When I was little it was mermaid, hands down. I was mesmerized by the story of The Little Mermaid, you see, (not the saccharine Disney version but the original tale by Hans Christian Andersen). You know--the one where the sorceress cuts off the mermaid's tongue and makes her drink a potion containing blood taken from her own breast? And when the love affair goes south and that meathead prince decides to marry some mortal bit of fluff, the mermaid's sisters appear out of nowhere with a dagger and tell her to off him in his sleep? But she's too devoted so instead she throws herself into the ocean and becomes eternal vapor? Yeah, that version. That immensely child-appropriate bedtime story my mother used to tell me, ensuring yet another sleepless night.
In fact, I was so charmed by mermaids that I actually invented a mermaid swimstroke, in which legs are pressed together like a fluke, undulating powerfully to thrust the swimmer through the water. I got pretty good at it.
Check it out: one time years ago, when I was travelling to a violin competition, I tried out my mermaid moves in the hotel swimming pool while my mom took a nap. Only problem was, the pool had a floor like the orange-zest side of a cheese grater. I was swimming low and fast, lost in my world of make-believe, when I suddenly torpedoed myself against the upward slope leading to the shallow end. I believe I actually heard a grinding noise. I opened my eyes, saw red, and immediately swam into the floor again. I was so disoriented it took me about a year to find the surface, and then I dripped blood all the way back to our room. Imagine the look on my mom's face when she opened the door.
Later that day I could be found playing a concerto and sporting what appeared to be a prosthetic nose made of raw hamburger. How did I fare? I can't recall--I believe I had a concussion. But it's probably safe to say the judges were too horrified to register a single note.
Ah, nostalgia, how you mock me! How you flaunt my secret fantasies until they are as obvious as, well, the nose on my face!
Anyway, I asked my girls this very question today as we were driving to swim team. Sophie chose mermaid. Caroline chose fairy. Izzy went last and she chose mer-fairy. And then the other girls protested because they hadn't been made aware of this option, and everyone wanted to modify their vote, and I love that we almost went to fisticuffs over this intensely crucial hypothetical situation.
p.s. Thank you for your concern and empathy regarding my late night encounter with the scorpion. How nice to be validated! But for a slight twitch above my left eye, I am pretty much back to normal. I hope you all have a lovely and spooky (but not scorpion spooky) Halloween weekend!