Monday, April 14, 2008

Wonder GIRL

Another everyday Moona story:

We were in Target, or rather trying somehow to get out of Target. I push the stroller holding Buru daintily picking raisins out of a tiny box, nested amongst the assorted shopping bags, purse, and diaper bag hanging from the handles (we had walked a half-mile, stopping at different stores, me trying to get my exercise and shopping done all at once, with a single stroller instead of the double. Poor, foolish umee.)

I trek to the children's sock section, our last stop, which seems ever so far away because every fifteen seconds I must stop and coax Wonder Girl to keep up. She stops at every mirror and corner to do a heel click, sweep some shirts off a rack, or stroke a mannequin's hand. With all the times I threaten to leave her, my dear child could have abandonment issues when she grows up (mental note: STOP threatening to leave her in the store). For the time being, however, she seems to care less.

I always leave grocery stores and libraries thinking one thing, "Why? Why? WHY DID I COME HERE?"

The guilt at trying to yell out of my eyes and threaten her with no more milk kicked in as we were looking for a checkout lane, and I started thinking of something nice to do for her--or was it for me? I remembered the promised hairband.

Moona has been wearing what used to be a pink beaded hairband, a rediscovered gift from Khala Geena, but she peeled the ribbon off, lost the beads, and it became a murky piece of grey plastic with globs of dried yellow glue stuck to it. She wore it everyday for two weeks, and even slept with it. Then she left it at someone’s house a couple days ago.

“TOKA!” she gasped, jolting in her carseat, twenty minutes after we left the house. I promised to get her another one sometime, thankful the cherished plastic scrap was gone.

So we run together quickly to the hair accessories aisle, Wonder Girl suddenly complacent and cooperative, focused on our quest. We find a set of five pastel headbands and, yes, one of them is pink.

$2.50 buys me a happy kid and a guilt suppressant with good-mommy feelings, all perishable of course.

In the parking lot, Wonder Girl skips at my side; the breeze blows through her hair and makes her dress balloon out. She suddenly exclaims, “Umee, Ana bint! Umee, I am a girl!”

I am used to these random, dawning realizations. “Yes, you are!”

But I don't quite realize what she is thinking until we are in the car. She tears the plastic off of the headbands, unwraps the five, puts three on her head, one after the other. She sits back in her carseat, three hairbands on her head, looks out the window, and declares contentedly,

Alaaan asbahtu bintan.” “Now, I am a girl.”

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