Monday, June 23, 2008

Have I Told You I Unheart You, Mom?

Saturday morning my eldest daughter and I had a skirmish over her Polly Pocket Collection.

For those blissfully uninitiated into the World of Polly Pockets, "My Pollies," as my daughter affectionately calls them, are miniature Barbie-like dolls--less busty, perhaps--with stretchy plastic clothes and tiny little shoes and accessories.

Our daughter first fell in love with these infuriating little vixens when she was about two years old, when her interactions with the dolls consisted of bringing them to us for outfit donning or removal. If you're the parent of a little girl between the ages of two and eight, then you've likely uttered nasty expletives while wrestling a centimeter-sized rubber skirt onto a rubber two-inch Tart. Or you won't allow Polly Pockets in your home. More Power To You.

The benefit of Polly Pockets is that three years after her first foray into Polly's World, she's still happily wandering around in there. In terms of toy acquisition, we've been able to draft off the Polly Collection, adding few accessories over the years. Our firstborn spends hours, even days, making up stories and variously rearranging her Pollies inside her Disney Castle (Santa Gift '06). If we are gone for a day, or (gasp!) overnight, she runs into her bedroom First Thing to reacquaint herself with the Pollies she left behind.

It's kind of cute, when it's not emotional.

On Saturday morning, shortly after getting up, she was inexplicably tired. Tired as in, I just woke up but I need to go back to bed RIGHT NOW. Yet if my mom figures this out I will deny my exhaustion.

Hence, her irrationalism hit me late in the game.

The saga began when she asked me to search through her Bucket O' Pollies for some inscrutable object. I could not determine what she wanted; she could not meaningfully describe it. And there was no way I was pawing through a foot of rubbery Polly-ness to find some Plastic Mattel Holy Graille in the form of a Polly Purse. I told her, YOU FIND IT.

Her bad mood beginning to reveal itself, she lay down on the carpet and moaned, "No, YOU. YOU, Mommy. YOU," in a most annoying voice. I held firm, refusing to assist in a mission whose objective was getting lost by now in the Battle of Wills.

In frustration, she finally dumped her entire Polly Pocket Bin onto the floor. And then cried about the mess she had created. Her little sister, in an attempt to escape the scene of Polly Landslide, stepped on a sharp plastic Polly accessory and began wailing too.

In a predictable twist, prostrated/frustrated daughter changed the tune of her relentless lament to a whiny "I WANT A SNAAAAAAAAAAAACK," to which I responded, "Not until all the Pollies are back in the box."

Before she could begin pleading with me to HEEEEEEEEEEEEELP her, I realized this was the moment to take my shower, to drown out the whimpering, to see what unfolded during three minutes of relative alone-ness: Polly Clean-Up? Or Heightened Ululations?

Imagine my surprise when I turned off the shower and stepped out of the tub to find a note, sort of crumpled and left strategically for me on the sink.

One look at the illustration gave me an inkling this was my first Mom Hate Mail: a heart, emphatically X-ed out. There was mysterious writing above it: "EVEBUDUHAZ" and her name.

My daughter, silent now, but petulant, blurted that her note meant "EVERYBODY HATES ME."

Thoroughly amused, and impressed with my daughter's invented spelling, I mused, "Huh. So, when we are having fun, playing with you and snuggling you, do we hate you?"

"No, not when you are having fun with me. Only when you want me to clean up."

It's just the beginning.

So many more avenues for communication yet unexplored!

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