When the boys were young I never stayed home.
I went to the mall and frequented thrift stores. I went to the gym.
The boys were usually cool with being dragged around; they chillaxed in the grocery cart, stroller or car seat.
Maggie was different ~ she let us know this immediately.
If she didn't want to be somewhere she would protest wildly. If she was a tiny bit hungry, she would scream. If something was mildly annoying, she would blow a gasket.
We had produced a high maintenance baby. She proved, time and time again, that she would not "go gentle into that good night." We began to drive separate cars to friends' houses and events, anticipating one of us would be forced to leave early.
Errands and shopping became tedious, headache producing chores.
However, this morning I had a momentary spurt of "hell yes, I can" fire in my belly.
It is Wednesday. Every week at 9:45, the local library has story time for children between the ages of one and two. Since she is on the latter half of "age one" I thought (mistakenly) that she would be one of the more receptive participants to this delightful, free entertainment.
We arrived about a half an hour early as I haven't quite mastered arriving at places precisely on time with Maggie. The other characters began filing in about 20 minutes later.
I was a little concerned about how she would interact w/ the other children, because honestly, she is never around children her own age. She is quite fascinated by them from afar, like monkeys in a zoo. But she probably wouldn't really know what to do with them if she was given a chance to approach and interact with them in a neutral environment.
I appreciated how the library staff had constructed a large "U" shape out of chairs, essentially corralling the children into one large area. There was only one way out. Brilliant.
The stories began.
You know that kid that won't sit down? The one who stands directly in front of the librarian reading the story, fascinated and oblivious to everything going on around her? That happened for a painstakingly long moment.
Then she noticed a baby in the back row and oh, how she loves babies. She moved swiftly to harangue the tot and its mother.
Then she noticed the puppet stage and how easily she could maneuver herself behind it in such a way that it was almost impossible for me to retrieve her.
It was about that time that she realized that she was pretty much locked in this room. She eyed the library patrons on THE OUTSIDE like a caged animal. THEY were enjoying freedom she did not have. She discovered that banging on the windows would produce an immediate, startled response from those patrons from that place of greener grass.
Then the puppets were whipped out.
She has never seen a "puppet show" before.
You know of that kid who gets SO excited that it can only scream and shake? And quite possibly piss in its pants, it is so jazzed? That, my friends, was my daughter.
She toddled directly to the front of the puppet stage and tried to snatch the monkey. Then she tried to grab the elephant. Then the crocodile.
I tried to stay off to the side as much as I could, encouraging her to "sit down," and "don't touch that," and "shhh."
Every new activity presented a new problem: The beanbag game brought out the selfish, green-eyed beast in her. When the arts and crafts materials were handed out she tore up her tissue with her teeth and ate her crayon.
She wore herself out to monumental proportions.
The meltdowns were rapid fire and uber dramatic as I prepared her lunch. She crumpled to the floor and rolled around, kicking her feet and crying.
When she went down for her nap, I collapsed on the couch and thought about our fun filled and adventurous morning. (Cough.)
I realized that perhaps this is what a girl needs to be in this world: Tenacious, aggressive, feisty.
As I look at the big picture, I suppose that it is fabulous that she refuses to be passive and allow exciting things occur around her; she forces herself directly into the action.
She assumes a fighting stance and lunges for her OWN puppets, dammit, wasting the competition in the process. I'm sure this will serve her well in life and we will attempt to nuture it.
Right now, though?
Metaphorically speaking, I am the one on the floor, beaten and bruised, being trampled as she kung fu's her way towards the fuzzy green crocodile puppet.