While Shannon took Genevieve up to Minneapolis for Gigi's tests yesterday, I stayed home with Julia. Only we didn't stay home; we went downtown, with me pedaling my trusty bike and Julia riding gamely in our bike trailer, the same trailer that up to now she's never liked, even on a short ride around the block.
Downtown, we first hit the coffeeshop for a snack. Owing to where the bike racks are, this required Julia to walk past her nemesis, Hot Dog Man, an oversized mural painted on the wall next to the hot-dog stand. Though she tried to walk while covering her eyes with her hands, she had to sneak a glance (as she does every time), and discovered (as she does every time) that HDM ain't that bad. Stumbling into passers-by, she exclaimed, "I yike Hot Dog Man now! And I even yike the wig!"
At the coffeeshop - locus of our small-town world - we chatted with a friend, chose a cranberry-orange scone (not the "chocowit chip" one someone preferred), and then went outside to find a seat on the old movie-theatre seats along the sidewalk. The flip-up seats were a bit confusing, but once she got situated, she was fine. Until a Carleton student sat down next to her, inspiring some stare-straight-ahead anxiety and reminding me of how terrifying it was, as a little kid, to have to sit next to someone I didn't know. I turned Julia toward me so that she couldn't see him, which allowed her to resume chomping away on her rice cake, packing away the craisins, and slurping big draughts of ice water. Just as she was finishing her food, his powerfully bad smell hit me. Maybe the showers on his floor aren't working too well, or soap's too expensive, ore the sheen on his cut-off shorts was dirt, not the fabric's finish. It was all I could do to down the rest of the scone and, as Julia says, "Hit the woad."
On our way to the library, we swung through the bookstore, and Julia discovered a very cool book on pirates, albeit one aimed at tween boys, not almost-three-year-old girls. She was more curiously perplexed by it than anything, but she actually rather liked the picture of Blackbeard, especially the matches in his beard. When we finally left and went across the street to the library, Julia announced with glee, "Daddy, I turned into Bwackbeard!" She then pretended to be the fearsome pirate for the rest of the adventure: while doing puzzles at the kid's table, while talking to her favorite library volunteer, and over a long walk along city streets to the point (6/10ths of a mile east) where she decided to get back in the trailer for the quick ride home for lunch. She assumed some other identities, such as her alter-ego "Mulia," a puppy named Stick Bark Twig, and Elmo, but most of the time she was just "a nice Bwackbeard. I don't steal fings. I don't go to jail." If I'd had a jolly roger to fly from the trailer, I would have.
Four hours later, when she woke up from her consequent, monumentally-long nap, she immediately and cheerily announced, "Daddy, I'm still Bwackbeard! I'm still a pirate! Arr!"