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Columns

November 21, 2009

Loving and living with a 6-year-old

When I was One,

I had just begun.

When I was Two,

I was nearly new.

When I was Three,

I was hardly Me.

When I was Four,

I was not much more.

When I was Five,

I was just alive.

But now I am Six, I'm as clever as clever.

So I think I'll be six now for ever and ever.

""A.A. Milne

I was scraping the last, sticky remnants of a teddy bear wallpaper border off my daughter's bedroom wall and remembering the day we put it up.

It was a spur-of-the-moment addition to Allie's first room, a great dollar-store find, with old-fashioned brown teddy bears and yellow stars that matched

the bedding in her crib.

The bear border was in the middle of the wall, with pale-green paint below it and light-blue paint with swirls of white above it.

I remember surveying the room and thinking that it was the perfect balance for a nursery "" comforting and cuddly, but not so babyish that she'd grow out of it too quickly.

And I was right. Allie loved her bears. For nearly six years, they were a familiar fixture in a room where everything else changed. They were there for 4 a.m. feedings and bad dreams; first steps and first-day-of-school outfits. They heard thousands of bedtime stories, including the first one Allie read all by herself.

And then one day this fall, Allie declared her room "too babyish." She wanted a new look, something bright and pretty: pink, purple, butterflies, fairies.

So, the day after her sixth birthday, while she was at school, my sister-in-law helped me surprise her with a bedroom makeover: lavender on the bottom, a shade of pink called Rosy Cheeks on the top and a border of butterfly-winged fairies flitting in between.

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