Okay, so I’m amending my last post. I’m thinking of stealing my niece. Shhh, don’t tell Leslie.
It was my last day in Florida and the entire clan spent the morning at Lido Beach. Actually, my dad lingered in the car parked on the other side of the dunes, unable to navigate the sand, but everyone else was sprawled out just shy of the waves gently rolling up on the shore. Anders flopped around in the water while Olivia dug in the sand a few feet to my right. Every so often, I tilted my head out of the glare of the sun to catch a glance of her shoveling sand or simply picking up handfuls and letting the grains freefall down onto her little denim shorts.
As the clock ticked toward one, it was time for me to make my way to the airport. My mom offered to drop me off and since Olivia’s car seat was in that vehicle, she came along for the ride. I slid into the rear to keep her company, leaving my mom in the front like a chauffeur.
“Olivia, what does a frog say?” I asked with a playful voice.
“What does a dog say?”
“What does a snake say?”
Suddenly her face contorted until she looked like a stroke victim with a lopsided mouth. She stuck her tongue out to the left and then made a lispy hissing noise.
I wanted to pluck her from the seat, tuck her into my carry-on tote and escape back to Philadelphia with her in tow. The way her hair falls into loose little ringlets. The way she leans her nose into my finger so I can honk it. The way her lower lip pouts when she doesn’t get her way. The way she insists on wearing her Dora backpack, or as she calls it pack-kack. Plain and simple, I adore Olivia to pieces.
It isn't that I have any less fondness for Anders. He’s sweet and funny and curious. But he’s a boy and he’s also at that age of pushing the limits. Like when I told him he couldn’t blow bubbles in the house, he immediately went in search of a better answer from a different person. I’m guessing Anders will fit into corporate America beautifully.
Olivia's still too young to understand any of that. Just shy of two, her innocence keeps her unaware of blatant manipulation. She’s still having mini-meltdowns when she doesn’t get her way. Like when she learned she wasn’t allowed to eat raspberries while seated on my mother’s new tan leather sofa. Tears rolled down her cherubic cheeks and her whimpering became full blown sobs. As I sat off to the side and watched my mom calm Olivia, I realized something I never really understood before. I just might want a child after all. Or I at least want Olivia.