It's always been a safe question to ask when we're at Aunt Ria's and she doesn't want to go home but we really need to. Even if she answers yes, she changes her mind when she realizes that that means she won't be with Mother when it gets dark.
So I felt pretty comfortable asking her "Do you want to spend the night?" when she didn't want to leave but we really needed to because there was ice cream in the trunk of the car. Then she said yes and meant it. Then my younger daughter was very sad because she couldn't spend the night also. She's probably more ready than the elder, but I was not about to leave Aunt Ria with two nieces while she has a young baby, and I told Ainsley that.
"That OK. I sleep with Emma." Problem solved, apparently. But it wasn't, and we had to leave.
I know you've never seen my Ains cry, so let me explain the process for you. She hates to cry and never uses it as a tool to sway you. When something is bad enough for her to cry - usually severely hurt feelings - her face becomes completely still. Then her eyes well up. Then her bottom lip comes out just a bit and starts to quiver violently as she fights with everything inside of her to hold it in. If she can't hold it in, her whole face will dissolve into the saddest cry you've heard and you will feel like you'll do anything to fix the situation. This is what happened as she was getting buckled into the car. She badly wanted to be with her Aunt Ria and Aunt Ria's princess dress-up clothes. "I old enough!" "I not ohvohwhem (overwhelm) Aunt Ria!" "If she get sick, I make her Mergen-C (Emergen-C) and she get bettuh. She *needs* me." Folks, the only thing that helped me drive away with her without giving in was the thought of my sister shooting me.** She really didn't need two extra kids today.
We were seven minutes down the road when the crying started getting softer and then petered out. All of a sudden a bright voice pipes up and says "Hannah not be at home? I pay wif Hannah's toys and she not be mad! I pay wif Nettie and ..." and she started listing off Hannah's toys that she would get to play with when she got home. Happy again. I put the kabosh on her playing with Hannah's special toys, but the dolls and the games and the books that are usually fodder for sibling sadness? Go for it.
We're not expecting Hannah to make it through the night - to be honest I'm surprised she even made it *to* the night - so she has our numbers on her aunt's phone and promises to call if she needs us to come get her.
Crossing my fingers it all goes well, for everybody's sake.
**About my sister - she wouldn't shoot me. She doesn't own a gun.