Forever smiling and the most relaxed, easy-going of Heather and my three kids, she is a beautiful mix of girly-girl and tom-boy. She loves to play dress-up and act out elaborate stories with her sister and their army of stuffed animals and dolls. On the other hand, Zoe requests to watch my Batman and Justice League DVDs more than Ian and will tank his Batmobile around the house with near reckless abandon.
We threw a birthday party for Zoe this past Sunday and invited a few family members. True to form, Zoe had a Batman cake served on Tinkerbell plates. With age comes wisdom, so she was considerably more invested in the whole present receiving/opening segment of the party – flipping past opened gifts that revealed new clothes to see what gift might offer a new toy or book.
When I asked her later in the day which of her presents was her favorite, she confidently replied, “All of them.” That certainly seemed the case in the hours following the party. The Princess-themed Etch-A-Sketch may have been carried everywhere with her, but she was spending equal time playing with the new Belle doll, puzzle, LEGOs, and goofy light-up ball thingy. However, as the afternoon turned to evening and Sunday turned to Monday, one gift seems to have risen to the top of the favorites list:
The rainbow umbrella
The umbrella that my brother gave her has quickly become a staple at Zoe’s side. She sits under the umbrella while watching TV (Yes, Heather and I let her open it in the house. You parent your way, we’ll parent our way), it is being incorporated into the games Emma and Zoe play, and she even holds it over my head so that I can have some shade while reading.
I can’t imagine that the umbrella’s spot as favored indoor toy will last once its multicolored canopy is spoiled with the first drops of rain outdoors. Once used outside and exposed to the elements, the umbrella really can’t be an inside toy anymore. But for now it is fun watching our little curly-headed 4 year-old ray of sunshine dance through the kitchen under her rainbow umbrella singing, “Jingle bells, Batman smells, . . .”