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Santa Rosa, Calif.
Oct. 31, 2002

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In hindsight, the Eiffel Tower costume wasn't such a good idea. Or maybe it was a cute idea, but I didn't execute it right: too wide at the bottom, and too awkward around the middle. And that darn hat wouldn't stay on. So wide at the legs that she couldn't make it up onto some of the little porches on our street. Or if she could, the other kids couldn't get up next to her.

Em took it in stride, like she usually does, first losing the hat and saying she was the Eiffel Tower under construction. Then climbing out of the entire body and saying she was the Eiffel Tower before it was built. I offered to run home and get her Mulan costume, but she made the most of her black outfit, and decided she was a spy.

Standing there in the dark, watching her struggle with the thing, I tried to remember who had wanted her to be an Eiffel Tower, and I realized it probably wasn't her idea. It was probably her parents, eager to come up with something more out of the ordinary than the usual fare for a young girl, which is any variation on a princess.

Next year, she can be a princess again.