Sunday, June 24, 2007

Saving the best for last..

This week I have been posting about our recent trip to California. Of all the memorable aspects, there is one thing that stands out in my mind - the cousins. Seeing our two monkeys interact with their west coast counterparts was fun. Really fun.

Three cousins helped keep the monkeys occupied - the three muskateers -a/k/a Lexi (6), Lauren(4), and Ashley (1 and a 1/2). The age differences at this stage mean a lot. Which made things all the more interesting. Jordan is almost 2 1/2. He's pretty verbal, active, and definitely knows what he likes and doesn't. His personality, ever growing larger, is pronounced.

The cousins, each at different points in their development, gave me comparisons and glimpses of what I might see in the future.

Lexi (6), was the nurturer and leader of the pack. As the oldest, she was the most verbal, the first to suggest games to play or books to read. Above, she actually enticed Jordan into sitting on the couch for a bedtime story before he went to sleep. And he agreed happily - not just once, but on a couple different nights.

Lexi, like her parents, hosted playdates with effortless ease. She shared her toys, tolerated baby videos after dinner, and helped me at bath time. By the way, how many 6 year olds do you know who understand the term "turn-down service?" This one does. And she did it. The beds in her parents house were turned down, the lights dimmed, and the only thing missing was a chocolate mint on the pillow. I asked Lexi if she would consider moving to New Jersey, but she declined.

Ahsley's wading pool was a big hit for the monkey. Ashley (1 1/2)was completely at ease in the water, climbing into and out of the pool unassisted. She's already potty-trained, and can keep up with her bigger cousins at the playground. Here, she seems mesmerized by the monkey's antics. What had me equally spellbound was Ashley the eating machine.

She and Mina were the pace setters for the pack at mealtime. After the others were sated and long gone, these two were still at the table putting the rest of them to shame.

Lauren (4)at first seemed a little bit quieter than her sister, Lexi. My initial impression was proven wrong as the week progressed. She was every bit as talkative, imaginative, and helpful. I think she got a real kick out of babying Mina. One night, she helped me give Mina a bath, diaper her, dress her in her pajamas, and brush her hair. We had a lengthy discussion about why we needed to brush gentle, because babies still had "soft heads."

"Not like us," said Lauren. "We're big."

"That's right," I said, trying not to smile, at the sight of this little burst of sunshine describing herself as "Big."

I guess it's all a question of perspective. She did blow big bubbles, that's for sure.

It will be a while before this group gets to hang out together again. The next reunion will hopefully be in November, and I am curious to see what they will all be up to then.
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