city living

So, yesterday afternoon Whit and I picked Grace up from school for a jam-packed afternoon of errand fun. We went to get Grace’s hair cut at Floyd’s, a nouveau-slash-old-school barber shop around the corner. As we drove there, the depth of Grace’s bad mood revealed itself. She was trying to tell me a story about how they had not had literacy that day at school because both teachers were out and KMG was bravely steered by not one but two subs. Whit kept jumping in, as is his wont, with random commentary (“hey! a policeman! hey! look! a digger! hey! do you think that doggie is that other doggie’s mommy?” etcetera. ad nauseum.)

Grace finally started crying and said, “Mummy! Please make Whitty stop talking!!!” And so I said, “Whit, please stop interrupting your sister.” To which he said, “I am not interrupting!” (ok, whatever). Grace started crying more loudly, that whining-crying that is my absolute favorite. “Grace!” I raised my voice, “Please! Stop crying!” And then Whit chimed in, even louder, tooting his own horn proudly, “Mummy! I am not crying!” And then Grace, louder yet, “I just want some peace and quiet!!!” (I know the feeling.)

Anyway, the afternoon was off to a stellar start already. You can see how cheerful Grace was by the time she was in the chair and smock. The haircut took forever, and was punctuated by not one but two of the other “stylists” coming by to comment on “my God how much hair that child has!” Yes. I know. (a) I have it too and (b) you try washing it with only a tupperware container to dump water onto it for rinsing.

Whit was full of questions about why the barber chairs had ashtrays in the arms … talk about old school. I was remembering how airplanes too used to offer this feature. It’s amazingly hard for me to imagine an airplane full of people smoking now! He was also mesmerized by a large poster of Fergie on the wall, complete with bare midriff and knit cap. Literally mesmerized. I was kind of expecting him to walk up to it and kiss her belly button.

Grace and Whit were offered stickers or tattoos and like Mommy Dearest I made them each pick only one. The stylists said, oh, no, they can have both! And I said, no, pick one. I could just see the tattooed 23 year olds rolling their eyes at each other: what a hardass. Yeah, I guess so.

After Floyd’s we drove to the gas station to get the Volvo inspected. This is one of those domestic chores that for some reason I am super spacey about. Spacey until you get slapped with a ticket. So we dropped the car off and walked a couple of blocks to Barefoot Books. Where we read a chapter of a book about pirates that was called “Pirate Grace.” I can’t stop thinking about the Somalian pirates now. The conflation of little kid cartoon pirates with red bandannas and eye patches with a scary machine gun toting Somalian is hard for me!

We went home and I let the animals out into the back yard. I was about three bites into my cheddar cheese when I heard a weird rattling outside. I asked them what they were doing and Grace told me they were playing with the “instruments” they had made the day before. Instruments. By that she was referring to two diet coke cans and one beer can filled with pebbles and taped shut. Maracas. Wow. Doesn’t take much to entertain these children of mine! I felt some combination of delight, pride, and horror.

Grace even brought out her American Girl Doll (an overnight, full-fledged obsession) and parked her in an empty shipping box to observe the action. My poor and wonderful city children. Entertained by the gas station, the barber shop stickers, and an empty can full of pebbles. Am I depriving them? Eek. I don’t know. But they sure are entertaining.