Have I lost you yet? Because I'm trying to tell you a story of how I earned another mommy merit badge, of how I had the opportunity, for the first time, to trot out a certain shopworn parenting cliche.
E and I were having a conversation that she's been working around and up to for several weeks. She's discovering that she has preferences, now, and they delight her and she invokes them with authority. I don't refer to the physical - if the notion in question were food or clothing or even color, anything with a sensory experience, I can assure you she's held preferences for quite some time now. I'm referring instead to intangibles, and in particular she has been expressing disappointment in her name. I don't actually think she dislikes her own name at all but she has realized that she loves the sound of other names, and periodically says she wished she was named _____ instead. It's a curious thing, watching her brain work.
A few days ago E finally asked me outright: Can people really change their names? I answered her with a yes, explaining it just takes a little bit of money and some paperwork. So can I change my name? Because she has preferred so many other names, usually the first names of all of her friends, I asked her what she was hoping to be called. But she'd switched it up on me, and instead taken on her make-believe character and her Chinese friend's surname:
Princess Fairy Fu. That's my name, okay, Mama? I want to be Princess Fairy Fu. Can I do that?
And that was when I got to say, for the first time ever, "When you're 18, darlin'. When you're 18 you can do whatever you want."