (and faster than any kid has a right to be) she made it halfway down the mall before I could get to her and drag her back. This was when her crown was plucked from her head and she was forced to make a decision: the glasses or the crown (mistake number five), she chose the glasses, which were double the price of the crown - of course. At this point though, I didn't care, I wanted to get the gift and head to the party.

Abby cried the whole time we were paying, and there was a moment of panic when I realized in my rush to get to the little shoplifter I had dropped my bank card (luckily it landed in my purse), but finally we got out of that den of iniquity and made our way back towards that blasted ice cream truck. I'd hit my limit though, and was able to pick her up smoothly before we got to the exit and sweep her neatly outside. Now, I'd been talking up the whole roller/ice skating thing so she was pretty excited - a little too excited because while walking to the car she decided she wanted to get ready for her skates, so she plopped right down on that blacktop and took her shoes off. I made the quick decision to pick my battles and pulled her to the car in just her socks, watching for anything in her path that might cause injury. Luckily, the shoe thing was enough to distract her from the carnival in front of her.

Finally, we made it to the party, and though she was excited to see her buddies, and seemed fascinated with the people zipping around on skates, the noise was just too much for her. We stayed for a few minutes (long enough to get her some skates that she didn't want by the time they got to her), and tried out other sections of the rink, but as she cried and shook, with her hands over her ears I knew that she had been through enough - and that she was working on little sleep. We came home to have a popsicle and watch a bit of "Abby TV".

Despite the rough moments, it was a really good day, and I am so proud of her because through it all she kept it together and there were no major melt-downs. We all had a quiet afternoon and were sure to head up to bed early. With promises of Sunday school and bacon in the morning, it took Abby about ten minutes to fall asleep - the poor thing was tuckered out. Tomorrow is a new day, and even though I know the world will never be Abby-proof, it is good to know that we can still handle it.

Ever the happy girl!

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