Is it just me, or am I getting old?

It feels like it was yesterday that I cut my toddler sister’s red locks of hair on our kitchen stools when my mother wasn’t looking; that I learned to whistle in the back of my mimi’s car; that I nearly drowned in a pool at my Daisy Girl Scout Troop summer party and decided to take swim lessons; that I first learned to ride a bike on vacation in North Carolina; that I started freshman year.

My five-year-old dog is aging beautifully. She doesn’t look a day over five months old, and the best part about her is that she still acts like she’s five months old — a sweet, ridiculous puppy! Unfortunately, I find her “eternal puppy personality” to be unmatched with everyone else in my life. How can my youngest sister possibly approach her 10th birthday? How can my fifth-grade sister be interested in TikTok instead of “Sofia the First?” How can my 16-year-old sister have her driver’s license? How can I be nearing the end of my senior year?

I thought I just turned 10 — that’s when my mom surprised me with my ear-piercing appointment and sleepover birthday party. Could I have had earrings for eight years now?

Last time I checked, Disney Channel is still awesome — I’d take watching “Good Luck Charlie” over karaoke-dance videos any day!

Also, didn’t I just get my driver’s license? Come to think of it, I suppose that was two years ago. Huh.

When I think of myself, I don’t think, “high school senior,” I think “small child kindergartner” looking up at “high school senior.” I remember so clearly the play dates with friends who had much older siblings. I remember how they explained that their brother was in his first year of college, and their older sister was about to go into high school — I truly wasn’t sure if there was a difference between the two education levels. Nowadays, I still share the same point of view as kindergarten Madeline: I don’t feel that different from the middle-schoolers, or the elementary school kids; I can still relate to them, I still remember what they’re going through.

I want time to stop. I want to scoop my baby sisters out of their baby photos and watch them toddle around our house again. I want to be able to play American Girl dolls with my sisters without feeling self-conscious about my age. I wish I could meet freshman me and tell her not only how wonderful the next few years would be for her, but also to embrace every opportunity to be a kid.

As a second-semester senior, there’s only so much time left with my family and childhood friends before we part ways for, well, the rest of our lives. I don’t know where I’ll end up in my future, what kind of adventures, fun, heartbreak and love I’ll face, but I do know that I’ll definitely keep biking on vacation. I might try to cut my sister’s hair again, but maybe she’ll have a TikTok video with instructions this time. There will be plenty of swimming, now that I’ve dedicated years to the sport, but I do not guarantee a single unicorn floaty’s safety, (you need eccentric floaties to have fun of course).

I suppose what I am expressing is that while I am growing up, and watching my sisters and friends do the same, (with the exception of my dog), I’m also in no hurry to move on or leave behind the child in me.

I’ll be right back, it’s sisters’ night out, and I’m driving my three red heads to watch Frozen 2!

Pass it on.

Madeline Pennino is a senior at Wilton High School.

She shares this column with three classmates.