|Portrait of the Infanta Margarita|
Diego Velázquez, c.1620
Oil on canvas
Or is it? Upon closer examination, I believe I see a touch of weariness on little Maggie's face. I think she's about to lose her patience with all this posing nonsense, thinking about romping and running and getting back to the business of being a child. I'm pretty sure I see a tantrum on the horizon.
Maybe I'm just being influenced by the events of yesterday which may go down in history as the Worst Day in the World for my little granddaughter, CiCi.
What should have been a fine day of no preschool, hanging out with the Yia-Yia and enjoying the still-fresh bounty of Christmas, turned fairly ugly early on and never really recovered.
I'm glad to say I had little to do with the circumstances that occured, and I'm grateful for that. No grandmother wants to be remembered for being a disciplinarian (i.e., the "mean one") and I'm happy that it was my son who took on those duties yesterday. As for the inevitable lingering feelings of resentment? Better him than me, I say.
Well at any rate, my perfectly sweet, charmingly beautiful and well-behaved Margarita...er, CiCi, evidently began the day by waking up on the wrong side of her princess bed. Way too early, I might add.
By the time breakfast for the two kids was over, I could tell that my son, their Daddy, was approaching his fill of whining, complaining, and fussing. "Oh no, don't mess with Daddy, CiCi," I thought. She didn't catch my drift.
Shortly after having that thought, Darling CiCi went upstairs to play. She was followed by Phoebe, the Most Tolerant Dog on Earth. Phoebe is an English Bulldog, and is honestly the most docile animal I've ever known. I'm a dog lover, and have owned many dogs in my life, but Phoebe (who is really Tony & Cathy's dog) is THE sweetest dog I've ever known.
I was downstairs (minding my own business, I'm quick to point out), and my son was in his bedroom upstairs preparing to go to the bus stop with little Tony. All was quiet for a minute or two, when suddenly the air was pierced with a combination yelp/growl that I had never heard before.
"YYYEEEAOOOWgrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!," yelp/growled Phoebe. SILENCE.
In an instant, my son was at the doorway demanding to know what had just happened.
"CiCi, I asked you what HAPPENED," he insisted.
I wish I could have seen the look on CiCi's face during this inquisition, because I'm fairly certain that I could have seen the wheels turning away in her head, wondering what might be the best tactic for getting out of this sticky situation (but of course, I was downstairs, minding my own business). Evidently, she opted for the old "Cry and You Might Get Out of It" strategy, because her reply was both alarmingly real and disturbingly funny at the same time.
"Daaaaaaaad!" she wailed, "I was just playing with Phoebe and I accidentally stood on her."
"Waaaaaah," she added for effect.
"You ACCIDENTALLY stood on Phoebe?" probed Daddy, looking desperately for some way to believe his precious darling daughter.
"YEHHHHHS Daddy!" she wailed, obviously injured by her 'fall'. "I didn't MEAN to stand on her!"
Ooops. Wrong strategy, Ceese.
The dialog that followed was a contest of wills not equaled since King Arthur's struggle to remove Excalibur from the stone.
It was done on purpose. It was an accident. On purpose. On accident. Intentionally. ACCIDENTALLY!.
The ultimate punishment was exacted. CiCi was sent to her room until she could admit what she had done, and make ammends.
Oh, the tears! The injustice of it all! I had no idea a four year old could feel such despair. (And honestly...not being willing to admit you were wrong and apologize? I have absolutely NO idea where she got that unattractive trait.)
Well, being the wise old Yia-Yia that I am, I went on about my business, but heard my son periodically check on his daughter, who stubbornly maintained her innocence. When it was eventually time for him to leave for work (by this time it was nearly 11 a.m.), I heard my son enter her room to check on her once more. As might have been predicted, CiCi had exhausted herself with her morning's activities and was fast asleep.
At two in the afternoon She-with-the-Sunny-Disposition Cecilia Rose made an appearance. She was hungry. She was smiling shyly. She was contrite. Whew. She hugged and petted Phoebe and promised she'd never stand on her again. While fixing her a grilled cheese sandwich, I congratulated her on behalf of all the animals of the world, since she wants to be an "animal doctor" when she grows up. I think they would appreciate it if she keeps that promise.
Good job, Daddy. Good job, CiCi. Great job, Phoebe.
And a personal pat on the back to myself, for knowing that Father Knows Best.
|Portrait of the Infanta Cecilia, Jo Floyd Lucas|
It is interesting to note that the portrait of "Infanta Margarita" was only recently found in the basement of Yale University (those wacky, disorganized Eli's). It took six years to determine whether the painting was an authentic Velázquez. The proof, as they say, is in the pigment, which was traced back to pigments used during the artist's time period - as early as 1617, when Velázquez was only 18 years old. Good job, Diego, too!
I must add a very special thank you to Janiece Senn for creating a digital vintage remix of her interpretation of this blog post. Janiece, you're amazing! Click on the print pic in the right border to go to Janiece's website for other great art from her incredibly fertile imagination. Really. Do it. Now.
|CiCi and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day|
Janiece Senn, Digital Vintage Remix, 2011