Top of the Morning, May 6, 2014

When she asked her daughter what she'd like for her fifth birthday, Tracy Grotrian figured it'd be a stuffed animal or doll or maybe a board game.

Anything but I want to milk a cow.

"Kids come up with the craziest ideas," Tracy said.

But Kiera Grotrian, a Mahomet preschooler, was serious.

"She told me she had been dreaming about milking a cow for four years," Tracy said. "I said 'Well, you're only 5.' "

Kiera's curiosity was piqued by visits to her grandfather's farm east of Westville, where she would feed apples to Gary McArdle's cattle. That Tracy had a pet cow growing up probably helped, too.

Thanks to Ludwig Farmstead Creamery near Oakwood High School, Kiera's birthday wish was fulfilled. With her family at her side last week, Kiera got up close and personal with a dairy cow.

"She was surprised how big they were," Tracy said. "But she wasn't scared."

Not even close.

"She told us 'I might need a little privacy because this is between me and the cow.' " Tracy said. "But we were there the whole time."

Mom is happy to report the milking went well. Showing technique of someone well beyond her years, Kiera squatted, grabbed, pulled and delivered. She had messy hands to prove it.

"When the milk squirted out, she said it was just right: not too hot or too cold," Tracy said.

Planning hasn't started for Kiera's sixth birthday party, but Mom is sure she'll celebrate somewhere on a farm. Even if Dad isn't buying it.

"Usually she's a real girly girl," Tracy said. "My husband Dave says he can't understand how she goes from a princess to milking cows."

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