This weekend, G has been doing some painting in the house, so the three-year-old (N) and the pregnant lady (moi) had to vacate the premises. Very lucky for us, G’s mother lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and kindly offered to let us stay in her apartment for the weekend, while she stayed at our house to help G paint.
Thus my low-key “date” weekend with my daughter, which has been awesome. It’s something I’ll always remember and I really, really want to do again with her (and soon, her little sister).
Last night when G dropped us off, N and I were a couple of excited girls in the big city. Although I have worked in Manhattan for nearly 10 years, the city seemed totally fresh, because I was seeing it through N’s eyes. We took a cab to the restaurant (Fred’s on Amsterdam at 83rd Street), and N was wide-eyed watching the busy streetscape out the window. (Taxi TV caught her attention for only a moment — long enough for her to exclaim, “Mama! It’s Brian Williams!” when she recognized the NBC news anchor on the screen.)
As soon as we got out of the cab, N spotted a toy store called West Side Kids which of course we had to check out. She quickly found a little stuffed dog and named him Spot. It was a perfect find, for upon entering Fred’s we immediately saw that it was a dog-themed restaurant — its walls were covered with pictures and paintings of cute canines. After studying the painting above our table, N theorized that a little girl owned the white doggie in the picture, and the doggie was feeling sad because he had gotten lost. (I’m thinking, whoa! Bring a kid to Manhattan and watch her become cultured before your very eyes!)
Today was a big day: we had tickets to Pinkalicious the Musical, N’s first theater experience. I find there are things you can explain to a kid and there are things you can’t — like the meaning of the word “stage” if they’ve never actually seen one, or how in a play, you might see yourself in a character or identify with a song. I couldn’t explain that to N before we went today — but Pinkalicious the Musical could. N was completely focused on the show for the full hour — a perfect length for the gaggle of preschool-age girls (and yes, a few boys!) in the audience. Afterwards we met the actors and got their signatures on N’s “Pinkalicious” book, and even ate a pink cupcake. It was a great first experience with the theater, upon which I think we can build as N gets older.
Following lunch and a nap, it was raining cats and dogs so I gave N the choice of going out to a restaurant or ordering pizza. She chose ordering in and we spent the rest of the evening playing — mostly pretending “Pinkalicious,” occasionally interspersed with N’s newest imaginary character that she created, “Wedgie Girl.” I’m not going to explain this one, but perhaps I don’t need to.
Of course, I think it’s safe to say that no mother-daughter weekend is ever completely free of tension, even the most fun “date” weekend in the big city. N is still very much three years old and prone to spilling any liquid that she comes into contact with, including orange juice on Grandma’s white tablecloth. (Yikes! How do I get pulp out of that fabric??) And I’m still 8 months pregnant with about 5 minutes’ worth of energy before I have to sit down, take deep breaths and rest my perpetual backache. I’ve certainly had less cranky, hormonal times in my life.
But the wonderful thing about mothers and daughters is — despite the inevitable brief moments of tension — there is a deep, special bond that allows you both to regain your equilibrium with each other, to make up and continue to enjoy each other’s company as intensely as before.
I couldn’t ask for a better “date.”