On Friday night, my niece came to our house for a sleepover. She's six-and-a-half and, as my sister puts it, behaves pretty much "like a real person" in social situations now.
My husband and I took her to dinner at Red Robin and did our best to tune out the deafening din of the other patrons. Even my niece said, "Those kids are loud!"
After dinner, we went to the grocery store to stock up on junk food (Chips Ahoy and mint chocolate Dibs) and then on to Blockbuster to get a movie to finish out the night's activities. My niece was immediately torn between "Barbie and the 12 Dancing Princesses" and a Bratz movie.
"Hey, let's see what else they have!" I said. "How about 'Wallace and Gromit?'"
We walked down both aisles of the Family section but nothing had more appeal than the cheesy doll tie-ins. I could see that I would only have enough influence to steer her toward the lesser of the two evils. We brought home the "Barbie" movie.
The next day, we got up early and went to breakfast. After that, my niece put on her "Hollywood starlet" Halloween costume and we went to a nursing home to join my community service organization in throwing a party for the residents.
We finished the morning's activities with an early lunch at a nearby cafe. The service was dreadfully slow, but my niece behaved like a perfect little lady, chatting with the other club members and hardly fidgeting at all when it took forever for the food to arrive.
On the way home, we got into a conversation about how different things were when I was a kid compared to now. She could hardly believe that we only had ONE television when I was little, and that it was black and white.
When it came time to drop her off at home, she thanked me for a fun weekend without any prompting from her father. We definitely need to hang out together more often.