Last year the pony ride was the highlight of our trip to the North Carolina State Fair.

This year, she wasn’t interested.

“What do you want to ride?”

“The roller coaster!”

Fortunately, she was too short to ride the big roller coaster. So she settled for the pre-schooler ride, the Dragon Wagon! And the ferris wheel, the spinning teacups, the spinning hot-air balloons that go up and down as they go around and the giant circling swing.

Ella was even willing to sit next to total pint-size strangers.

All for the thrill of speed.

Where she gets this I don’t know. Trish isn’t the death-defying type. I like going fast, but only if I’m piloting whatever craft I’m in. I didn’t ride a roller coaster until I was 15, and then it was only to impress a couple of girls. I don’t do loops well. We’re going to have to enlist her Uncle Doug for trips to serious amusement parks.

But Ella. When we lived in Maine, before she could talk and when she could barely walk, she would bring her snow boots and snow suit to us and point us toward the sled. We couldn’t go fast enough.  The first time she sat in her Big Wheel she went zipping down the driveway, laughing so hard she couldn’t breathe. She’ll sit on the little 12-inch bike she’s riding now, at the top of the steepest hill in our neighborhood, and start peddling. She tries to ride the bike with no hands.

So, it’s come to this. From a sedate ride around a 20-foot circle atop a half-asleep pony to zipping through the air on rails. Big sigh. My little girl. Growing up. And she’s been on this earth less than two years.

Another daring feat: Ella milked a cow.

Well, she didn’t really milk it. But she touched its teat. For $2.

I crouched down at the head of the cow and got slobbered on. I wonder what that cow thought. People were pulling on her at one end but the only body she could see was mine. She blinked those big brown eyes and gave me a nudge.

That, besides watching my kid have fun, was as exciting as it got for me.