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We usually welcome each new day before the Sun has an opportunity to make an official appearance. It’s because of you, of course.

This is everyday. Somewhere between 5 and 6am.

Your daddy and I pretend that we are still sleeping. You quietly make your way back into our bed for the last 30 minutes of darkness.

No “good morning,” or other standard, first-thing-in-the-morning pleasantries (you get to that eventually). You simply break the silence with a request of some sort of food treat completely inappropriate for breakfast or a declaration loud enough for the neighbors to hear that you are headed to the bathroom. This always makes your dad laugh.

You manage to come back into the bedroom wearing a tiara and holding a hairbrush as a microphone. Because at dawn you preform. There is dancing; always dancing. You move to your own internal soundtrack; never a need for actual music. Five minutes later there is a costume change. You always want to dance in the morning in one of your princess dresses, of course. You ‘can’t dance without one on,’ you say. You ‘can’t eat your breakfast without one,’ you say. ‘I promise not to spill my milk or my cheese eggs on the dress,’ you say. But you always do. And you quickly apologize while rubbing the milk and sticky eggs chunks into the glittery tulle. ‘All clean now, mommy,’ you say. All I can do is shake my head and smile.

And then there is singing - lots of singing. You are not a huge fan of nursery rhymes or even the top 40 pop songs that we play in the car. In the morning you prefer to sing original numbers that you create on the spot; songs about butterflies and pancakes and robots and jumping jacks. Songs about your preschool and your friends and glitter and swimming. And your father and I compliment you on your songwriting skills while holding back laughter through interlocked fingers over our mouths at the hippo in the song that flew with the bird before being eaten by a crocodile.

And after the singing comes painting… painting and unusual silence. You make pictures that are always done by hand. Tiny fingerprints and palms on each finished piece. You rarely paint with a brush. I play familiar songs by one of the Stevies (Wonder or Nicks) as you sway and paint at your easel. Through the entire process you are quiet. Focused. And your pictures look random but were planned in detail, with the right shade of color in each corner. You leave space in specific areas to later glue flowers and dried leaves that you know we will find on our walk in the afternoon.


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