I took Xena along with me for a pedicure.
Usually, I don't take her along when I go for pedicures, eyebrow threading or haircuts. She gets bored and restless and I feel helpless and stressed, strapped in my chair. It's usually not a very easy or enjoyable experience, trying to keep track of where your kid is headed and where your right eyebrow is headed. So usually I hand her over to Viv on a cricket-less weekend and go, or I just shrug my shoulders, say 'chuck it' and carry on living my life as Kroor Singh from Chandrakanta.
But yesterday, I told myself, "She's four. It's high time she learns to sit down and wait." I was in dire need of a long-due pedicure (Nail art on the fingernails is one thing; I like to do it by myself, but pedicures are best left to the professionals.) and my partner in most of such crimes, Clueless, was available. (Pedicures are SO much more fun when you go in twos or threes, isn't it?)
A small voice in my head was warning me that taking her along might result in disaster, but I was so glad I ignored it. Because, believe it or not, the three of us HAD A BALL. It was the most entertaining pedicure session I'd ever had in my life. Not only did Xena sit and wait patiently, she got involved. Her running commentary was making my pedicurist laugh so much, she almost nicked my toe. "So cute", she remarked. I wanted to retort with a "Totally. Cutie-cle, in fact." But I resisted. I didn't know what they did with customers who made bad nail puns. Paint only five toenails and send them off, probably.
Of course, Xena had a gazillion questions for the pedicurists and me.
"Is this hot water?"
"Is it very hot?"
"Can I touch it?"
"Why are you putting your feet in hot water?"
"Can I also put my feet in?"
"Are these real nails or fake?"
"Why is Aunty wearing a mask?"
"What are you drinking?"
"Why did Aunty give you a cookie with tea?"
"Can I have the cookie?"
"This cookie is not nice. Can you eat it?"
"Can I also get a pedicure?"
"Can you ask Aunty if she has children's nail polish?"
Clueless was about 15 minutes late, so my pedicure was slightly ahead of hers.
Xena was keenly observing the difference in stages. She pointed squarely at Clueless' pedicurist and loudly remarked, "WHY IS THIS AUNTY SO SLOW?"
Xena also helped us pick the colours for our toenails. Mine was straightforward because I'd shortlisted it down to three and let her pick the final one. Clueless was more, erm, 'open'.
Clueless - Xena, can you help me pick a colour for my toenails?
Xena - Yes. What colour do you want?
Clueless - Errr... you pick for me, baby.
Xena - Any colour?
Clueless - Yes. But something light.
Xena - YELLOW!
Clueless - Errr...
As we waited for my nail polish to dry, my pedicurist asked Xena, "How old are you?" Xena went into 'shy mode' and tried to hide in my lap. So I did what I always do when this happens. "She's THIRTY-FIVE. Aren't you?" Xena immediately emerged to correct me. "Nooooo. I'm FOUR." Works like a charm. Every time.
"Do you have any brothers or sisters?" my pedicurist asked next.
I was curious about what she would say, because I don't think she'd encountered this question before.
"No," she said without batting an eyelid. "Just a fish."
And so, we stepped out, with pretty feet and happy hearts, and a cheerful little girl in tow.
The future looks bright. And full of stress-free pedicures and haircuts.