This week’s ‘Red Writing Hood’ assignment was: Do you know what you want most? Does your character? Write a piece of 600 words or less… If this is your first time reading one of my prompted TRDC stories, I encourage you to go visit The Red Dress Club website for details on this writing club.
As always, I welcome constructive criticism.
Her hands had been losing the tell-tale chubbiness for some time. Her teeth had all come in. Running was no longer a challenge; it was the preferred method of transportation when my shoulders weren’t available. She was beginning to ‘collect’ rather than ‘amass’. The little thing was growing up well—too fast, but well.
We hoped that her toys would start making their way into the more sophisticated shapes of Barbie-styled dolls and wished almost daily not to be assaulted by primary colors when we entered her room. Yet, despite all of that, it was hard to watch. Of course they can’t stay too little for too long, but our selfish sides longed for just one more day of sweet breath and pristine innocence.
Instead, she became enthralled with Polly Pockets and other micro-dolls. Maybe she simply thought they were cute. Maybe she needed to feel equivocally larger than the items she controlled. After all, engaging with me normally involved having to crane her neck as high as she could or waiting for me to lumber down to her level. Her 3 and 4T pants were still too long for her legs. I stood six feet even.
We did everything we could to steer her from them. We offered up packages containing sequined ball gowns and tiaras. We attempted to explain that the statuesque, All-American girl would be easier to keep track of. Not a chance.
And so it became a daily, emotionally taxing ritual. She would tootle off to play. We would enjoy the silence—briefly…
It usually started with a grunt or a sigh. It got louder. And louder still. Then the tension could be heard. The chagrin began to manifest. Then anger; normally accompanied by tears. I tried not to interfere. She needed to learn. I would let it get so far, then, as I could hear everything begin to bubble over, I would go check on her—if she had not already come to me, tear-streaked and red-faced.
“The clothes won’t work, daddy…” she managed through her anger—her tone scornful and bordering disrespect.
“It does work. I have shown you a hundred times…” I always replied—often frustrated at her frustration. “You have to move her arms like this, and then put it on…” I demonstrated. “You need to settle down or put them away and do something else.”
“Well then you need to figure this out. If you do it like I told you, it will work. If you get frustrated and mad like this, then you don’t need to play with these or get any more.”
She would sniffle once or twice more and run off to her room again to continue playing—to continue trying so hard to feel like she was becoming a big girl, but being held back by situations beyond her control. She just didn’t possess the understanding that regardless of her love for them, her dexterity had not yet caught up to her vision of how the world and all the little things in it should work for her.
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