Kina’s favorite food is pasta, and among her favorite places to go to eat it is a Roman restaurant down the street from us. She reliably orders either the rigatoni in tomato sauce or the carbonara, relishing every starchy bite. Reliably, I suppose, until last night, when she instead chose a mixed-greens salad.
This felt significant to me in a way that I hadn’t considered might be inspired by a bowl of lettuce. Kina has eaten pasta since she started eating food, really, and Laurea and I take great joy in serving it to her and building our restaurant visits around access to various pastas (when we aren’t completely burned out on pasta, which happens with increasing regularity). To hear her order salad instead was a shot across the bow of the S.S. Someday She’ll Be An Adult and All You Can Do Is Sit By and Watch.
Periodically, I stop to wonder when Kina will stop wearing princess dresses. The conventional wisdom, as I understand it, is “usually sometime between six and seven years old”. It felt charming, two years ago, to be perplexed and overwhelmed by Kina’s forest of taffeta—to muse out loud about how we hadn’t expected or facilitated this, or to roll our eyes in dramatic exasperation. We had, what, three years of this? Princess dresses, every single day.
But here we are, and she’s six, and if the conventional wisdom is anything close to the truth of the matter, Kina will just magically start dressing in something other than princess dresses sometime in the next nine months. We’ll be left—as we were with her crib, many of her stuffed animals, some of her favorite books, and one extremely boss toddler-sized Guerilla Girls t-shirt—staring at an artifact of Everything We Have Ever Known About Kina and wondering why we didn’t consider the possibility that there might be more to know about her.
And so, as I watched Kina eat salad while I wistfully nibbled at the carbonara that I had ordered just in case, I got a little sad about it. Six years is one-third eighteen, just time enough for three Kinas worth of life, growth, and discarded habits. I hope there’s room for pasta—and dessert:
“I’ll have the sorbet, thank you, because it’s nice and light.”
Dang, girls! Nice Parade!