My Favorite Puzzle

Even princesses wear hats.
Somehow I've managed to lose Sweet Girl.  Not in the literal sense as has happened before, but in the sense that she is changing.  Somewhere between her birthday and starting a new school and getting along with her new speech therapist and occupational therapist, Sweet Girl has become something new.  Something just as gloriously her as she was before, perhaps even a little more sparkly.  If she were The Doctor I would say she regenerated.  However, she has but one heart, big though it may be, and I have yet to find evidence of a blue box so I suppose she's just growing up a little.  She used to be my girl who cared little for dresses because they inhibited mobility.  And there are rocks to climb and puddles that need a good splash, you know.  Sweet Girl used to prefer the company of Lumpy and Roo (Tigger too!) to that of Cinderella or any other princess.  Cinderella seems incapable of jumping high and appreciating a good music montage featuring food fights and frog chasing.  Sweet Girl has always deep jewel tones - purple of course - finding them preferable to pastels.  Sweet Girl was all girl-on-the-go and now she has become girl-on-the-cusp-of-girly.

She has a new idol; Princess Sofia the First.  Sofia has a purple dress which helps in the idol department, but I'm pretty sure that's not the only reason Sweet Girl loves her.  Every night before bed, Sweet Girl reenacts a scene in which Sofia tries do dance in enchanted shoes.  The enchanted shoes make Sofia trip and fall repeatedly.  It does not go well for Sofia.  Coincidentally, it does not go well for the light fixture hanging directly below Sweet Girl's room.  In the end though, Sofia manages to find a way to dance wonderfully and manages to make amends with her new step-siblings all the while being true to herself.  Things aren't easy for Sofia as she transitions from being the only daughter of a single shoe-maker but she never gives up.  Bonus, she gets to talk to animals and go to school in a winged chariot.  As far as cartoons go Sofia is not the worst choice Sweet Girl could have made in idols. I have no idea if Sweet Girl is internalizing the princess thing because she identifies with Sofia's struggles to fit in and be herself or simply because she has a rockin' princess suite and a wide array of purple wardrobe choices.  Either way it's become necessary to wear nightgowns to bed every night.  This from a girl who spent six-plus months of her life sleeping in her birthday suit.

Sweet Girl has begun expressing herself even more as well.  "I'm Princess Sweet Girl! I am waiting for my royal picnic."  I have yet to discern the differentiating qualities of a royal picnic and a "normal" picnic, but there is clearly a distinction to Sweet Girl.  Perhaps it's the pretend tea she pours rather than lemonade.  Or the pretend parasol behind her head that shades her royal skin from harmful UV rays.  I would say it's the pretend talking animals, but they show up a lot in Disney cartoons so they're players on both stages.  Last night I had to give Princess Sweet Girl AND Princess Gray Cat goodnight kisses.  It's serious business when stuffed animals get involved.  Sweet Girl was persuaded to participate in the school's winter concert thanks to a "beautiful, soft dress! Oh, I look so pretty!"  When did this all start to happen?

Of course, she is still every bit herself.  She still loves a good swing regardless of temperature.  Sweet Girl still loves to sing regardless of the social situation.  Her teacher and I were just discussing her new mash-up of her original composition to the "Where's My Water?" soundtrack (it goes something like "All the night.  All the night.  All the night night.  All the night night.") and "O Holy Night" which she sings in class and, well, all the time.  And she'll say what she wants when she wants - thank you very much - regardless of conversational flow.  "Mommy, I love you very much (insert Mommy swoon).  You are my favorite Mommy!  Now let's go poop!"  If she is asked to do something she'd rather not do, she'll perform the task and then refute any thanks or praise.  Yes, she did it but you don't have to acknowledge it. "No! No 'thank you'!"  Her willingness to fulfill the request and her denial that did is somewhat puzzling.  As is the juxtaposition of gooey emotional declarations and the need to declare her intent to use the loo.  She is a girl who knows her own mind - even if the rest of the world doesn't. 

Tonight as I was putting her to bed, she grabbed my necklace.  It's a Christmas present from Sean (though he says it's from her, he's an awesome guy like that) with a small puzzle piece and one of my favorite quotes: "Different Not Less" stamped on a small circle.  On the back of the circle are Sweet Girl's initials.  I love this necklace.  I love it as a reminder to myself of Sweet Girl's struggles and her astounding courage.  I love it as a reminder that the rest of the world may not know her but they can appreciate her nonetheless.  I love it as a visual for the mysteries that often surround my girl and her actions.  And I love it as a visual that it can possibly make sense someday.  That someday the pieces of the puzzle may all come together to see an entire picture.  That might happen someday, but even if it doesn't the puzzle itself is still amazing and deserving.  Sweet Girl picked up my necklace tonight and exclaimed "Oh look!  It's your favorite puzzle!"  So I tucked her in and assured her she's right, she's my favorite puzzle indeed.



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