"That's not nice," I told Smallest One when she perched on my lap and told me about her evening. "Would you like it if someone pinched you?"
"Eli didn't pinch me," she explained, looking exhausted by my inability to understand a simple story. "I pinched Eli."
"Yes," I replied, unsuccessfully attempting to hide a smile. "But we don't pinch boys. It's not polite."
"He wouldn't help us," she told me, scrunching her face into a frown. "So I pinched him." I opened my mouth, considered my next statement and closed my mouth again. Then I shrugged and told her I understood.
But I did not pinch Doug when he called for an impromptu evening out. Instead, I was flattered he thought of me and took the hour he'd offered to shower and dress and curl my hair. I applied makeup (lipstick instead of lip gloss which never happens). And I scampered to open the door in my pointy-toe heels and adjusted the pretty silver belt over my little black dress and smiled in greeting.
When he suggested that I might be overdressed, I turned to look at him and blinked down at my date-like outfit. After confirming that I should change, I ran upstairs and put on jeans and began to giggle. When he suggested it was icy and I might slip in my heels, I exchanged them for adorable flats, tugged on a casual jacket and followed him out the door for a truly pleasant evening with a man I enjoy. I didn't even pinch him when he argued with me over squirrels versus chipmunks on Christmas displays. ("They have bushy tails!" I cried in protest.)
Chienne saw a bulldog friend when we went outside to walk today and greeted him with great enthusiasm. I tried to chat with his grandmother while intermittently scolding my dog.
"We're struggling," I told her, catching myself before I fell down on the ice. "She keeps going in people's yards and pulling on me. And now she's wrestling poor Rover."
I shrugged and almost fell down again when she said that was fine. She must not have liked when he sniffed at her.
"That," I replied, tugging at my leash, "is not excuse for being mean. Stop being mean!"
I am not mean to Will when he insists upon being a busy bunny. I do not demand that he pick a day and time to get together. Or send email promptly. Or to stop ignoring me in general! No, I imagine him with a twitching nose and floppy gray ears and smile at the mental cuteness. It's fine to hop around casually, even if it does hurt my plan-oriented brain a little. Instead, I force myself to be easy-going and when that gets difficult, I call him a silly rabbit. And go on about my life, interested (but not obsessed) in what might happen next. I like bunnies.
"And you'll actually do it?" I asked Adam, hoping I didn't get scolded, but sometimes he's also a bit of a busy bunny and forgets to execute on plans. "Because I'm happy to do it for you."
He rolled his eyes and refused, making me roll my eyes and pout in return. But when - 6 weeks later - he asked me to go ahead and take care of said 'it'? I gritted my teeth and took deep breaths.
And reminded myself to be nice.