I am the youngest of four, each a year apart in age. I was always a little risk averse; a little cautious. Certain siblings might have said a little cowardly. On my sixth birthday, my brothers and sister told me that I was a big girl now, and I had to stand in the attic, in the dark, for one minute without screaming or crying. Other big kids might have done something to make it creepier - not let me out, made spooky noises. But I stood there quietly, and at the end of a minute they let me out and congratulated me on being "all grown up." No parent could have topped that gift.
Over the years I've confronted a lot of my fears: motorcycles, worms, souffles. But I am still scared to fly with this child of mine - and all my relatives live 3,000 miles away. I get it, you have to be prepared for six hours of suckiness and then it's over and you get to see your family, but I'm totally chicken.
Luckily I have family members who will still indulge me - the youngest, the scaredy-cat who still screams if you turn the lights off when I'm in the shower. This summer I got visits from my sister and brother with their kids (that's right, they each flew, alone, with two). I didn't realize how much fun it would be to see little J, the only child, interacting with her cousins. And can we just be honest and say that playing with 6-8 year olds is a relief after reading Night-Night Moon AGAIN?
I had so much fun with my bakers - there is one in each family, so it goes without saying that I challenged them to a Top-Chef bake off against each other. That
I made awhile back was fairly straight-forward and allowed room for decorating where they could really show off their style, so first baker up was eight-year-old Amari. Strike a pose, girl.
Her older sis joined in for the decorating:
And the final products - how about those kiwi flowers?!
It was so fun to have these girls here - I especially love that they taught J to say "night night" whenever she sees someone falling asleep. It became a game for her on a long drive to Vermont - one girl would start to drift off and she'd scream "NIE NIE!!!" Now the whole neighborhood can hear us putting her to bed.
Next up was my sister with her two kids. DJ, is the six-year-old baker in that family. Here he is with his creations:
He hid his kiwi slices under the mounds of strawberries and raspberries for a mid-bite surprise. And it may be that my sister and I got to the mini-tarts before he did, so we'll take credit for that mess. I loved his alternating raspberry/blueberry border.
While he baked, the girl cousins debated the merits of dump-trucks v. front loaders.
They are less than two years apart, and it was so cute to see them acting all sisterly in the twinsy shirts I made them:
Finally, DJ runs a lemonade stand during the summer with fruit picked from his Southern California backyard (why do I live in New England?) and requested an apron with separate pockets like a waiter apron for making change. I'd found this lemon fabric at the Cambridge Quilt Shop,
so we whipped this up one afternoon:
Pose like you're serving!
It's been a great summer, but I know if I want some winter warmth I'm going to have to get on that plane. Maybe Mr. Responsibly can watch J while I'm gone!