Miss Pink is currently obsessed with Strawberry Shortcake. She wants to dress in Strawberry’s colors (pink, white, green, and red) and every day when she gets to choose a DVD to watch, it’s Strawberry (I get a different one from the library each week). It’s probably easier to let her dress in those colors than when she wanted to dress like me every day, since she does have quite a few pink, white, and green clothes. It does mean that when I read S. Shortcake books to her, I point out whenever S. wears anything that is not in the usual colors. “Look, she’s wearing jeans! That means you can wear jeans!” Hey, I do what I’ve gotta do. I can’t be washing the same two shirts every day.
I do understand that this phenomenon is common to a lot of children. They love someone so much—even a cartoon character—that they want to BE that person. I remember liking a little boy at my preschool so much that I wanted to be him. Not marry him, or hug him—just be him. I would put on my pajamas* and pretend I was Sammy. It made me so happy to do that.
Miss P’s obsessions are likely to change at a moment’s notice (and again, I guess this is normal). One day, she just wasn’t into ballet anymore and wanted to stop taking dance. She hardly ever dresses up in her princess dresses anymore. And so it goes, the growing-up process.
I guess when it comes to boys, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, because Miss Pink likes a little guy at her preschool who was in her class last year. Yes, last year. They aren’t even in the same class this year, but she still says he’s the one she’s going to marry. I usually just say something like, “Oh, that’s nice” because for heaven’s sake, at her age I am not going to call him her boyfriend; that kind of thing starts early enough (or too early, really) without parental encouragement.
I just wonder why she’s stuck with the idea that he’s The One. Two years is a long time when you’re her age—more than a third of her life. I wonder what she means when she says she loves him. To see them together, they seem like any two preschoolers interacting; she doesn’t giggle or bat her eyelashes at him because she has no idea how to flirt. This week I found out that he will be going to the charter school too, so they’ll continue seeing each other some of the time.
I know that someday she may not even remember his name, or only his name (I have no idea what Sammy looked like) but I can’t help feeling a twinge, knowing what lies ahead. It begins. I didn’t know the letting go doesn’t happen all at once, but rather, the invisible cord that binds us unravels one strand at a time.
*This makes more sense if you know that in the religious tradition in which I was raised, girls did not wear pants. So my pajamas were the only pants I owned.