Pink bunnies, cookies and Ken dolls

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 17, 2005

Over the weekend in Chicago I was honored to spend time with a princess, not a royal princess, the kind you find in a 2nd grade classroom.

It is amazing the things you learn about yourself when you spend the weekend with a 7-1/2 year old girl.

Our weekend started with a trip to the mall.

We were going to the Painted Penguin to paint ceramics.

She was a pro at it so she showed me the ropes, but first we had to tour the store and look at all of our options.

There were thousands of pieces of ceramic pottery waiting to be purchased and painted.

I picked a small bunny and she picked a cat.

Next we were off to the cashier to pick out six colors of paint for our creations.

The two of us sat down at the picnic tables, a cup full of brushes and water in front of us.

I opted to paint my bunny pink; things went down for me from there.

I could have sat at the table for hours painting my bunny, but after 30 minutes, I knew my painting skills were horrible.

We took our pottery to the glaze room and my hands were covered with pastel paint.

Pottery in hand, we headed for home.

The next item on the agenda was to make cookies.

The last time I made cookies was at least 10 years ago.

I don’t even own a bowl at home, let alone a mixer or other cookie staples.

She read the directions and advised me on how the process worked.

Once the cookies were in the oven and we were full of chocolate chip cookie dough, we moved on to the school project due on Tuesday.

The school project was a dinosaur diorama.

I had no idea what a diorama was before Saturday, but it is a 3-dimensional display with figures or other objects arranged in a realistic setting against a painted ground. All we had was an empty cut out cardboard box.

She made the dinosaurs on Friday night out of clay; our mission was the ground and the backdrop.

We taped two pieces of newsprint together for the background and put it on her desk.

We decided on watercolor paints to paint the backdrop. I painted one side and she painted the other with volcanoes, mountains and other Jurassic necessities.

The bottom of the box we coated with sand and moss.

She and I decided we needed some rocks to make it realistic.

We bundled up and braved the Chicago elements and went on a rock hunt.

It has been a long time since I have played with Barbies, but it is like riding a bike, you never forget.

In conversation, it was brought to my attention that she only had Barbies and no Ken.

On Friday, the search was on for Ken.

I wanted Ken, his friend Hudson or Prince Charming would not do.

I did not realize how much times have changed. We had to go to two different stores to find him and he no longer had plastic painted on hair.

Growing up I had multiple Ken dolls, which may explain my love life now.

I gave her the plastic bag containing what I thought was the ideal present.

She look at Ken like he was an alien, one of those what am I going to do with this guy kind of looks.

At first I played with Ken. I wanted to get him acquainted to the 30 Barbies.

Later in the afternoon, she took a liking to Ken and he got married to a Barbie.

The only problem is he is wearing shorts and tank top. I forgot to buy some Ken clothes while the Barbie was decked out in a fancy evening gown. I am now on the look out for a Ken sized tuxedo.

She beat me at several games of Chutes and Ladders, but I won the Game of Life.

We played beauty shop and veterinarian with her beanie babies.

At the end of the day I was exhausted.

We curled up in her bed and I read her a couple chapters of Lemony Snickets. She corrected me every time I pronounced the names wrong.

I suggested she read to me, but that did not go ever well so I kept of reading until I was almost asleep.

The next morning it was time for me to catch a plane and her to go home.

She told her mom about all the fun we had and showed off our pottery.

I was embarrassed at mine, but she was so still proud.

It is the simple things in life we take for granted, as we get older.

Sometimes you need to take a day out and eat chocolate chip cookies and play dress up to realize life is too short, children grow up too fast, and no matter how old I get I still want to be a princess too.