The Ruler of her Universe

1 Oct

Lucy and I are tip-toeing through the house with our couch-pillow shields and a burned-out lightsaber. Or, as my fearless leader calls it, “lightsaver”.
Her curly hair is completely unruly today, though she has tried to tame it with ten “hair pretties” of assorted color and dubious success. The effect is quite stunning.
“We’re going through the peanut butter river,” Princess Lucy tells me. “If we get hungry, we can [she mimes slurping] lick it.”
“How much better can this get?” I wonder, licking the air with great exuberance. “Tasty!” I say.
“This is the one-th time I’ve had it,” she says, glancing back at me to see if she said that right.
I can’t help but laugh, though I try to cover it up by admiration. “The ‘one-th’ time?” I ask, confirming what I heard.
“Yep.” She gives me a hard look. “Is that right?”
“Well, no, but I like it.”
“It’s ‘first’, isn’t it?”
“Yes, though that’s not near as fun to say.”
Undaunted, she plows ahead. “We have to get the bad guys, Mama. Oops – ” she cuts herself off, shaking her head, “I mean, ‘Josie’. And I’m not Lucy, I’m Princess Rosa.”
“Okay, I’ll try to remember.”
“You’re not very good at remembering that, mostly.”
“I know. Yet somehow, you survive.”
“Shhh,” she says, and I wonder if she’s trying to change the subject or playing the game. “They’re behind the play house.” She puts her finger to her lips. “We must whisper.”
“Are you certain that they’re there?” I ask worriedly.
“Yes. I saw them before they ducked behind.” She mimes “ducking” and nods her head seriously. “They’re there, trust me.” She puts a finger to her lips. “Shhh. They are good of hearing.”
“Okay,” I say, biting my tongue to keep a straight face. “But what do I do since I have no weapon?”
She looks around, considering. “You can use this microphone,” she forgets the whispering rule as she grabs the suggested item from beneath the piano bench and hands it over.
“Do I sing them to death?” I inquire with a straight face.
She looks at me pityingly. “No, Mom. You pretend.”
“Ah,” I nod my head sagaciously and grip the microphone, ready to take on the baddies.
“I hear them!” she cries. “Follow me!”
Together we creep around the play house, weapons at the ready, and fall upon the unsuspecting – but for some reason, terribly offensive – pod of whales.
“With my microphone I jab at thee!” I cry.
“Mom. You don’t have to say that,” she turns to look at me. “We got them already.” She is almost – but not quite – rolling her eyes at me.
“Oh, we did?” I am surprised because it was so easy; so quick. Almost as if the baddies gave up without a fight.
“Yes, they’re nice now.”
I look at the lavender dolphin masquerading as a whale, and the gray creature that I think might also be a dolphin and I smile. “Oh, well, that’s great! I like friendly whales.”
“Me, too. Let’s have a tea party for them. They can be our guests.”
“Yes, I’d like that.”
We gather up the dolphins formerly known as vicious whales and walk up the stairs to the coffee table, where a tea party is always ready and waiting and the guests are always kind and multi-colored.
Care to join us one day? You’d be welcome. Just don’t be surprised if you’re asked to play the role of a servant, because the queenly roles are all taken. By Lucy. Every single one of them.

Oh, to be four and the ruler of the universe once again.

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10 Responses to “The Ruler of her Universe”

  1. Rose October 1, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    Love this

  2. Shelly October 2, 2011 at 8:00 am #

    Very cute. : )

  3. ceciliag October 2, 2011 at 9:27 am #

    That is so fantastic.. classic line.. “No Mom we pretend!! ” c

  4. Samantha Keller October 2, 2011 at 10:18 am #

    Gretchen,
    I love the pictures to go along with the story. It reminds me of Peter Pan and the his alter ego-the shadow. Lovely!
    You have done a great job capturing creative play and it makes me want to toil less and dream more with my kiddos.
    Many blessings,
    Samantha Keller

    • Gretchen O'Donnell October 2, 2011 at 1:21 pm #

      Thanks, Sam! I loved the shadow of her Tutu…and she did too! Sometimes I know I need to walk away from the computer and go dream and play more often!

  5. Kimberly Robertson October 4, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

    Oh my to remember the absolute and unshakeable confidence when we were four! Before adolescence and adulthood dented it nearly to oblivion. Thank you for writing this and reminding me the deliciousness of imaginative play. With my four year old it’s mostly football games, building playgrounds and defeating the enemy du jour (lately its decepticons).

    • Gretchen O'Donnell October 4, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

      :-) On facebook the other day I posted a Lucy Quote…and someone wrote, “I hope she always talks like this.” Wouldn’t that make life interesting!

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