Friday, January 9, 2009
I miss my sissy
My sister is leaving tomorrow. She is flying alone. Alone with two children. The problem is that Jude, who is two months old, but whose head is the same size, if not bigger than, my ten-month-old's, alternates between days of indignant crying and days when he appears to be Rip Van Winkle. If Jude has a crying day, then I can guarantee there will be a lot of Northwest airlines passengers hating themselves for wanting to club a small infant into unconsciousness, and also a wheelchair waiting at the gate for my sister's quick transport to the nearest mental institution. Meanwhile, Sylvie will probably still be asking for "more chocolate, Aunt Saskia," pronounced "mo-uh choc-yet, Aunt Suckya." I always give it to her. Being an aunt is fun like that.
We really had fun having them here, though I am not sure my sister would say she had fun being here. The biggest problem when she visits is always getting her a good night's sleep, because what little noise the earplugs, fan, and sound machine don't block, she hears. She not only has a bionic ear, she also sense vibrations like a bat. Her biggest complaint is that she can hear us all moving about on the wooden floors beneath her. We literally confined the older girls to chairs and glued them to their seats with large doses of Jay Jay the Jet Plane episodes. Baby Molly was a problem because her crawling "sounded like a herd of elephants," so she was relegated to the carpeted areas, or else was strapped to her high chair. Dean even took to gliding about the kitchen on his socks like an ice skater.
My sister also had trouble relaxing and letting Frankie and Sylvie get into scraps. Sylvie is a law man. Doing things in a way that she does not approve of is simply not tolerated. When I tried to apply make-up to Molly's face (why am I always the beauty slave?), Sylvie got so agitated you'd think I was applying sulfuric acid to her mother's forehead. "No do that to Mommy, Aunt Suckya. No do that to Mommy's face!" And you can't help but comply because rather than getting madder and louder, Sylvie's little face crumples like you've killed a kitten in front of her and she WEEPS. Frankie maliciously enjoyed picking the scab of Sylvie's desire to have the world ordered just so. "You're my baby Jude," Frankie would coo. "No is Frankie's baby Jude. SYLVIE'S baby Jude." "NO, SYLV, he's MY baby Jude." Meanwhile, Sylvie has become so deeply offended she is collapsed in her mother's arms, grieving over the fact that Frankie does not recognize her rightful role as Jude's big sister.
But for every moment of pressing each other's buttons, there was an equal moment of rejoicing in each other's company. There was much kissing, and hugging, running from room to room in exultant nudity, joyous reunions after nap time. There were adventures making cupcakes and dumping out canisters of Puffs and lying on top of one another. There was fighting, yes, but there was LOVE.