Over the long weekend the little Goofs and I drove up to Philadelphia to visit my brother, his wife and my two nieces. I am on good terms with the older one, but hadn’t met the newest one quite yet.
GoofBoy was happy to talk sports with his beloved uncle while GoofGirl wanted to hone her baby-sitting skills on her cousins. GoofGirl takes impending adulthood very seriously. She begs me to make playdates with much younger kids so she can practice her baby-sitting. She has been known to sneak downstairs early in the morning, make her own lunch and try to do laundry because, “It’s fun!”
A not quite three year old could easily be overwhelmed by a pack of semi-strangers trying to play with her –but not my niece. She loved it. After a few minutes she was grabbing her big cousin and ordering her to come with her to play. When I lay down on the floor, she immediately demanded horseback rides (this is a dad thing that I own!) We even played a little peekaboo, although I think she’s grown out of it.
She took me up to her room and we talked about the letters of the alphabet, she had to help me because I kept getting them wrong. It was a delightful half-hour, and it made me miss when mine were toddlers. Of course, when mine were toddlers the delightful half-hours stretched into incredibly dull afternoons.
My brother and I found a few minutes for brotherly one-upmanship. The new niece is a serious napper (she gets that from me, I’m sure.) But, towards the end of the day she woke up, and, as babies are wont within an hour she was cranky and crying again. So I took her, sang to her gently and she settled down. My brother scowled, “Great, another thing you do better then me!”
This is an ironic statement, since my brother is a fully functional and employed adult whereas I am, well, Father Goof. But his wife chimed in, making me so very, very glad that he married her, “Plus he’s taller then you!”
And I am, a whole half inch!