Are you okay?  

My boyfriend recently traveled to the states to meet my family for the first time.  I was also meeting one family member for the first time- not so little Ollie, who is about 8 months and wears the same size diaper as his big sister Sophia, who is about 2 1/2.  

The first morning, as I went downstairs to hold Ollie and renew my friendship with Sophia, my boyfriend started making noise in the shower.  Sophia looks around, and notices that her mom and dad are there, and so are grandma and grandpa.  Sophia looks at me, points up the stairs, and says “who’s that?”  I should have said “your new best friend” because soon, that’s what they became.  

A few short minutes later when I left to take my turn in the shower, I heard giggles, squeals, and electronic toy sounds coming from the living room.  From then on, every time he walked into a room, Sophia would say “hi!” and when he sat down, Sophia would be over shortly.  

Sophia doesn’t say a lot of words yet- well, she thinks she’s saying words but they’re just sounds.  Yes and no and okay are pretty clear, and if you’re in the middle of her game you can easily figure out what she’s saying with body language and context clues.  But a few times, she surprised us with a sentence.  

The next evening, my boyfriend is sitting in the recliner.  I join him by sitting on the cushy arm of the chair.  Sophia comes over, gives us each a ball, and boldly climbs on up, turns around, and sits down.  She’s not sitting for long though, she’s standing and putting all the weight behind her little arms and legs and not watching where she’s putting them.  Ow, my boobs and I can’t even imagine where her little feet are going.  We play with the mini kickballs for a few minutes until someone gets hurt.  It’s my boyfriend, and he’s caught Sophia’s elbow with his glasses.  Not really hurt, but reflexive surprise.  She knows from the immediate pause in warfare, and she says “Are you okay? Did you have fun?”  Not the slightest pause between her two perfect sentences.  After a moment of silence, the room began to laugh.  How many times does she hear these two good parenting sentences?  I bet they won’t be forgotten in our family any time soon.  

The next day while standing in the sandwich shop order line, she grabs onto a menu and parades around with it.  Up and down the line, looking up at everybody instead of where she’s going, but magically isn’t hitting anything.  One woman looks down and Sophia, feeling the need to say something because of the eye contact, greets the woman with “I’m reading!”  We finally get all our food at the table and Sophia doesn’t eat anything except black olives out of my sandwich and a few other pickings from her other neighbors.  

The whole 2 days, I heard Ollie cry three times, twice when he was getting his boogers sucked out, and once because he was cold.  Most of the time, he was a little owl with big eyes and ears, watching and learning.  

What a joy to be an aunt, where there’s plenty of play time, smiles, giggles, and too much clapping for a job well done… or for getting a toy placed on your head.  

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