Tuesday, June 15, 2004

The Golden Girls

For painfully obvious reasons, I miss the girls' babysitter. However, she had a nasty habit of politely ignoring my well-articulated rants about the Cult of Barbie. Which is how Risa and Vida ended up with a mermaid Barbie and accompanying Barbie swimming pool. The Barbie, at least, is brown, but because of her sparkling purple fin, she can't stand up; she can only loll about looking tropically lovely. I try to keep these two toys at the bottom of the toybox, so to speak.

But it was warm here yesterday, and after listening to twenty minutes of the most annoying whining and pleading I had ever heard in my life (or at least in the last two days), I agreed to let the girls take their stupid little Barbie swimming pool onto the porch and fill it with water. They ran to the garage to retrieve their three kid-sized adirondack chairs. They positioned these carefully around the pool, and I gave them each a cup of water to dump into the thing. They did a brief round-robin storytelling session in which someone played Barbie's sister, Barbie's prince, and Barbie's mother. Then Vida tossed Barbie into the water and, since that is basically all you can do with Barbie and her swimming pool (it's no "learning toy," after all), they soon grew bored.

Feeling a solid fifteen minutes of freedom about to slip through my hands, I sprinted into the house and re-appeared with every little role-playing toy I could find: an entire army of zoo animals, several dinosaurs, three crawling babies, Simba, Mufasa, Nala, Rafiki, and the Run-DMC action figures (complete with turntable) so thoughtfully bestowed on them by their Uncle Matt. I more or less tossed these things through the French doors like they were steak. Thankfully, the girls reacted like lions. Yes!

I tip-toed to my writing perch and sat pounding keys while keeping an ear tuned to the porch. For thirty solid minutes, my sweet daughters spun artful tales of violence and mayhem: animals drowned, babies fell off of buildings, Nala lost an ear and was spurned by Simba, the dinosaurs ran out of plants and ate each other, Run-DMC sparred with hyenas, the giraffe's neck was injured by the same hunters who killed Bambi's mother. And then...and then...silence. "You guys okay?" I yelled.

Still silent. I got up and took a look outside. Each girl was reclined in her adirondack chair with eyes closed, face turned towards the sun, and both feet in the pool. I had a vision then, both comforting and disturbing. It was of them, eighty years from now living together in a Florida condo. With a pool, of course.

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