“I’ll dress myself today,” Natalie said, pushing away the dress I was attempting to put on her.
“Natalie, we don’t have time to argue if you want to get to preschool on time,” I replied.
Some mornings Natalie takes her time. For starters, she couldn’t decide what she wanted to breakfast, cereal or oatmeal. She eventually decided on cereal and then she couldn’t decide if she wanted Lucky Charms, cinnamon Cheerios, or Frosted Mini Wheats. She tapped her chin as she stared at the boxes.
“Please pick one,” I urged. I am not a morning person. I don’t think mornings are glorious at all. Mornings aren’t glorious until after 10.
“Lucky Charms,” Natalie eventually said.
I grabbed the box. “Don’t just eat the marshmallows, you hear me? When I have a bowl of Lucky Charms, I don’t just want the oat stuff.” Sometimes I feel like I’m a child stuck in an adult body. I still love cereal with marshmallows. Farts still crack me up. I get excited over the prospect of dessert.
I prepared Natalie’s cereal. I rarely make hot breakfasts. If I attempted to do so, shells would be stuck in the scrambled eggs since my eyes are only half opened in the morning. Pancakes would burn because I’d probably rest my head on the counter and fall asleep. It’s safer to stick to easy stuff.
Natalie ate painstakingly slow. She’d take one bite and chew. And chew. And chew.
So by the time it was time to get dressed, we only had 15 minutes to get ready.
“I want to dress myself,” Natalie repeated. This meant she’d probably go as a Disney princess.
“Just…okay,” I relented. I didn’t have time to argue. The teachers would understand if she showed up as Snow White. Or in an outfit that didn’t match.
“Okay!” Natalie said excitedly, running upstairs.
I expected her to show up in a dress.
Or pink sweatpants paired with an orange top.
Or an outfit like the ones Lady Gaga sports.
Instead, she appeared in front of me in this, which I could see Lady Gaga in, complete with the pink undies.
“Uh,” I said. “Wouldn’t you feel a draft in that? Our high today is in the 40s…maybe if we were in Florida..”
Natalie twirled around. “I’m Batman. My teachers will love this.”
I didn’t know what to say. I knew I had to tread delicately to prevent a tantrum.
“You look great,” I said slowly. “But that belongs to Tommy. He’d get upset if you took it to school without asking.”
Natalie mashed her lips together and scowled.
“You can wear that when you get home,” I promised.
I expected to hear a screech from Natalie. Instead she shrugged and went, “Okay. I’ll wear the dress then.”
Sometimes I don’t get little girls.