Edith was a tiny toddler with an old lady’s name. She may have been small in size, but she was big in letting people know what she wanted (and didn’t want).
Edith was maybe two years old. Her mother seemed to be in her early 20s. The mother looked like maybe she was a punk or a traveling kid who’d settled down a bit after having a baby. Of course, we were in Northern New Mexico where one can settle down a little after having a kid without becoming a soccer mom. (I didn’t know Edith or her mother, so I’m pretty much making up stories about them based on the moment we spent in each other’s presence.)
My sibling and I encountered Edith and her mother at a hot spring. They were in the process of leaving as we arrived. At least the woman was ready to leave. She was already out of the water, dried, and dressed. Edith was still in the hot water. Edith did not want to get out of the hot water.
The mother talked to Edith in a very calm voice. Edith, it’s time to get out of the water now. It’s time to dry off and get dressed.
Edith replied, No way!
My sibling and I got undressed and eased ourselves into the soothing warmth of the natural pool.
The mother continued to try to reason with the toddler. It’s time to go, Edith, she said. We have to leave now so we can get to the potluck in time.
No way! Edith responded.
Edith, her mother said, a hint of exasperation sneaking into her still calm and quiet voice, we decided that going to this potluck is what’s best for our family.
I wonder how much input Edith actually had when the decision to attend the potluck had been made. Had Edith actually agreed that attending the potluck was in the best interest of the family? Had Edith helped reach the conclusion that attending the potluck was better than lingering in the wonderful hot water?
Edith simply looked at her mother and repeated, No way!
The mother continued to speak to Edith calmly, repeating that it was time to go and they needed to leave now in order to get to the potluck. Edith never threw a tantrum, never screamed, never cried. She simply continued to voice her desire to stay by telling her mother No way! whenever her mother said it was time to go.
My sibling and I exchanged glances and silently wondered how this stalemate was going to end.
Finally Edith begrudgingly allowed herself to be lifted from the water. She allowed herself to be dried off and dressed, but we all knew she wasn’t happy about her truncated soak.