Sweet Potato is unique, I said, and it's the first real food she consumed-- although she didn't like the orange stuff much either. I said we'd compromise, and I'd call her Sweet P.
Sweet P is not a happy girl these days, and this is the face she wears most of the time. She's been (off and on) sassy, stompy, and door-slammy for a few years now, but we haven't even been getting that lately. All of a sudden she's just not interested in conversation or even in arguing. She does her homework, stays in her room, keeps quiet.
For example, she's got a big birthday coming up: Twelve. What does she want? Nothing. What does she want to do? Nothing, but if she must choose: cake at home with just the four of us. What kind of cake? "Chocolate, I guess."
This is the girl who would normally begin planning her birthday party March 1 every year, the same girl who once wanted to turn the house into a Parisian hotel for her birthday complete with an intercom for room service. And could she have a cake of every flavor?
For years Sweet P has said that she doesn't want to grow up. She wants to be short and petite and young for the rest of her life. She doesn't want the responsibility of driving or having a career. She gets upset when people tell her how tall she's grown (unfortunately, folks always think she's in high school). I understand that a lot of people hit an age where they just don't enjoy birthdays the way they once did, but twelve seems a bit young to be singing the over-the-hill blues.
I don't know if it's the move that's got her down; maybe she'll perk up when we get to California. She's not talking. Maybe it's a phase, a stage, the age, but tonight for the first time in the history of her childhood she didn't want me to tuck her into bed. She didn't even want the traditional pattern of kissy faces we always make: chin, lips, right eye, left, center forehead, three quick kisses on left temple and then each ear). I thought she'd change her mind once she crawled under the covers, but I've been writing this for an hour now, and the house is quiet.
Sweet P, turning five.