Scene: Interior Kitchen — Dinnertime, Early July
Daughter: So, have you thought more about my Frozen cake? You know, Elsa’s ice castle? And can you make it snow with a button or a handle or something?
Me: Uhhhhh, probably not with snow. And it might not look exactly like a castle.
Daughter: Just a little flurry. You can just make a tiny handle for it to work.
Me: Are you sure you don’t want Olaf? Olaf is made of circles that are — oh look! — the same shape as my baking pans. That’s an incredible coincidence.
Daughter: Not really. But if you can’t make a tiny handle to make snow on the cake, don’t worry. I will just use my ice powers.
Me: Or we can go out for ice cream.
Daughter: Or both.
* * * * *
Dreamer. Problem solver. Tiny princess. Lover of desserts.
She is all this and more, and today she turned five.
I watched her change so much this year. Her little baby body is gone and she is 100% kid now — growing longer and leaner out of nowhere. The glimpse of her legs hanging down over her car seat or her silhouette stretched out in her bed at night leaves me in total disbelief some days.
She is always watching. Always. Taking it in, picking up on the cues around her. Not missing a beat. If you think you slid something past her, you’re wrong. It will be in her report.
She is in on the joke. Ready to share it, again and again, adding her own flair to the punchline with every delivery.
Over the past year, she has slowly adjusted to her new role as the middle child between two boys. Truthfully, it hasn’t been easy for her, no matter how many times I remind her of how special it is to be both a big and little sister. Some days she believes me. Mostly when the planets align and princesses can live in harmony with ninjas, Stormtroopers, crying babies and nap schedules.
She lives in a world of princesses and fairies and kingdoms and spells and magic. At any moment, I can expect her to be in her next costume change. Not infrequently, she requests that I announce her arrival to the royal ball so she can display a proper princess curtsy.
Say what you want about the princess mania in little girls. I didn’t push it on her but I do think it’s adorable. And I know it’s fleeting. When I walked down the Disney Princess aisle of Toys R Us to shop for her birthday, I wondered how many more trips I’d make to that section of the store before she deemed it too babyish. Will it be next Christmas? Next birthday? Sooner? Possibly. So I’ll take the ruffles and magic wands and impossible fluff of the princesses before Barbie and whatever else will follow.
She is equal parts sweet, sharp and sass. A girl’s girl with endless requests for dresses, but as comfortable in shin guards as she is in ballet shoes. A high climber at the playground and yet happy to show you how a princess sits with her skirt fanned out for a tea party. She is fluent in both Star Wars and Frozen. She wants to learn to bake and garden, and is determined to ride the scooter faster than anyone else.
She tries new things often. Sports or foods or friends or pretty much anything. Unless it’s clothing that’s not pink or purple. Then, forget it. Not. Happening.
In September, she’ll start full-day Kindergarten. I know she’s ready. I’m not sure I am, but I can’t wait to see what the year will bring her.
As long as it goes just a little slower.
Happy birthday to my sweet girl.