Saturday, March 30, 2013

The $9.00 Duck

Will is...intense. Anybody who's met him knows this.  It's great, because there's no mystery as to what he likes and dislikes.  On the flip side, he's three and there's no middle ground.  Ever. 

Anyway, Sarah needed a haircut before Easter, to tame the dreadlocks slowly forming in her untameable hair.  She requested getting a trim at the "kids' haircut place", and I acquiesced, mistakenly thinking it might be less crowded on Good Friday than the place we usually go. 

We get there and are told we have to wait for 25 minutes in standing-room-only conditions.  My kids each just tried to sneak a nap in the car, so I know we're in for trouble.  Never fear: I pull out the Ring Pops stashed in my purse for just such an occasion, and people are happy.  

Until Will drops his pop on the hairy floor.  Normally, I'm a 5-second-(10-second, maybe 10 minute) rule person, but there's HAIR all over his lollipop.  Thank goodness for the spare.  Everybody's happy for about 4.8 seconds, and then Will sees the Prize Machine.  It spits out rubber duckies wearing rain gear or firefighter outfits, which are, like, his favorite things in the world.  Besides cars.  And sticks that he's carved into bayonets. 

Mr. Smoothe Operator starts to turn on the charm, sidling up to me, and calling my attention to the splendidly-appointed rubber ducks. 

He wants one.  Bad.  

How bad? you ask.  Bad enough to agree to a haircut. 

But that's not part of the deal. No. The deal was that I take my (relatively) easygoing and unafraid first-born for a cut.  Nobody warned me about dealing with a wildebeest on a one-man stampede as well.  He's the whole reason we've stayed with man-to-man coverage, after all.  My womb remains unoccupied because there IS no known zone defense that can hold this kid.  Haircut? Forget it.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I'd rather try to stuff a bobcat into a potato sack. 

Nothing doing, my persistent one wears me down, and I agree to a bang trim so that he qualifies for a rubber duckie prize.  He barely allowed Big Sis to vacate the seat before hopping up to take his medicine, eyes on the prize.  There's no howling, no biting, hissing, flailing, kicking, or growling. His eerily cheery demeanor throws me off my game.

Ring pops and prize vouchers in hand,  he took out 2 toddlers and a 3rd grader to claim his spoils. 

And then he wanted, no, DEMANDED backsies. 

Cowboy ducks suck.  Apparently.

Meanwhile, Sarah quietly deposited her ticket and sportingly pocketed her floral-motif duck.  Suddenly, THAT duck was the one he wanted.  His one and only.  The duck of dreams. 

A dropped nap plus dashed hopes pushes the man closer and closer to a vortex of pain and tantrums.  I remain calm while Sarah goes above and beyond the call of sisterly duty and offers to share her duck.  Cowboy duck flies off into the sunset.  Full-on rage takes hold of my son.  

Mayday! Mayday!

I employ the football hold, and we skedaddle out into the rain.  I've got a slippery handle on Will, and Sarah clutches not one, but two ducks in her hand as we scuttle into the car.  The only sliver of peace I experience all day is the walk around the car, between buckling Will into his seat, and before I open the door to snap Sarah in.

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