I tucked the borrowed hair blower next to my duffel and worked my way to my feet. After licking my fingertips I ran my hands over my black slacks to remove lint from the ivory carpeting. Then I moseyed out to the hall and down to Olivia’s room where Leslie was attempting to clothe the tyke. The rocking chair in the corner had two sweaters draped over each arm and a pair of jeans, a white t-shirt and brown shoes sat on the cushioned seat.
“Go blow your hair dry,” I said to Leslie with a wave of the hand. “I’ll get her dressed. You excited for your birthday party?” I asked a naked Olivia.
“Cinderella’s coming!” she excitedly yelped with a leap.
Leslie slipped out the door and retreated to her bedroom.
“Here. Put your underwear on,” I said as I extended a tiny pair of white cotton briefs dotted with Tinkerbell.
“Those are panties,” Olivia corrected as she fetched them from my hand.
I reached for the white t-shirt and approached her, my hands curling the body up to the neck for ease of assembly. But Olivia proceeded to back away from me.
“I don’t want that,” she explained with a pout and furled brow.
“You have to. The sweater is itchy, see,” I noted as I took the orange woolen sleeve and rubbed it against my cheek, accidentally wiping clean the entire layer of Laura Mercier powder and Nars bronzer I had applied moments before.
“No,” she responded with crossed arms and a head nod reminiscent of I Dream of Jeannie.
“Okay, what do you want to wear?”
Olivia disappeared in her closet and came out with a pair of brown and pink striped tights.
“Fine,” I said as we collected on the floor and pulled them up over her ankles. Then I left her to tug while I turned to grab the jeans.
“But you need a bottom,” I insisted.
“Olivia, these are socks. Very big socks. You need a skirt or pants also,” I reasoned.
“No,” she grumbled while tugging her legs free from the tights. “I wanna wear this,” she said as she held up the orange sweater, a knitted cardigan that hung just past the tush but had all of three buttons by the neck to keep it closed.
“Right but see how there are only a few buttons at the top? Your belly will show and you’ll be cold. Plus it will be itchy. You need to wear pants.”
My mom came through the door just as I was about to slam my head against the bookshelf.
“How’s it going?”
“Your granddaughter wants to wear those tights with that sweater and nothing else. She’ll look like a three year old version of a drunken stripper.
“Olivia,” my mom started as she bent down to grab the tights off the floor. “This is a hat. You can’t wear just a hat,” she argued as she pulled the waistband of the tights over her head, knotting the legs under her chin like a bonnet.
I laughed before stepping back to watch my mom do her thing, a thing that usually works but this time failed. So I left. If my mother couldn’t get this kid dressed, there was no way in heck I was going to be successful. I returned to the guest bedroom to finish putting on my jewelry and to reapply my make up. Ten minutes later, I strolled out to the hallway and passed Olivia’s room. She was on the floor sliding her legs into a pair of bedazzled jeans.
I descended the stairs and stepped into the great room where my mom was clearing off the island for the party.
“Look at you Ms. Miracle Worker,” I said to my mom with a jab.
“What’re you talking about?”
“She’s putting her jeans on. Nice job.”
“Really? I gave up and walked out leaving her there half naked,” she confessed before crunching down on a baby carrot.
Just then Olivia appeared on the landing sporting blue jeans, an orange sweater with her belly fully exposed and sparkly pink Mary Janes.
“I’ll go find a safety pin,” my mom said with a sigh.