I had a meeting this morning at Starbucks to discuss a magazine article/series I’m helping to write. We convened an hour before preschool started for my daughter, so I did the unprofessional working-mom thing and took her with me. (The publisher was forewarned and gave me the green light.) On the way there, I coached Mia as she sat behind me in her car seat: “Mommy has a meeting and you have to be a good girl. You can draw, you can drink your milk, but you have to be quiet.” Very matter-of-factly she said to me, “Mom, you know I will be.” And so I said, “Yeah. You’re right.” Then she replied, “So why did you have to tell me to?” Should I tell her I always over-think things or question the inevitable? No, I just said, “Good point.”
She lived up to her end of the bargain. For the first 40 minutes or so she kept quiet, snuggling on my lap or drawing pictures of herself in grand, long, stripey dresses. And then she got a whiff of something baking right when she ran out of milk, and we had to get up and explore the dessert case. I talked her out of any of their cakes (none were chocolate), and she wanted a cinnamon roll only for the gooey icing on top. So we settled on another round of milk, and she picked out a stuffed pumpkin toy.
I gave her some cash and then stepped aside so she could pay for her things herself as the line grew to several folks deep. As she handed over her money, the cashier asked her what she was going to be for Halloween, and Mia made her guess. The young woman asked, “A princess?” And Mia giggled, “Yes!” Then the cashier told her she was going dressed as Tinkerbell which triggered more giggling. And since we’ve been reading joke books most nights before bed, a light bulb went off over my daughter’s head, and she said to the cashier, “I know a good joke about that.” I searched my brain, trying to decide where she was going with this. Of course she asked Mia to tell her the joke, and my daughter said, “What do you call a fairy who never takes a bath?” The cashier smiled and said, “I have no idea!” Mia called out, “Stinkerbell!” The laughter surrounded her as those in line were listening in.
I had an idea my child could be a good girl at a place with no kids’ menus or color-on-me placemats. The delightful surprise came when she was entertaining to boot!