Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The sisters

Of late, this scene is played at least once a day in our household:

Baby, baby, the Bean-girl croons, touching her little sister's face, playing with her hair. Baby Legume laughs and laughs, all pink gums and crinkled eyes, her little body shaking with the force of her laughter. Her laughs provoke answering peals of laughter in her big sister. They both laugh harder, squealing and laughing, a feed-forward cycle, positive feed-back loop of delight. For as long as 10 minutes (an eternity in baby time) they play this game, this mysterious game that their parents look upon; their father and I are amused and wondering, but, ultimately, outside their shared circle of mirth.

A friend of mine once told me that her oldest child had the ability to make her youngest laugh harder than anyone else could. I don't know how she does it, my friend had said. She makes faces, but I don't think that they're at all funny. But her little sister just laughs and laughs.

Now I see it for myself. I can make the Legume laugh with tickle-kisses and peek-a-boo. But frankly, I don't have the patience to keep it up like her older sister does.

I think of the times my sisters and I laughed our heads off at some silly private joke, some silly thing that provoked only exasperation in our parents. My two younger sisters are closer in age to one another, and they shared more of these moments when we were all young--laughter that bordered on hysteria, laughter that caused my mother to warn, "Stop that!" because, she said, laughter like that would always turn into tears in a matter of minutes. (She was often right. Little girls are volatile that way).

We still often laugh at things that leave our parents completely cold. (No wonder, perhaps, when we're often laughing at them). We laugh at things no other person would "get." For all the squabbles and tensions and sometimes distances, sisterhood is a special circle that has no replacement.

I know that the Bean-girl and Baby Legume won't always have it so good together. Right now is a honeymoon phase--little Baby Legume idolizes her sister, Bean-girl adores her "baby." There will be plenty of squabbles and tears in the future. But I hope they will always have this laughter. When childhood tensions and squabbles are over, I hope they will remain the best of friends.


Tonight as I put the Bean-girl to bed, I told her that tommorrow is a "mommy day." That's a day when she doesn't go to preschool/daycare, and gets to spend the whole day at home with me.

Will Daddy be at work? she inquired.

Yes, I said sadly. Daddy will be at work. He won't be home with us. Do you miss him when he's at work?

Yes, she said. And then, after a moment. But sometimes I like it with just one person. A beat. And sometimes I like it with four persons. Even with the Baby Legume


Anonymous said...

Very sweet. I'll bet they will always be good friends.

EcoGeoFemme said...

How sweet. I can't imagine life without my sisters, either. Even though they range from 9 to 17 years older than me, it's still such a special bond.

TheMusingMommy said...

What a sweet story, and what cute children! I have three sisters, and I value my relationship with each of them very much. There's nothing like a sister!

ScienceMama said...

I love Bean-girl's gigantic grin!

I was blessed with two sisters and two brothers. I have a special relationship with each of my siblings, but with my sisters in particular. Thank goodness for little girls (and big strong women!).

Rana said...

haha. baby legume will always look up to the bean. that's just the way it goes with sisters! it's like gravity.