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Growing Up As Chris Kirkpatrick's Daughter
The Early Years; Part I

I guess it's not always as easy as they say: "Being famous rocks!" or whatever it is? I don't think my Dad's ever regretted having me or my brothers, nor marrying my mother, Danielle. I've never really enjoyed the cameras, nor the attention I was given from the press-EVER!!!

-February 2, 2006-

Daddy drove towards the hospital like a 'madman', so my mom says. I was their first of three kids, the only girl, and I suppose he was nervous. Mom and Dad always tell the story like this:

It was a fairly warm night for a February in Orlando. Mom had done a lot of walking that day, which triggered her labor. Dad was home, luckily, and was with her the whole time. Never leaving my mom's side. They have a tape of after I was born. I guess 'Uncle' Joey had taped it.

"Chris she's so precious." Danielle, my mother, said. She held me in her arms, and Dad looked at me.

"She's just like you." He whispered, and kissed her forehead. "The baby needs a name." he said.

"I know." Mom said, "What should it be?"

"Dakota Belle?" he suggested.

"Hi Dakota." Mother whispered to me. I just yawned and was back to sleep in like two seconds.

Daddy always jokes that I should remember that day, but sadly I don't. I wish I could tell you how he came up with my name (I still haven't asked). Daddy always calls me 'Kota Belle', he's the only one allowed to, and will only be allowed too! He's such a silly guy, but I love him to death. I hope my fiancee will be that good to our kids one day.

Momma always seems to gush about the day I started walking. She says we were at the Grammy's and it was my fist 'real public' appearance. With the camera's and all that jazz.

The cameras flashed around us. Dad held me proudly in his arms, as he and Mom walked down the red carpet. The three of us stopped to talk to a few reporters, along with my 'Uncles' and their girls near us.

"So who is this pretty lady?" The reporter asked my Dad about me.

"This is Dakota." Dad said, he smiled proudly, and had me 'wave' to the camera.

It was at the after party. Dad had wanted to go talk to someone, so Mom was watching me. Daddy walked away, and I guess I wanted to be with him That's when I climbed out of my mother's lap, and held on to her leg to steady myself. I walked a few steps and fell on my butt. Mom picked me up. Dad must have been watching me, and came over right away. He took me in his arms, and kissed me lots of times. I giggled as he tickled me.

"You are such a big girl, 'Kota." Dad said. He gave me another kiss.

"She's full of energy too." Mom said, she kissed my forehead, "You still want me to watch her for a second?"

"No she can be with me now." Dad said. He gave my Mom a kiss, and went back to where his friend was.

When I was two or three and my parents would go out on a date, they would, of course, leave me with a baby-sitter. The baby-sitter always reported back to them; that I would cry and cry sitting by the door, and finally exhaust myself so much I'd fall asleep right in the foyer. On those nights my parents allowed the sitter to put me to bed in their room, they knew I'd sleep better there.

I remember when they'd come home. Daddy would come into his room, and wake me up to put me in my own bed. He would carry me sleepily and lay me down on my 'big girl' bed. In there Daddy would sing me my three favorite songs, which at that time was 'The Alphabet Song', 'Sing a Song of Sixpence', and 'How Much is That Doggy in the Window'.

"Now 'Kota Belle it's time to sleep in your own bed." Daddy would say after he had sang. He would kiss my forehead, and sit down in the rocking chair.

"Night Daddy." I would always say, "I love you."

I would be awake by time he had finished singing them, and he would just sit in there until I fell asleep. Which on any 'normal' night he wouldn't do.

When I was four I got my first little brother, Jordan Banks. I didn't like him at all! I wanted all the attention I could get from my Dad and Mom. Daddy used to say I would scream every time Jordan would cry. So the house was very noisy. Even at night Dad would come to my room, and Mom would check on Jordan. He's a Momma's Boy because of me, but I guess that would make me a Daddy's Girl? Again 'Uncle' Joey seemed to get me screaming on tape, I laugh when I see it.

Jordan had a set of lungs, and so did I. He was crying VERY loud, and I started to scream. All of my 'Uncles' where over for some reason, and laughed because of this. Daddy came over to me and picked me up. He would walk me around for however long Jordan would cry, because I would stop as soon as he stopped. Mom of course went straight for the 'baby'.

"'Kota Belle, hush." Dad said.

"No." Stubborn as always.

"Yes, please. Jordan needs to sleep, and it's not gonna happen if you scream." Daddy would say all the time.

"So." I would pout, and scream, "I DON'T LIKE HIM!!!"

"Yes you do." Dad would always say. "Now be a big girl and get quiet 'Kota Belle."

He would never yell at me, even though while watching it I could tell he wanted to. I was spoiled, and knew how to get what I wanted all the time.