There are times I feel like being a dad is almost like being a scientist. And this blog is kind of like my field journal. As Darwin penned his origin story on the Galapagos, I too am charting the evolutionary process of a little girl. Well, three little girls. I got a particularly interesting look at things last week as several different scenarios came to a front. Gina's friend from up north came down with her two kids (boy 4 and girl 5) and stayed the week with us. Then, on Wednesday night, my 12 year old sister in law had a sleep over (spring break) with 5 of her little girl friends. Add to that there is a 19 year old sister-in-law as well (17 year old was tromping around Europe last week so she didn't come in to play). Here's what I saw: we all know that Rosaline loves to watch the twins. They mesmerize her like nothing else and she squeals with delight any time they associate with her. My girls, meanwhile, were fascinated by the 5 year old. They wanted to follow here around everywhere. They wanted to hold her hand and sit next to her watching a movie. They wanted to play with her dolls and dress the way she was. Naturally, the 5 year old was shadowing the 12 year olds the whole night. Wanting to play what they were playing and laughing at things she didn't understand, simply because they were laughing. Then the 19 year old came over and I could hear her talking to the 12 year olds as they ate dinner and, you guessed it, they were all intrigued by this grown up teenager. All the while the 19 year old just wants is to strike out in the world as her own adult. What suddenly flashed in to my mind was this re-imagined Evolutionary Chart of Man. You know, the one that goes from fish to upright walker in the course of 5 or 6 images. Except this time it was of my girls. I've got the first two stages; the infant and the toddler. But the rest of them all under the same roof really painted quite the diagram. After toddler is child. Then pre-teen. Then teen. Then woman. Then. ... (gulp) wife. And don't get all PC on me - I realize "wife" may not be their end destination and I'm not pigeon holing them into that. This is strictly for educational purposes. It's science, so back off. But that really does freak me out. It's like I've really only got one stage left before I lose them to teenagerious sapien. One more stage before they get all teenager on me. After that. ... when it goes from "daddy" to "dad". ... well, then my moment is gone. My job evolves as well. I'll go from the cuddly chair and the human jungle gym to the monetary provider and the screener of boyfriends. Good jobs. Jobs that are important. But I really like being the jungle gym. I really like being the cuddly chair. I really like being Daddy. Why does this stuff have to go so quickly. Why can't they stay this way for ever? I guess the true beauty of parenthood is watching the cycle. Not the stages, but the whole cycle. If you stopped a marathon at the 3rd water stage it'd be called a 5k. ... and that's just not quite as impressive. So bring it. You don't have to rush it. ... but go ahead and bring it.