I pull the car into the garage. The girls are jabbering to me, to each other, and over each other in the back seat of the car. We’re returning home from their bus stop, a quarter mile away.
It’s 4:30 on a Friday.
It’s Friday, yet it’s like no other Friday. The Daddy-Daughter Dance starts at 6 o’clock!
The girls put their bags into their cubbies and head straight to the family room couch. I directed them to do this. They have a seat next to each other on the couch to await my instruction.
“Stella,” I start and she looks up at me. “Your appointment is at 5 and Veronica, yours is at 5:30.
“Sounds good mom,” they chime.
With that, they grab a snack and wait their turn to have one-on-one getting ready time with mom.
In reality, the girls dump their bags in their cubbies and head to the kitchen. There they start rummaging for a snack. Once satisfied, Veronica grabs her iPad to pin and Stella turns on the t.v. to watch a show, which is the usual m.o. on a Friday afternoon.
I stop them as they settled in to forewarn them they only have 10 minutes before they need to start getting ready for the dance.
Yeah, yeah, yeah mom is the energy I feel.
The 10 minutes turns into 20 and in the blink of an eye it’s 5 o’clock.
I’m fiddling with this and that, and when I glance at the girls they’re positioned languidly on the couch. They look so engrossed, so relaxed.
I assess the situation. Their outfits are picked out – shoes, tights, dress, and accessories are ready to go in their room. We prepped the night before.
I’m feeling confident (and ready to also relax), so I crack a beer and give them 10 more minutes.
Mistake, mama. Big mistake.
I forgot about hair.
Hair is a category onto its own.
At 5:15, it’s go time. I’m looser, so are they.
But mom, I hear. Yeah, I know you’re mid-way through Liv and Maddie, but it’s gonna have to wait until tomorrow. Sorry Charlie, I say.
I sniff Veronica and suggest she needs a jump in the shower – she’s in 4th grade and that age is ripe.
I start working on Stella.
As I’m in the middle of tightening Stella’s bun, Veronica walks into the bathroom. She’s dressed – almost ready, save a wet head.
She promptly puts her iPad in my face.
“Look, mom,” she says. “Which braid do you think?”
It’s the hair I tell you!
Veronica has pinned several braid updos on her Pinterest site and wants my input r.i.g.h.t. then.
Without waiting for my input, she shares her opinion, “I think I want the heart.”
My fingers are full of hair as I’m mid-bun with Stella’s updo, so I murmur, “Mmmmhhmmmm. Mmmmhhmmmm. Cool. Just give me two minutes.”
Without a pause, she continued, “You’re paying more attention to her. You pay more attention to her.”
Oh merde, this is not the direction of my choice.
I really don’t love multi-tasking when it comes to the girls’ attention. And frequently they seek my attention at the same time. Somehow I manage simultaneous needs while I teach French, yet I really struggle at this with my girls.
It’s heightened 200 % when I’m trying to get them gussied up and out the door for something special.
I ignore her bullshit as best I can. It’s tough. She’s persistent. I finish Stella’s bun and polish her off with a swipe of eye makeup. Then I start on Veronica’s hair.
First though, you should know that learning how to turn up a medley of French braids has been on my list of things to do for AGES. I keep a print out of a particular braid I want to master, but it’s buried in my to-do file under a pile of bills and other paperwork.
So you can imagine that doing a braided heart on the back of her head on the fly wasn’t an easy task for me, especially with a mere five minutes to go.
Hearing, “You’re paying more attention to her. You pay more attention to her,” certainly didn’t help.
Yet I try.
“A” for effort, right?
And I fail. This look needed a trial run.
She gets frustrated that I didn’t get it right on first, or second try, so I adjust with a twirl here and there. Somehow I get a look that turns her frown upside down.
You saw the above picture. She seemed AOK when she left.
This was the first. Stella looks proud, but I can tell Veronica isn’t pleased.
So back to the beginning of this piece. The idea is an appointment.
Of course this came to me as I was wrapping up with the girls’ preparation.
It would make sense to have 15, 20, 30 minutes to get each girl ready alone.
I wish I would have thought of that before we started.
“Stella, you have an appointment at 5 and Veronica yours is at 5:30.”
Next time. The next time we have an event, I’m giving the girls appointment slots.
As for this time, all ended up well.
They left for the daddy-daughter dance 10 minutes behind schedule (whoop dee do) and had a blast!
I had an evening to myself (phew!).
Veronica was all smiles as she entered the dance.
Stella got to dab to her heart’s content.
And the girls and Stephen ended the night at their traditional post-daddy-daughter dance spot – M Burger.
I snagged these pics from my husband’s camera.