Watching her sisters play with wooden cars creating an entire world of excitement, Evangeline was completely entranced. The big girls whirled around her with calls to each other and sound effects of their alter egos adventure. I watched her take it all in and wondered what she would do: come to me to rescue her from the chaos, toddle off in search of her favorite book and her stuffed dog Fabio or figure out how to join them. At almost 16 months she seems too young to me to even want to try to participate in her sister's play but to my surprise she dodges through the flurry to find two wood cars for herself and joins in with her own sound effects of squeaks and babbles. Lavinia didn't hesitate, interacting with Evangeline drawing her into their developing story-line with a graceful enthusiasm. Helena too engaged her with play and Ophelia showed her how to make her car fly. The almost 5 year gap between the two youngest hardly seems noticeable, they are happy to have her in their ranks and show her the ropes with delight. This happens more and more, setting her up to color when they are sprawled on the floor doing so themselves, recruiting her help with setting the table, gently kicking the soccer ball for her to attempt to play, and taking turns holding her on their laps to swing.
As I watched them play this morning, marveling at how fast the youngest is growing up, Ophelia came over to me and in a very adult tone said, "I just can't believe how fast she's growing up!" There she stood, near tears with a proud smile beaming at her youngest sister and I couldn't believe my ears, my first baby acting all grown up. "Tell me about it." I said and hugged my first baby close.