Monday, October 6, 2008

Let sisterly love continue

Frankie starts "minastics" today. Somehow starting a gymnastics class, rather than her turning three, has made me realize how much she has grown up. Most of the time I just look at her diminutive size and fool myself into thinking she is just an extremely precocious and very verbally advanced 18-month-old. But I can no longer be in denial. The transition from babyhood to little girl happened so quickly. One nice side effect has been that I no longer dread taking her with me on errands. She has actually become good company, albeit company that never ever stops querying me. In our short trip to Joann Fabrics yesterday I was asked to provide the answers to the following questions:
1) Why that van looks just like Oma's van?
2) Why that thing has folded up together like that, Mom? (unidentified object I cannot see her pointing at). It was hit by lightning? Or maybe thunder? Can you please tell me? Can you?
3) Why there are so many cars at this house, Mommy? They are having a party?
4) Why the road is so bumpy, Mommy? We drove on a drain, Mom?
5) Why you are going so fast, Mommy? The police will catch you?

Once in Joann Fabrics, the trip was extended exponentially as we had to stop and ooh and aah over every blue bolt of fabric in the store, each blue button, blue rickrack, blue sequins, you get the picture. But, she doesn't bolt away from me in the aisles, she can be talked out of pushing the cart, and she doesn't ask to nurse in the middle of the notions section; she has become a grown girl. She has also developed a rather charming habit. When I ask her do something, like carry my sewing basket to the couch, she answers "I would love to." I don't know where she got it, since I probably snarl "No, Frankie, No, Frankie, No, Frankie" in response to most of her requests of me.
The one grown-up habit I wish she would abandon is her insistence on holding her little sister. Molly is intoxicated with her newfound crawling freedom, and the last thing she wants to do is be put into a bear hug, locked between Frankie's legs. If she tries to escape, Frankie hooks her around the neck like she's using a shepherd's staff and hauls her back to her lap. I suspect the forced holding is not done so much out of love as out of a need to dominate and assert her position as alpha wolf since Molly has been making plays for Frankie's favorite toys. I have had to break up many a tug-of-war over Gordon the Express Engine already, and I know this is just a foretaste of years of sisterly battles.
But at least Frankie is paying attention to Molly now. I worried at first because Frankie was totally and completely uninterested in Molly the first six months of her life. All the other toddler girls would be huddled around the baby, cooing and offering her things, fretting when she cried, while Frankie would breeze by and tell me "Just let her fuss for a little bit, Mom." I want them to be as close as my sister Molly and I are. There is no one in the world that can make me giggle like my sister. I mean, how could you not laugh at someone who falls to the living room floor in sudden crippling and debilitating pain because she claims her "hip fell out of its socket" or who calls you befuddled because the balloons she just spent her small nine-months-pregnant lung capacity blowing up don't float?

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