"Mama? Which friends did I take to school yesterday?" Alice asked me as we were preparing to leave for school.
"I don't know. Alice. Please put your shoes on, I don't want to be late."
"MAAAMA I have to pick my friends."
This conversation, or a variation of, can be overheard in my house five days a week. There is great consideration put into the decision. "Friend" picking is an art form. I feel I must stop myself and clarify for those who have no idea what I'm talking about. To Alice, dolls, barbies, babies, and most importantly in her eyes, princesses of varying size are her friends. She refers to herself as their Mama, though from the way it sounds she's more like their dictator. Anyway, she is allowed to bring a friend or two in the car for the ride to school and can bring one into school for the day.
A lot goes into picking friends. Somedays it's a breeze, the favorite doll of the day accompanies her. Other mornings it's as stressful as picking a presidential running mate, or so I imagine.
"I DON'T KNOW WHO TO PICK," she whines at me when I'm rushing her along.
There are mornings when she stews and worries over which doll hasn't been fortunate enough to visit school yet or which Barbie can't possibly come because they've been too grumpy and need to take a nap while she's gone. And then there are the times when she's selected the lucky winner but can't find the obvious partner to join them. "How can Rapunzel possibly leave Flynn Ryder at home?" Or, "it wouldn't be fair to Cherry Jam if Strawberry Shortcake gets to come and she doesn't! We just have to find Cherry Jam." I've grown used to the morning selection process, but every now and again she shocks me. Seemingly without any rhyme or reason a blast from the past from the bottom of a basket will be the chosen one. Yesterday she took blinking Dora. Blinking Dora has seen better days. She was acquired during Alice's younger, artistic period. Dora has black sharpie eye shadow on her blinking eyelids and the whites of her eyes are now filled in black as well. Her underwear has also been decorated with said sharpie. Dora's hair, which used to be fastened neatly in two pig tails, now flows freely in one big tangled mess. Why Dora, who is never played with these days, was selected is beyond me.
Once we are safely fastened in our seats, there is often more discussion regarding the morning decision.
"Mama? Do you think Merida is jealous of Pocahontas because I didn't pick her?"
"I don't know Alice. Maybe," I tell her.
"She probably is. But Merida has gotten to go to school lots of times. This is Pocahontas's first time. You must be super excited to come into my school, Pocahontas. Just wait till you see my cubby!"
She really is the most adorable kid in the whole entire world.
Except your kid. I'm sure your kid is equally as adorable.