Last night I babysat my 5-year-old niece and discovered that she has become an expert in the fine art of dawdling. There once was a time when she obeyed my every request with minimal hesitation. That time has ended.
The dawdling was all centered around bedtime. She willingly stopped watching "Monsters, Inc." before it was over when bedtime arrived. I thought I was home free, but I was very wrong. We went upstairs to her room and I asked her to put on her nightgown and brush her teeth.
"Wait!" she said, and ran back downstairs. It turned out she needed to get her pinkeye medicine so I could administer it. That was fine because I didn't even know she was still taking it.
"Okay," I said, "Now put on your nightgown and brush your teeth."
She goofed around with her shirt for several minutes, constantly getting distracted by objects in the room. I got a little more insistent that she hurry up, take off her clothes and put on her nightgown.
She ducked behind her closet door and asked me to hand over the nightie, "But don't look at me."
After another couple of minutes passed, she finally emerged with her nightgown on and I resumed the toothbrushing prompts. But no, first she needed her eyedrops.
I put two eyedrops in each eye and she had to sit up and dab her eyes with a tissue in between each drop. Finally that was over and she slowly put toothpaste on her toothbrush and, with only a few more interruptions, brushed her teeth.
She tried to prolong the process of choosing a book for me to read, but I think my impatience was finally getting through. I read a book about a little girl who pretends she's a fairy, hugged my niece goodnight (to avoid the pinkeye germs), and closed the door...
...then had to immediately open the door and turn the light back on because I'd left my cell phone in the bathroom and, I discovered, also shut their Pomeranian in the room. Oops.
That set the stage for a little extra back-and-forth, but I managed to get the lights turned back out and the door shut. Whew.
The thing is, that was my M.O. as a child in every detail. I was the Queen of Dawdling, whether it involved going to bed, doing chores, getting dressed, or anything else my parents asked me to do. And now karma is reflecting a little of it right back at me. I suppose it's the least I deserve.