My girls and boy were without their mother for a few hours last night. After a dinner of dosa and tomato chutney at my in-laws, I left the kids in capable hands for a night out with good friends and stunning Stella and Dot jewelry. Enjoying myself way too much, I stayed out past my pre-authorized curfew.
When I finally came to claim them past their bedtime, my kids were sure to impress upon me their disapproval. Their interrogation was immediate.
"Where were you?"
"Who else was there?"
"What were you doing?"
"What took you so long?"
Trying to break it down kiddie style, my only defense was that I was having too much fun playing and couldn't pull myself away. This they could relate to. Every time we meet up with friends and departure time draws nigh, the 5 minute warning rings out. "Five more minutes, guys. Then it's time to go!"
As every mom knows, every '5 minute warning' if followed by the '5 minutes more' plea. And, because most moms know by now to build in a cushion of time allowing for such pleas, they are (usually) rewarded with their five minutes more.
So, my defense played out a little like this:
"Mama Dina and Dress-up Dina were having a great time - great laughs, great food, great friends. Mama Dina kept a close eye on Dress-up Dina, reminding her often of the time. Dress-up Dina was having a ball, pretending herself the great Cinderella adorned in free jewelry her fairy godmother had loaned her. Each vintage inspired piece was better than the next. The earrings, the necklaces, and bracelets, oh my! Each guest admired the pretend princess and in turn the pretend princess oohed and aahed over each piece her friends tried on, theirs too borrowed from our shared fairy godmother. We complimented and critiqued and laughed and laughed some more.
"Mama Dina quietly spoke up. She gave her 5 minute warning to Dress-up Dina and Dress-up Dina pleaded for 5 minutes more. Then, another 5 minutes and then another. Finally, Mama Dina had had enough. She picked up Dress-up Dina, grabbed her wallet, phone, and keys and placed her in the car to bring back here to you.
"And, here, my fine folks, I am."
A simple explanation with nothing but the facts. But explained in a way each munchkin to relate to. Understanding the pain of pulling oneself away from such fun, each silently forgave me as their questions faded into quiet snores from their seats inside my giant pumpkin carriage.
With Mama Dina in control of the horsepower, Dress-up Dina relived her magical memories and dreamed of how proud her Prince Charming would be once he found out that she didn't pay the $372 required to bring her fantastical jewelry home.
Because of the wise choices our pretend princess exercised throughout the night, they were all sure to live happily ever after.