Setting: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, January 31, 2015. Our house.
– Prelude –
Dad: Girls! Time for bed!
5-yr-old: Mommy, YOU are putting me to bed and WE are playing dolls!
Me: Fine, go brush your teeth and I’ll meet you in your room.
2-yr-old: [oblviously playing on my iPhone, which she has FINALLY gotten from her older sister. So she is going to play until she DIES. This is about EQUALITY!]
5-yr-old: Mommy, I’m done brushing my teeth. Let’s go.
We settle in her room on her bed and …
– Scene 1 –
Arial: Cinderella! Ursula stole Mini Barbie’s voice! That creeper!
Cinderella: Oh no! How do we break the spell?
Arial: Only true love’s kiss can do it.
Cinderella: Does Mini Barbie have a true love?
Arial: Hmmm. No.
Cinderella: Then how do we break the spell?
Arial: My parents can do it!
Cinderella: Great! We should go to the palace.
Arial: But you and Belle can’t breathe underwater. Here, eat this magic seaweed so you can breath underwater.
Cinderella: I’ve had the magic seaweed before and it tastes gross. Is there another way?
Arial: Hmmm. Try these magic puffer flowers, they taste like candy.
[Cinderella and Belle eat the magic puffer flowers and they all swim off to the underwater palace to find Arial’s parents.]
[Meanwhile, I am completely aware of my youngest wailing in the hall just outside my eldest’s closed bedroom door about having the iPhone taken away and not wanting to brush her teeth. My husband is meanwhile trying to calm her and find her bunny.]
– Scene 2 –
[The dolls arrive at the palace.]
Arial: Oh no! My parents have been kidnapped by Ursula!
Cinderella: Now how will we break the spell?
Arial: I don’t know!
Cinderella: Shall we go rescue your parent’s from Ursula’s lair?
Arial: Great idea, let’s go!
[They all swim off again.]
[Wailing continues from the hallway.]
Arial: We’re here. Let’s go!
Cinderella: Wait, we need a plan. How are we going to rescue your parents?
Arial: How about we magically turn into octopuses?
Cinderella: We can pretend we’re Ursula’s family coming for Sunday dinner. This is brilliant!
[Poof! They all turn into octopuses.]
[Door nob begins to rattle as 2-yr-old tries to come in.]
Arial: Cousin Ursula! We’re here for dinner.
Ursula: Come in! Come in, my family. You mustn’t lurk in doorways.
Arial: Thanks so much! What’s for dinner?
Cinderella: Hey, first can we visit with the prisoners? We heard you’d captured the king and queen of the ocean. Super cool! Everyone is talking about it.
[2-yr-old makes it into room. Wailing inconsolably. Dad follows.]
Dad: Oh. There’s bunny.
2-yr-old: I want to play on your phone. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH.
[2-yr-old crawls on my lap.]
[Meanwhile Arial and the rest of the team are affecting a daring rescue which I totally miss while calming my youngest. I’m sure it was awesome.]
Me: You can play on my phone tomorrow. It’s time to go to bed. Do you want to play dollies with us a little and then go to bed?
5-yr-old: We just rescued Arial’s parents from the sea-witch. Do you want to be Cinderella?
2-yr-old: No. Want Frankie.
5-yr-old: Ok, you can be Ursula.
2-yr-old: No. FRANKIE. Mom, you to put me to bed.
Me: Let’s just play dollies for a few minutes.
2-yr-old [grasping Frankie/Ursula]: Ok.
She wiggles the doll a bit as Arial’s parents [note: not portrayed by dolls, they are simply pretend] break the spell.
[Mini Barbie starts to sing and breaks her spell].
[Cinderella joins the singing].
Arial/5-yr-old: No! You don’t sing mom! ONLY ME!
2-yr-old [while fiddling with Frankie/Ursula’s shoes]: Mom, want YOU to put me to bed NOW.
5-yr-old [with a mild tone of panic]: Mom! She’s going to lose her shoes again!
Dad [from doorway, to 2-yr-old, while I grab both shoes and put them on a nearby shelf]: Come on, let’s go! I have your milk.
[2-yr-old jumps off bed, grabs milk from my husband, says thanks then NOT YOU, and comes back into the room in tears again].
Me to my eldest: Can I put your sister to bed and dad can play dolls with you until I come back?
5-yr-old: Ok, but you’re coming back, right?
[I summarize the plot for my husband, who promptly takes over the roles of Ursula, Cinderella and Belle (who, by this stage, any literary critics will have worked out that, at least in this story, is a completely unnecessary character. Perhaps this is my inability to play two roles at once? I will reflect deeply on this)].
– Intermission –
2-yr-old, bunny and I head into her room, get into bed and read The Bunny Rabbit Show (complete with my singing, at least one daughter enjoys it) and then Little Miss Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (a counting book). I turn on some music, project stars and moon on the wall, and everything is okay with the world.
– Scene 3 –
By the time, I get back to 5-yr-old’s room Ursula is somehow good (wtf?) and all the good dollies were ready to lie down with now good sea witch – who, according to daddy, is super tired because becoming good takes a lot out of someone (okay, brilliant!) – and go to sleep.
Dad leaves, and I’m about to follow when:
5-yr-old: Mom, can you sing to me?
Me: [Heart melting] I’d love to! What should I sing?
5-yr-old: The Gummy Bear Song.
Me: I don’t know the words, how about something else?
5-yr-old: How about we watch it on your iPhone and then I’ll go to sleep. Please? I PROMISE.
Me [defeated]: Let me get the iPhone.
Here it is:
But I stood firm when, after this one, she asked for Let it Go.
And bedtime routine – for one night – chez-nous, was over.