As you may know, the Maiden is the Queen of Procrastination. (Something she does not get from me, of course.) Usually this manifests in things no one cares about–like getting to school on time or changing into her dance leotard quickly or putting away her toys or setting the table before dinner gets cold or getting to bed within a half hour of bedtime. Whatever, right?
This fall, though, it’s crept insidiously into the Most Important Event of the Month: the purchasing of a Halloween costume. Simply put, she hasn’t bothered. She keeps forgetting. I’m not sure what she’s so preoccupied doing, because it sure as heck isn’t what she’s supposed to be doing.
But there you have it. October 29, and no costume–or even plans to go get one until the 31st at 3 p.m.
So I hatched a plan: to take her to Target and allow her to discover, to her horror, that for some reason no one can explain, the most popular girls’ costume this year is no longer available. And, because all stories have to have a moral, to show her that once and for all procrastination doesn’t pay.
There’s a reason I’m dressing up as Mother Gothel, y’all.
Or is she dressing up as me?
Hmmm. Anyways, after she’d suffered long enough to suit me, I’d whip out the Rapunzel costume I bought months ago and give a long and annoying lecture on responsibility.
That would be almost as fun as watching her melt down in the middle of the store.
So today, we go to Target. I set the mood by warning her: “You’d better hope there’s Rapunzel left.”
“Yeah, I better pray for this,” she says, and launches into supplication.
Now God’s involved. This is gonna be great.
We arrive. The Halloween section is now the empty shelf section, with two microscopic racks of costumes and boxes of encroaching Christmas stuff. She’s not fazed, though. She paws through the rocket ship, pink sailor girl in size 3T, skank witch that she’s not wearing no matter how much she wants it, and Angry Bird costumes. “Maybe there’s something in the next aisle, Mommy?”
Nope, unless you count hot dog costumes for dogs.
“Next aisle, maybe?”
Evergreen wreaths. Ho, ho, ho!
Overeager for mayhem, I speak in tones that I hope will elicit waterworks. “I guess they don’t have Rapunzel anymore?”
“Yeah . . .” A pause.
I can’t breathe.
Then she shrugs. SHRUGS. “Well, whatever,” she says. “I guess I’ll just go as some other princess dress that’s in my dress-up-closet.”
What the HECK?!?!? WHY DID SHE HAVE TO CHOOSE TODAY TO BE RESPONSIBLE?
My life ruined, we walk back to the car. There to her wondering eyes appears a bag containing a costume and a moral, though it doesn’t pack any punch. “You’re the best Mommy ever!” is a weak substitute for caterwauling wails. Still, I painstakingly explain: I had bought it long before, instead of waiting til the last minute. I thought ahead. I was mindful. I was responsible.
“It’s a good thing one of us was responsible,” she observes. Pause. “But you know Mommy, you kind of wasted your time going to Target to look for a costume when you already had bought one . . .”
But that’s not the worst. Later this evening the Maiden dissolved into the most incredibly awful (unrelated) temper tantrum meltdown ever. Like, we haven’t seen one this huge and all-encompassing since she was two. My ears are still ringing. Her face will be red for a week.
It was epic. It registered on the Richter scale.
But it was not fun. We did not chortle. We did not gleefully rub our hands.
Somewhere in the universe, someone is laughing at me.