Little Miss Extrovert

The kid and I headed out of town for the weekend. We were attending a dog festival on Sunday (the rescue for which we volunteer had a booth) and decided to make a weekend out of it. She and I have attended this festival every year, starting when she was five weeks old.

We got a hotel on Priceline and hit the road. We attended a farmers' market and a "safety fair" where she got to climb on a fire truck and whatnot. We also met one of my mom friends for lunch. Her daughter was born May 2, 2005 and mine was born May 3rd of that year. My friend added a son after that and is now pregnant with a daughter. I get tired just thinking about it. Lately A keeps pretending that she has a baby sister named Lily. She tells me that she helps Lily get out of the car and stuff, since Lily is just a baby. It tears at my heart a little, because I think the sibling relationship is one of the most important in one's life. However, I am 40, we are still paying on an adoption loan, and I really think she is "it." I try to tell her that a little sister would just tear up her stuff (and I know this from experience - hello to my little sisters!) but I don't think she buys it. I'm just glad that she's a complete extrovert and that, in the absence of a sibling, she makes friends readily.

After lunch, we checked in to our hotel. I asked for two beds, because I have this crazy habit of wanting to sleep without a foot in my kidney. I have seen some of the positions in which my daughter slumbers, limbs all akimbo, and I want no part of it. She couldn't understand it at all. When we got into the room she kept saying, "You won't sleep with me?" Later that night, I compromised by holding her while she watched Toy Story and I read Rolling Stone. Once she fell asleep, I put her in her own bed.

Before that, though, we went swimming. She's getting to be a good little swimmer. We had a lot of fun playing in the pool - there was no one else in it at the time. I have a rule that you have to have known me for five years before you can see it in a swimsuit, and my daughter just now qualifies. Speaking of which, she is on a mission to tell every stranger in the Midwest that she is five. I stopped at Eddie Bauer today to pick up a tee shirt and she told the cashier, "I'm already five!" She also shared that information at CVS, McDonald's, and every retail establishment we've been in since May.

The dog festival was a lot of fun. I handed A a bunch of flyers for a fundraiser that the rescue is holding in September. She had no problems handing them out to strangers. In fact, she often chased people down to make sure they got one. She doesn't mess around. She spent the rest of the afternoon harassing owners of small dogs. She is obsessed with bitty dogs. I keep telling her, "Hey! We are big dog people!" I think she believes that all small dogs are puppies. It doesn't matter if some poor little Chihuahua is positively silver with age and hunched over with arthritis - A will drop everything and run full-speed at that dog. Thank goodness that people tend only to bring friendly dogs to this sort of event.

After our shift was over, I took the kid to grab a slice of pizza. On the way to the pizza tent, she stopped to pet a microscopic pooch. It seemed to me that the dog's owners were on their way somewhere, so I started to pull A away. "Oh, it's fine," said the woman. She then went on to tell me how she had spoken with my daughter earlier and how she thought it was just a crime that A is not allowed to wear her purple flip-flops to school (open-toed shoes are frowned on at school and at daycare). I wondered what else the kid was telling strangers, but I decided maybe it's better I don't always know. For a while there she was hell-bent on telling everyone under the sun that she was on antibiotics for an ear infection. Each time, I'd clamp my hand over her mouth just as she got to the part about the antibiotics giving her raging diarrhea. But, I can only imagine how often she managed to impart that information when I wasn't around.

Later, we were back in our booth and two little girls came up to play a children's game that one of our volunteers built. Basically, you hurl a velcro ball at a felt Boxer head. My daughter marched up to these little girls, put her hands on her hips, and said, "You'd BETTER have a dollar." I think I turned every shade of red. I explained that we don't really talk to guests like that. Like I said, she's not shy.