Preschool is a lovely thing. Four days a week. Just in the mornings. Not that I'd want all of my kids on that schedule, but I love free days with the littlest one. I think I cherish that time even more now that I have teenagers, who I swear were Cholita's size only yesterday.
So today, on her day off, we drove our minivan through the imposing gates of Bloedel Reserve, a grand old estate on Bainbridge Island. I promised Cholita a stop at the beach if she smiled pretty for my camera.
Once she saw the path, she apparently forgot our deal. Trails are for running, aren't they?
Mercifully, she found some dandelions to slow her down.
Pick, blow. Pick, blow. That lasted about thirty seconds and she was off again like a shot. I caught up with her in the woodland trail. "Cholita, too bad we can't go to the beach today," I said catching my breath. Mean, I know, but a bargain's a bargain.
That stopped her. "Take a picture, Mom, Look, this will be perfect." She posed, yes, but does she look even slightly engaged? Even remotely interested?
Feeling like she'd now done her part, she continued her sprint. Over bridges, past ponds, through the rhododendron garden, she motored around a corner and then abruptly screeched to a halt.
The sight of the Bloedel mansion momentarily rendered her speechless, a rare thing for Cholita. Finally she said with awe in her voice, "Is the prince home today?"
I think she was ready to meet him. Too bad it's now just a visitor's center.
Because she'd make a lovely princess, despite being a pain for the royal photographer.
And yes, we went to the beach.
She still wants to play in the sand with baby toys and that's something to encourage.
Too bad she was humming Taylor Swift at the time.