It's coming along. I'd had such a hard time picking out fabric for my niece's back-to-school dress that I decided to take the expert with me to the fabric store, though I knew this was a risky venture. You moms out there know all about the fine balance one must walk with a seven-year-old when choices are involved — too many can take all day. I, of course, know all this exclusively from my experiences with said niece at Chuck E. Cheese. What I told her parents was that, if they ever decided to take the kids to Chuck's, they should plan on the following schedule: 20 minutes to get there; 15 minutes to eat pizza; 45 minutes to play the games; and an hour and a half to pick out the fourteen plastic rings (rubber goldfish, fake tattoos, sparkly bracelets, etc.) she wanted to redeem her prize tickets for. I must say that the teenagers behind the prize counter at Chuck's have the patience of saints. It's amazing.
Anyway, when I showed her the pattern I'd chosen (I did not even consider anything other than picking out the pattern myself) she was very pleased. I told her that she could decide whether she wanted the short, puffy-sleeved version or the sleeveless. At lunch I held up the pattern for her to look at while she ate her cheeseburger. Her eyes rested on the picture for several seconds, then she looked across the room, thinking. Back to the pattern, back out the window, think think. Munch munch, think think. Back to the pattern, think think. Back out the window, think think. Get distracted by idea that balloon tied to her seat could float away at any second and ties it around her wrist. Munch munch, think think. Eyes back to the pattern. Aunt Alicia's arm starts getting tired from holding up pattern. "Arden?"
"Are you thinking?"
Five minutes go by. I am trying so hard not to bust out laughing. My arm really is getting tired and my cheeseburger is getting cold. "Arden I can't hold the pattern anymore."
"Okay, I'll hold it."
She takes it and I watch her eyes. On the pattern, back out the window. On the pattern, back out the window. I am seriously wondering if she has completely forgotten what we're doing when she suddenly says, with complete confidence, "Sleeveless."
That was about fifteen minutes.
On to the fabric store. You will remember that she wanted her dress to be red and blue. I steer her toward the calicoes, which are all nicely grouped by color. She grinds to a halt in front of the Christmas fabric, which is red. "Oooo, this is nice, Aunt Alicia!" she says, pointing to the red poinsettias with gold glitter. I'm like, "Mmm hmm, and let's go look at these over here." She's stuck at the poinsettias.
"I like this one."
"I like it too, but it's for Christmas."
"But it doesn't have to be for Christmas."
Er, uh oh. It's gonna be a Christmas and a Fourth of July dress. But then she sees the kittens.
"Aunt Alicia! Look at the kittens! They're adorable!"
These kittens have about as much in common with real kittens as My Little Ponies have with real horses (and Blair, I think you hear what I'm saying here). They bat their long eyelashes over huge blue eyes, giant bows tied around their necks. They're totally hideous. I can't do it. "Mmm, those are adorable. But what about this one?" I say hopefully, holding up a cute diamond-print red calico.
"I like that one!" she says.
Phew! "And what about this blue one?"
"I love that one!"
Double phew! We then had to decide which color we wanted for the yoke, and which for the skirt, but this only took about four and a half minutes, so that wasn't bad.
At home, we discussed shoes. We thought red clogs would be perfect. "Or," she said, "Mary Janes would be adorable!" Adorable is one of our favorite words. She said there was also a pair of boots in the Land's End catalog that she really wanted. Really really really wanted. We explored the possibility of crying if one did not get what one wanted as means to getting someone to give you what you wanted. I felt sure this, as a solution, never worked and said so, but had to concede that it did work when one was a baby, as she quickly pointed out: You cry, you get your bottle (or whatever). (I didn't tell her that it could possibly work when, at 37, you don't want to move your own stuff out of your own store, too, but as I said the other day, I'm not going there.) Some fake crying ensued, her for her boots, me because I couldn't thread the ribbon through the eyelet trim. Then, a better idea for the boots:
"I want them so much, I'm going to do a little jig!" she said, and proceeded to dance around the living room, the Boot Dance, while the dog barked at her and I cut out her dress and cracked up.
I think it's coming out really cute. I should've lined the bodice instead of making a bunch of facings, but oh well. I like vintage patterns because usually there is only one size instead of seventeen sizes in each pattern, which makes it a lot easier to cut. I think I'll finish this today so I'll be all done before Andy's mom arrives, and the move starts, etc.
Then I'll go see what boots she wants at Land's End . . . You had to see that coming. What auntie could resist rewarding a good, pleading jig? Not this one.