She wants to be a veterinarian.
Not a photographer.
That's what she told me in the car that morning as we drove her brother to the babysitter's house. We had a new routine wherein she doesn't stay with the sitter but rather goes along with me a few miles further to her preschool, and she was getting used to that as well.
“Tell me again, mama. … Am I going to the four-year class or the five-year class?”
It would be third first day of preschool. She is four going on 24.
She’s got her life planned out already.
Instead of using the word veterinarian, however, she called it a "doctor for animals."
Who can blame her: Veterinarian is hard to pronounce.
She wants to be a doctor who waits tables and makes pies. She wants to help babies and animals that are hurt and in need of sweets. Suffice it to say she wants to help cats who are sick.
But she's going to need assistance, she explains. She's not sure if she can fix an animal that has had its foot cut off, an affliction she's sure will be commonplace in her practice.
She's not sure if there will be "antibotices" when she grows up, either. I tell her she's quite an astute little girl, especially given the up-tick in antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.
She takes umbrage, and accuses me of calling her stupid.
I tell her astute implies the opposite; that her observations are shrewd.
She's not swayed by my backtracking, but she's excited nevertheless to be going back to the Marilla Cuthbert Academy for Unspeakably Charming Children, where she's been attending classes since the tender age of two.
We are early. She's agreed to let me take her picture.
I'm not sure why, since her face takes on its usual surley expression as I lift my camera. A neighbor with an infant sees us and calls over to me, asking if I'd like her to take a picture of the two of us.
I hand her my camera and explain she only has to make sure it's in focus; the rest is already to go.
She clicks the shutter and looks at the display.
Appologizing that she didn't get us centered in the frame.
"It's a cute picture, though."
Annabel tells her not to worry about it, that she's done fine.
"Whenever I take pictures of mommy I accidentally cut her head off."