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Learning To Move On

Over Thanksgiving break we found ourselves
at a certain pizza chain famous for its all-you-can-eat buffet and
extremely cheap prices. For whatever reason, the girls ADORE this
pizza which makes me, as a New Yorker, cringe in embarrassment. So
whenever we’re on staycation or doing something to celebrate,
you can bet it’ll involve a trip to this place.

Anway, we were there one night and preparing for the girls’
favorite part of the night – the dessert bar. They make
brownies, cinnamon rolls, and some sort of pizza-shaped pudding
thing. Don’t ask. But the girls scarf up the brownies and
cinnamon rolls, and this particular night they were drooling in

It’s not a free-for-all, of course; I do set limitations. So
when Cora asked, “Mommy, can I have some of the brownie and
cinnamon rolls both?” I went into Mommy Mode and made a snap
judgment based on the theory, Never Say “Yes” to A
Whole Lotta Sugar Before Bedtime. “Cora, you can have half a
brownie and a whole cinnamon roll, or half a cinnamon roll and a
whole brownie,” I said, only partly paying attention.

Cora looked at me and crumpled into tears.

“I just don’t know which to
choose! They’re both so goo-hoo-hood!” she sobbed.

Let me tell you, my girl cried for – I am not exaggerating
here – over half an hour, trying to make this Sophie’s
Choice of the dessert bar. Apparently she liked them both. A lot.

This is very typical of Cora’s life right now; she’s
faced with an issue or a decision to make, and it feels absolutely
insurmountable, completely unpassable, and she crumples into a ball
and sobs like her heart is breaking. I ache for her every time, I
really do; Cora’s learning to deal with some big emotions in
that little body, and she’s having to figure out how to move
on – how to get past something she doesn’t love –
and somehow find the will to still live. For a four-year-old,
that’s no small feat.

If Cora finds out we’re not eating mac n’ cheese one
night and it’s all she wants for dinner, the face will fold
in on itself and she’ll run and hide under a mound of
pillows. If Cora thought it was her turn to pick which video the
girls are going to watch that day and it’s not, she falls
into a pit of despair as she tries to wrap her mind around the
disappointment. You can actually see my child try to process that
she needs to find a way around this Big Letdown. Whichever adult is
in charge has to dig down deep for some serious reserves of
patience to get through the ensuing hour or so, and I seriously
hope the end of all this is in sight.

Cora worked mightily at the pizza place the other night: she paced,
and sobbed, and took a short walk to clear her head, all while
still at the pizza place. What she did NOT do – not once
– was ask me for a different ruling. She wasn’t
throwing a tantrum trying to get her way; she was simply trying to
accept some abysmal news and move on.

“It’s been a really hard decision I’ve had to
make,” she finally sniffed, “but I’ve decided to
eat part of the brownie and a whole cinnamon roll.” And then
she proceeded to dig in, and by the end of the dessert plate Cora
was smiling jubilantly and joking with Maddie.

My girl’s learning how to accept and move on – and
that’s no easy task, whatever the age.


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