We used to take Lily for O.T. on the weekends. It got to be too much, juggling OT/PT and speech there and at school, and wrap, but for a while it was almost a nice break to drop her off someplace where they "got her" and go sit down for a cup of coffee, read the paper, or a book, then go pick her up. My wife and I would arm wrestle for it and sometimes she’d let me win.
One Saturday, I had finished my caffe americano (god it makes me self-conscious to order a caffe amaricano. . . but you can't just order "coffee. . . just a fucking normal goddamn coffee, you pretentious bitch" at Starbucks or they get all offended), closed my copy of Wicked, unbent my stiffening legs and exited Starbucks. I tossed my paper cup, complete with protective corrogated paper grip, in the garbage and went to my car.
What the hell were all those people doing in the parking lot? It's a fucking strip mall for godsake. I drove along the strip of stores on the way to pick Lily up and saw. . .a make-shift petting zoo! SWEET! She'll love that, I thought.
I was right too. At least sorta. . . it was still a bad idea. I picked up my angel and drove back toward the petting zoo. I found a parking spot and retrieved my daughter from her car seat.
HEY! It was the Easter Bunny, or at least somebody wearing a bunny outfit. All six feet of sparkly-vested, smiling Furrie! I suppose that’s as good a petting zoo mascot as any. Lily was entranced.
"BUGGY!" she shrieked.
"Yeah, baby, it's the Easter Bunny," I translated. We'll go check him out when the line dies down a little," I assured her.
There was a woman with a polaroid handing out free pictures of the bashful children standing with the Bunny. We made our way past her to the far side of the petting zoo. I figured we'd save the bunny for our climactic exit.
"Gerger Buggy!" she shrilled, happily.
"I know, baby, it's the Easter Bunny, we're going to see him in just a minute, okay?" I reassured, "Look, there's a llama!" I pointed to the chocolate brown llama. He was fuzzy and exotic looking. She didn't follow my finger.
"GERGER BUGGY!" she said, sounding frantic. Daddy was taking her further and further from the Easter Bunny.
"In a minute, baby, let's pet the animals."
"BUGGY! I wan' BUGGY!" she struggled in my arms. I put her down and she immediately tore off toward the Easter Bunny.
Christ! I gathered her up in my arms and went, at last, to see the Bunny. Fortune favored me, no children were in line. I put her down on the ground like a child places an already spinning remote control car. . . her little wheels were churning in an attempt to walk across the air to get at the bunny. When her little black mary janes hit the asphalt there was an audible squeal and the smell of burnt rubber as she layed tracks to reach him.
"Lily," I said. She was intent upon investigating the bunny and had no time for daddy. "Lily!" I repeated.
"Lillllllly," the woman holding the polaroid sang. Lily turned from the bunny to look curiously at the new voice and the woman, blessed with the reflexes of a jungle cat, caught the picture before Lily returned to the subject of her affection.
The woman handed me the picture and I took it and thanked her. She smiled.
I joined my daughter. Children were starting to queue behind us. She was not easily persuaded to leave the bunny behind. I dug in her bag for fruit snacks. I bought myself about 45 seconds of peace, provided I didn't attempt to pick her up and move her further than 5 feet from the bunny. But it did at least allow the other kids to greet the bunny.
Fruit snacks exhausted. . . I scooped her up and told her to tell the Bunny "bye bye". That was when all hell broke loose.
She had no interest in ponies or llamas, goats or chickens. She wanted the fucking Gerger Buggy. My attempts at "redirecting" her were . . . "not effective". There was slapping and biting.
I'm glad I did it though looking back at it. The first three to five minutes of the car ride home were not pleasant, but she settled down, and we relived the glory of her meeting with the bunny. She spoke about him happily.
"Gerger buggy," she sighed.
"Yeah, baby, you got to see the Easter Bunny!" I replied.
When we got home I scanned the polaroid and printed out another picture. Then I gave Lily the polaroid and she held it to her chest. She tore spindled and mutilated it in accordance with her unique nature. Then she gave it to me to hold, as she does with ALL her most precious possessions. I draped her blankets over my shoulder, and transferred Barney from one hand to the other so I could hold the picture.
Lily likes furries.