MIA SINGH: Everything in its place on the Hill

Asked to describe her house, Mia Singh says, "I don't know what describe means."

"Describe means to say what something is like," I said, "usually what it looks like. If I were to describe what you are wearing, I'd say it's a pretty pink and red brocade A-line dress with a broad red velvet border along the hem, a gray satin sash ('Silver,' Mia interjects) and three rhinestones at the neckline."

"Oh, I see," says Mia. Describing her house she says, "It has lots of parts to it." Describing her Queen Anne neighborhood, she says, "I see lots of hills and I go up. When I bike, sometimes my mom has to push me up."

Then she turns the subject back to something more important. "I'm going to wear this dress on my birthday," she says with a twirl.

Mia is very excited about her birthday; she will turn five on January 19. She and several other little girls will go to Lily's salon for kids for a "Power of Pink" party. "Everyone has to wear pink," she says. "Everyone will get their hair done."

\ASKED WHERE she was born, Mia replies, "In the hospital." Her mother Jill Dickinson clarifies that it was a natural birthing center, in Seattle. "I could say everything when I was born," adds Mia.

Jill is originally from Minnesota; Mia's father Vipin Singh emigrated from India when he was 13 (the two met in Minnesota). Asked what her parents do, Mia says that her mom "works on the computer" and her dad "goes to work." (More precisely, her mom buys and sells things on eBay for a hobby, and her dad is founder and CEO of a real estate technology company.)

Mia has a little brother, Liam, 15 months old. She likes to take bubble baths with him. "I put bubbles on my head and make a bubble beard for him."

Rounding out the family is Logan, a friendly collie mix.

Mia attended Sunshine School, a preschool for toddlers on Queen Anne, and now she attends Little Friends Preschool every morning. Asked if she likes it, she nods vigorously. Her favorite teacher is Becca, who draws pictures for her. "She can even draw princesses and ice skaters with ponytails," says Mia. (She wants to be a "mama, ice skater and ballerina" when she grows up, in that order.)

Mia's favorite period of the morning is Circle Time. "We talk about stuff," she says, stuff pertaining to the topic of the week. Topics include colors, math, a letter of the alphabet, a certain country and animals with common traits, like nocturnal animals.

One afternoon a week, Mia attends dance class in the neighborhood. The other afternoons are filled with play dates with friends. Does she have a best friend? "That's a hard question," she says diplomatically. She thinks, then says, "Izabel. She likes to play Barbies."

Mia's room is amazingly neat for a child's room. Barbies and other toys are stored in categorized bins around the perimeter. Mia's pink-tufted "magic lamp" sits in the corner. She eagerly demonstrates how it turns on at a mere tap. She clambers onto her high bed to pose for photographs. I move some items out of the way. When we're done, she asks me to put them back.

What scares Mia? She cringes at the question, raising her shoulders and gathering her fists together. "Monsters, ghosts and spiders," she says. "They bite me all the time." Mom Jill confirms this - about spiders, anyway.

Mia's favorite food is spaghetti. What kind of sauce? She struggles with the word, and finally comes up with "paneto." Eating out, she likes Palisades. "They have a lake and a waterfall and a bridge," she says. "And fish."

"I can do piano," she says, a claim substantiated by the presence of a toy grand piano in the living room. "Plus, I'm a good singer." She gives an impromptu performance, singing a syllabic melody, gracefully raising and lowering her arms, extending her legs and pointing her toes.

Is there anything else she wants to say to readers of the newspaper?

"There's more," she says, "but I'm too tired."

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