I've been trying to get this post finished for days. Natalie turned 6 yesterday and for her birthday we went all out. But not in the way that you may be thinking. No jumpy house here, no way. My hubby discovered the Frozen Sing A Long movie showing at The El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood and suggested it may be a perfect gift for our little drama queen. I agreed and was excited to have the morning for just us big gals to enjoy, as I don't get a ton of time alone with her these days. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense to go the night before and stay somewhere within walking distance. If you know LA traffic, you know what I'm talkin' about.
So, that was her gift.
A girls night, just us.
At a fancy hotel.
And as a bit of an insomniac, it sounded dreamy to have no monitors to listen for, no dog in the bed. Natalie has recently taken on a roommate, as well. Not the one we intended when furnishing her room, but more on that in a later post. Her roommate has a bit of trouble settling at the end of the night and often pretends his bed is a rocket ship floating through space.
Nattles has done her best to be patient, but the girl needed a night away, just her and momma.
So that was that.
It was blazing hot and we eventually made our way back up to the room where we both discovered we were hungry. The conversation over whether to go out or order room service was very brief, as I decided she could finally relax, put on comfy clothes, paint toenails, take silly pictures together, and indulge in an early dinner including one giant brownie sundae.
She was in heaven.
I was too.
People always comment on her white blonde hair and gray blue eyes and often ask if I'm her mom when it's just us out and about. If you've followed my blog you know I don't often make an appearance. I'm not much of a "selfie" taker and not a huge fan of myself on camera. (I'm working on that) But, looking at those fun pics we took together two things struck me. 1) I have giant teeth and a big smile. She has my mouth. I hope she doesn't get my giant teeth. And 2) I would have taken her to the Himalayas to get a photo of the look on her face in the third picture. She adores me. I'm so grateful for that. But with it comes responsibility.
You see, she isn't me. She has a lot of me in her, but she is not me. And she is still little. Small. A baby really. (Don't tell her I said that) After we had dinner and hung out, it was still early enough to go back out, explore a little more. See something new. I suggested Ripley's Believe It Or Not. She said it might be too scary. Then I convinced her otherwise. She stayed in her comfy sweats and t-shirt...and boots. They were the only shoes she brought. I asked her a couple of times if she wanted to put her dress back on and she nonchalantly said, "No, Momma, this is fine. I'm comfortable." She isn't me. We got to Ripley's and bought tickets and when it was time to go through the turn style she freaked out. No, like really freaked. I was familiar with this behavior and sort of brushed it off, though after a couple of loud, frantic minutes I was keeping myself from making eye contact with the 40 onlookers. Then I picked her up with a smile on my face and lifted her over and into the first display area. She kept her fingers in her ears for at least half the time we were there. She isn't me. By the time we left she was smiling, but ready to head back to the hotel. On the way there, she asked me for the 3rd time whether I thought the Cinderella she took her picture with earlier in the day was the real Cinderella. I couldn't bring myself to remind her that Cinderella doesn't have a Russian accent. She hesitated as the Harry Krishna guys sang and drummed and asked if we should go another way. She isn't me.
After a good night's sleep she wanted room service again. No going out to breakfast for this gal. We watched an animal show as we got ready to head off to our Frozen adventure. She wouldn't take a shower because the shower head looked too complicated. She didn't want to brush her hair, but wanted it straightened, then wanted it curled, then didn't like the way it wasn't curled from the root and told me she looked like George Washington. I had to remind myself that she is small.
We walked to the theater hand in hand, stopping to get her picture kneeling down at another famous star. We headed up the staircase for our VIP popcorn and drink and took our seats in the center balcony. I had never watched Frozen all the way through and actually got choked up a couple of times. We held hands, snuggled and sang together.
But somehow, as so many parenting moments go, the gift I gave her was a teaching moment for me. Yes, she's dramatic. We will butt heads from time to time. Yes, she's independent. She won't agree with all of my views on life. She's emotional. She's curious. She's careful. She's amazing. She isn't me and my job is not to tell her who I want her to be. My job is to guide her, to encourage her, to listen to her, to comfort her. To enjoy her. Not to tell her to hurry up or to act like a big kid or even remind her for the 3rd time this week that she is an example to her brother and sisters. Just to enjoy her right now. Just to encourage her to make good choices, but to give her choices. Just to tell her for the 3rd time this week that I'm proud of her, not because of the example she is to her siblings, but because she is Natalie.
I can't believe my baby is growing up.
So, for now, I'll let her stay small.