Winston Skinner

Big sister ... baby sister

The only thing more fun that being Clair Lynn’s Pop is being Clair Lynn and Quinn’s Pop.

Grandparenting is filled with magic and joy. Clair Lynn recently celebrated her fifth birthday with a race-from-place-to-place party at Monkey Joe’s that left her exhausted, happy and pink-cheeked. Quinn is now seven months old.

I babysat for them one day and discovered that – since my last visit – Quinn now wants to hold her own bottle. If I tried to help, she would pull it away. My favorite part of the process, however, was when she was about half done with the bottle. She would stop drinking, touch the rim of the bottle tenderly and coo.

She made lots of sweet little noises, letting me – and I guess the bottle – know that she loves it. After awhile, she would drain it dry.

Clair Lynn is full of imagination. There are lots of games that involve pretend. A favorite thing for her to do with any adult is “play Barbies.” She has an army of them, and she will select several. Usually, Lynn or I wind up playing the Mommy who must ride herd over rambunctious children who make too much noise, fight and – on almost every occasion – want to go visit the new neighbors at a time that is inconvenient.

The new neighbors generally are nice, and there is much passing back and forth of pretend cake or cookies. Sometimes they are hermits who won’t answer the door. Every now and then they are ghosts, which causes much running back to Mommy for solace.

When I was babysitting one recent day, we were playing Barbies. I had Quinn on my lap, and she began to pull at Mommy Barbie’s hair. Clair Lynn’s first reaction was to snatch the doll away.

“Don’t do that,” I said in my Mommy Barbie voice. “She’s my beautician. She’s fixing my hair.”

Clair Lynn’s brown eyes were filled with questioning wonder.

“Why is your beautician a baby?”

“Why, the very best beauticians are babies. She does wonders for my hair, and it’s not easy to find a beautician who will make house calls.”

Clair Lynn grinned, chuckled a little and moved on with the plot. Now, Quinn as a stellar beauty school graduate is usually part of the plot. On one occasion, Clair Lynn even assigned her baby sister the role of the Barbie dentist, suggesting she check out all those painted-on teeth.

Not a cavity in the bunch!

Clair Lynn also loves houses of all kinds, and her imagination creates plenty of them. In her front yard, a circle of bushes often becomes a house where she plays Mommy and I am the Daddy. Our “children” are imaginary and rest in one of the “rooms.” They are always identified by colors – pink, purple, blue, green and rainbow.

At our house, she creates what she calls “a pillow palace” on our bed. One night she used so many pillows, she got a serious look on her face and said, “Pop, you need to find somewhere else to sleep.”

Quinn delights us with each new thing she learns. She “dances” with her head and upper body when something delights or amuses her. Lots of things Clair Lynn does fall into that category, but Quinn also sometimes does her little jig after playing pattycake. Seeing her toothless smile light up her whole face is wonderful.

Clair Lynn loves coloring pictures – from coloring books or her own original creations. She recently watched “Oz, the Great and Powerful,” which is also one of Pop’s favorite movies. I found some coloring pages on the Internet and she got busy with her crayons and then distributed them to several family members.

Having a big sister and a baby sister is a wonderful thing. I look forward to lots more adventures as spring leads us to Easter and then toward summer.

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