It all started because of that damned Barbie. Seriously.
Way back in the early fall, I gave the kidlet a toy catalog to look at. Normally when I did this, the catalog would register as much importance to her as my having given her a wet sock. But alas, turning 3 does seem to make a kid pay more attention to such things. She attacked that little book with singular focus.
She flipped through the pages pointing out things she liked with accompanying "ooohs" and "wows" sound effects. It was cute. But then she came upon a section featuring ride-on cars, Power Wheels, I believe they are called. Her sound effects raised a few decibels as she perused the display. She then pointed eagerly at the pink Mustang convertible. Well, let me be more precise...she pointed at the pink Barbie Mustang convertible.
"Mommy, can I have that car?" she asked with the eagerness of a puppy waiting for you to throw his favorite toy.
"What car?" I stalled, hoping that her gnat-like attention span would kick in.
"This car!" she gestured frenetically toward the pink abomination, "The pink car!"
"Well let's see," I said feigning deep consideration. I shook my head sadly after staring for what seemed like an appropriate amount of time at the unfortunate car. "Oh no, Zizi, I'm sorry. You can't have that car. That car is a Barbie car and we don't allow Barbie in our house. She is the Antichrist," I explained with appropriate gravitas.
"The annykris?" she replied quizzically.
"Yep," I said nodding slowly. "The Antichrist. Barbie is evil."
"But Mommy, I really like that car," she trailed off wistfully.
"Well, Zizi," I said, rallying, as I hoped to stave off a whine-fest, "If you want to get a car, you can get the red car instead." I pointed to the male version of the Mustang that showed no signs of the Antichrist. "That car is much better."
"I can have the red car?" she brightened.
"Well you can ask Santa for it for Christmas since that's a big present." (Yeah, big on my wallet...)
"OK, Mommy. I want the red car. The red car is the good car. Not the pink car. OK?"
"Sure, sweetie. Just remember to ask Santa about it," I concluded, already forgetting my victory over Barbie.
Time went on, and I was absolutely certain that the red car request would disappear like all the other I wants we've experienced on various shopping trips.
"I want that!" she exclaims pointing at an electronics set.
"Zizi, you don't even know what that is?!"
"Yes Mommy. It's a present and I want it."
Sigh...move along Zara.
But I turned out to be horribly, astronomically wrong about this red car. This red car was the present to end all presents. This red car became the burning passion of her very soul! OK, so I'm being dramatic, but it did occupy a good portion of her 3 year old mentation.
Discussions about the red car would turn up at odd times. In the middle of our nightly fight about eating dinner, she'd say, "If I don't eat, I won't get my red car, right?" And AdoringHusband and I would use it to our advantage like, "No, no red car if you don't eat a good dinner."
We were heading to the movies and suddenly she'd say, "I can't wait to get my red car!" While playing outside with her friends, she regales them with the wonder-to-be of her red car. The moment I put out Christmas decorations and the countdown-to-Christmas snowman calendar, she chanted, "I'm going to get my red car soon!" The hubs and I were stunned. We're thinking to ourselves the whole time, how did this one thing so embed itself in her consciousness?
She visited Santa. What did she say? "Please bring me my red car and not any coal!" (Yeah, we'd been working the hell out of that Santa's going to bring her coal if she doesn't behave rap.)
Sigh...so what's a parent to do when your child has an idée fixe like this? Well, you go and buy her the damn red car. (I can't have her going to a therapist 20 years from now saying, "My life went downhill after my parents refused to buy me my red car! I could never recover from that trauma!" )
With a lot of cursing and swearing, I managed to get it home after two trips to Sears. (The first time I couldn't figure out how to detach the car seat so that I could get the seat to go flat. Had to drive back home and get AdoringHusband to do it, then return to the store.) He took it down to the basement after she went to bed, and there it stayed until Christmas. (There was a funny moment when I said she could come down to the basement with me to get more decorations, and then suddenly realized that there was a ginormous box with a red car she was bound to see. I sent her back upstairs after telling her something about mutant possums being congregated by the far wall...Hey, that was the best I could come up with on the fly!)
On Christmas Eve AdoringHubby assembled the darn thing but we opted to leave it in the basement until Christmas. Yet as the big day arrived, the kid got so many presents that she had to take a break in the middle of opening her gifts, then resume after she was sufficiently rested. By the time we started opening the boxes sent from distant relatives, girlfriend was done. "More presents?! she whined. (No, she's not spoiled...she's just an only child...yeah, that's it.)
Because she was so tired of presents (and because her parents had indulged in pineapple/mango juice with prosecco for most of the morning), we weren't in any rush to bring up the red car. She spent the afternoon and evening happily playing with all her goodies, never once asking for the red car. We were like, wow, she actually forgot about the red car!
Then came the snow. So AdoringHusband and I were like, we'll leave the car downstairs since she can't ride it anyway until the snow melts. Two days later, with snow still covering the ground, Zizi starts talking to me about her red car.
"Mommy, I'm going to have so much fun with my new red car!" she said gleefully.
"But Zizi, Christmas is over. Did Santa bring you a red car?"
"Not yet," she said slyly.
This had me scratching my head. Had she actually gone downstairs and seen the red car? She couldn't have. The basement is still blocked off by a gate she can't open. So what's going on, I wondered.
"Honey, it looks like Santa didn't give you the red car. And he won't be back until NEXT December," I tried again.
"It's OK, Mommy. When I have my red car I'm going to go 'vroom, vroom!'"
It was as if my words weren't even penetrating.
By December 31st we still hadn't brought up the car. That night as I was putting her to bed, we opened her 2011 Dora the Explorer calendar. In the front there were questions about her that needed to be entered. I decided to act as scribe.
"Who is in your family?"
"Mommy, Daddy and Zara," she replied quickly.
"How old are you?" She held up 3 fingers.
"What's the best thing about your family?"
"My red car."
"Your red car?!" I sputtered. "You don't have a red car!"
"OK," she grinned. "My family gives good kisses and hugs." I entered that on the form.
"What do you like to do best?"
"Drive my red car!" she giggled at me.
I threw my hands up in utter frustration. She was just being stubborn...or was she? (That's the thing with Zizi. You just never know.)
Yesterday, after we had a good melting of the snow, we (finally) told her that Santa had left her an extra present down in the basement.
"What is it?" she asked, with near ecstasy.
"Let's go outside and see," I replied.
And there she found the object of her insatiable desire...her red car.
I still don't know whether she had an inkling that we had gotten her the car or whether she was just demonstrating her singleminded stubbornness, fixed in the belief that she WOULD have this car. But whatever it was, she is now an even happier little girl.
I still think this entire escapade was, however, Barbie's fault. That's my story and I'm sticking with it.