8:00AM Her song complete (for now), she stands in her bed and reaches for the light between us, diaper crinkling, fingers fumbling. *click* A glowing face appears across the nightstand, smiling in a brilliant nebula of nut brown hair.
"Hi!" she sings.
"Hi baby. How are you?"
"Good! Did you have nice sleeps?"
"Good. Are you hungry?"
8:10AM Eating with her majesty is like eating with a smallish vaccuum. I honestly don't know where she puts it all. I can serve her an adult-sized bowl of oatmeal, bananas and honey, and she is finished before I can sit down to my own humble breakfast of coffee and toast. She needs but look at a person in her calm matter-of-fact way for them to offer all they have on their plate, just to keep her satisfied. A connoisseur of fine dining, she helps herself to my toast, graciously leaving me the soggy bits with dregs of oatmeal and bananas. She says, with that gleam in her eye, that she is saving me from myself.
9:00AM Her whims and wishes rule our lives with spunky tenacity. It matters not what she asks for - a book on the highest shelf, a bite of her uncle's cereal, a chance to strum a guitar with wreckless abandon or gracefully walk her fingers down the piano's keyboard, to wear every beaded necklace in the costume chest (the jingles and rattles echoing throughout her kingdom), an entire apple to herself, to be ceremoniously cloaked in every blanket she owns, to be carried up the stairs (though her legs work just fine, I assure you), or to sleep with every doll and stuffed animal in the toy box . . . we listen, and obey . . . because we only desire what she desires. At least this is what we tell her.
10:00AM Because of her young age, our queen is a little less than popular with the other, more seasoned queens of the land. At Toddler (Tea) Time she ignores their upturned noses and petty snatching of balls and tricycles, preferring a peaceful play time where all can be safe under her watch. She then craftily builds her own fortress of tunnels and parachutes and collects every ball on the court in her domicile to prove that, however small, she is still the most powerful queen in the land.
12:00PM After a hearty lunch, the queen sleeps, and so must I.
3:30PM I am taken aback at her mastery of the dual-weapon wield. With a wooden sword in one hand and a jedi light saber in the other, evil ghosts, monsters, and bothersome cousins don't stand a chance against her prowess on the battlefield. She is quite decorated with wounds from previous battles. Fierce and brave, she tumbled from the highest peak of mount Unmade Bed down to the darkest depths of the Lego Abyss, her chin and a wooden dresser the only things to stop her. She is a merciful queen, applauding loyalty and bravery where it is due, but she rules her subjects with an iron fist. "ZACH!!!" she bellows with fervor and power when her beloved 8-year-old cousin strays too far from her side. He dashes back, breathlessly genuflecting before her,
"Yes, my queen?"
Nothing, just a drill, she says. Don't worry, you've passed. As you were.
4:00PM Having no children of her own, our queen holds a special place in her heart for those plastic people tender in age. At any given time during the day she is faithfully caring for not one, not two, not three, but 5 baby dolls who demand her love. "Awwwwww. Bee-beeeee" she says, squeezing its head has hard as she can (for head-squeezing is of utmost importance in childcare; just ask her). She wraps blankets around their faces (protection from the harsh winter cold) and carries them on her small, cocked-out hip, bouncing them and stopping every few steps to readjust and move her little one to the other hip. I can't imagine the toll this must take on her majesty. Night and day they cry for her, demanding to be fed plastic bottles, have their heads squeezed and faces wrapped in blankets. I don't know how she does it and manages her kingdom all at once.
5:00PM The queen has begun riding lessons, at $1.00 each. At this rate she will soon compete (and win, of course) in the events of equestrian, horse racing, jousting, and of course, not losing her cookies under the influence of centrifugal force. Wishing not to reveal her secret weapon in these events, her only comment to the presses, thus far, has been "Weeeeeeeee!"
6:00PM Preferring a late afternoon snack to an ordinary sit-down supper, her majesty has taken to climbing between dining room chairs and screaming like a banshee until our barbaric custom is finished.
7:00PM Her majesty's most shining hour. Between renditions of the game "Marco, Polo" (usually "Dada, Hannah" or "Mama, Hannah" or "Hannah, Hannah") and running around the house with her shirt held over her head (should anyone want to partake of a sticky-but-satisfying belly), the queen can be found climbing the highest, most technically challenging peaks of the kingdom. The Couch. The Table. The Toilet. The Computer Desk. The Computer. The Rocking Chair. The Book Shelf. It is usually on The Book Shelf where she chooses this night's bedtime stories. After 30 minutes of milk, stories, aerobics, and brushing of teeth, we say adieu and good night to our fair little queen, until morning when her nightengale song wakes us again.
8:00PM The kingdom is silent. It sighs, stretches, and cracks its vertebrae back into place. We all know our place, and it's a perfect place to be.