Today was our last day of caregiving at the local mothers' group's meeting -- one semester down and one to go. Last week's Shop 'til You Drop day netted us only three babies and it was the same this week, with a slight shuffle: Today we had Charlotte (again), but instead of Mari and Keenan, we had Ariel and Drew.
Drew is nearly three years old, which makes him quite a man in the little world of Room 117. Ariel is a bit younger than he is and Charlotte just turned two, so you can imagine how he likes to show off to the ladies. He can, for example, climb up the slide backwards. Even when we tell him to stop, he can climb up the slide backwards. Just watch him! And his lung power when told to go immediately to the Naughty Chair, well, it just surpasses ANYTHING a mere two-year-old could produce. Ari and Charlotte stood side-by-side, looking startled and slightly awed as Drew yelled his head off.
"DON'T WANNA SIT IN THE NAUGHTY CHAIR!" Drew banshee'd, alerting most of the tri-county area, I imagine. "WANNA PLAY ON THE SLI-I-I-I-IDE!!!!"
"You'll have to make better choices then, Drew," I called, using my hands to form a megaphone around my mouth so that I could be heard over the almighty din coming out of Drew's.
"DON'T WANNA MAKE BETTER CHOICES!" he screamed, purple in the face. Yeah, whatever. Get comfy in that naughty chair, my friend.
Later on, when Drew had calmed down and been allowed to return to the play area (sulkily avoiding the slide), we got them all rounded up at the table for a snack, which today was snowflake-imprinted Ritz crackers and apple juice.
Charlotte was sitting in her seat waiting for me to fill her sippy cup and put some crackers on the napkin Aisling had placed in front of her when Drew spoke to her in a wheedling voice:
"Charlotte, will you please take your paccy out so that you can talk to me?"
Charlotte, brown of eye and extremely solemn, gave Drew a stony look.
"Charlotte, pleeeaaaaase....?" he begged, clasping his hands under his chin. "I want to talk to you. Do you want to talk to me?"
Oh, Drew. You should learn even now, at this early age, that you never ask a woman an open-ended question like that. Hearing a "no" as the answer to "Do you want to go to dinner and a movie with me on Friday night?" is soooo much better than hearing a "no" as the answer to, "So! Do you want to go out sometime?"
A typical female, even though diapered and wearing sparkly pink shoes, Charlotte regarded Drew with an appraising sort of stare for a few moments. Then she reached up, removed her paccy, and uttered one short word -- "No" -- before placing it firmly back in her mouth.
Drew looked over at me, outraged pride simmering. "I asked Charlotte if she wanted to talk to me and she said no!" he cried indignantly.
"Well....." I temporized, trying to swiftly decide which was worse: A disgruntled Drew or an annoyed Charlotte. Drew makes a heck of a lot more noise and is capable of biting people, but Charlotte is so squeezy and adorable with her brown curls and sober mien. I didn't want to make her sad.
Before I had time to make a decision, Drew climbed out of his chair and stalked over to Charlotte. "Charlotte," he said in a let-us-reason-together-you-and-I sort of voice, "I said do you want to talk to me and you said no and I even said please." There was a strong indication here that he had done PLENTY of giving in this unfortunate situation and now it was time for someone else to step up to the plate and take a swing at camaraderie, politeness and civic duty. "And so now..... I am going to take your paccy," he announced authoritatively.
Drew reached out his hand, but Charlotte was too fast for him. Her silky eyebrows nearly met in the middle of her forehead, so intense was her frown of displeasure. Please remember that this is all taking much longer to read than it did to happen: Somewhere in those few seconds between Drew's attempt to separate Charlotte from that pacifier and the evil-eye glare she fixed him with, I became convinced that Drew was either going to draw back a bloody stump or be turned into stone. Charlotte clamped both hands over her pacifier, but managed to growl out a "NO!" from the side of her mouth like Al Capone, only with pink pants.
Drew looked back at me and Aisling again, his arms held out at his sides in a shrug of disbelief. If he were older, he would have said, "Dude! Are you freakin' KIDDING me?!" but since he's three he said, "She still won't talk to me! WAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!"
And she didn't, either. The entire rest of the morning, Charlotte scowled at Drew every time he got close to her. When Drew left, still protesting her rudeness, Charlotte watched him go with triumph and then removed her pacifier long enough to call one last, wounding "NO!" out the door after him.
That Charlotte. She is a woman who knows her own mind. Snaaaap.
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