Ultimate Thumbwar with Jackson, Naming Things with Robby, and Befriending Ali

I’ve been on vacation now approximately 48 hours.

We stopped first in Iowa to see my mother’s family— we always try to stay overnight on the way to break up the drive. I got to see most of my cousins and it was a total blast as usual! We had pineapple upside cake, and I had a mean game of Ultimate Thumb War with my cousin Jackson, who squirmed and giggled and put up quite a fight! But my thumbs are much bigger, ha ha! He is still a youngin’— but he’ll outgrow me. For now, I can enjoy a size advantage. That rarely happens!

It really made me feel good because my Godmother (his grandma) said that usually he is quiet…. and that it was fun to see him so happy and giggly. I also cheated a bit– I ticked him, twisted my arm, and did everything possible to distract him. He was quite competitive- I lost count of our rematches! We played until I begged for mercy.

Then last night we arrived in Wichita, KS– my hometown!

Today we had a simple afternoon around my cousin Linda’s home… and I got to spend some wonderful quality time with my cousins Robby and Alison– 4.5 and 1 years old. I’ve seen a lot of pictures of them and met Robby in passing– but never gotten to really play with him until today.

The kid is smart!!! I was wowed by his vocabulary. He radiates playfulness, affection, and is also polite.

When I asked his favorite word, he exclaimed, “BATcave!” When I asked what color his house is, he told me “medium green.”

But the most fun thing we did was play in the corner by a chest of toys, and name things.

The kid is a naming MACHINE.

We started with a plush bear– a black one.

“Mr. Scary Blister Bear!”
“Mr. Bear Paw!”

I barely even participated in the naming– I was too busy laughing and trying to remember this list! I ran for my journal, and began inscribing them.

“Mr. Boom Bear Propeller!”

and of course, “Mr. Baby Poopy!”

His little sister Ali had never met me before… we don’t come home often, unfortunately. She’s a bit more reserved. It took a few hours before she would even make eye contact with me more than a couple minutes. She is very attached to her grandmother and didn’t want to be held by anyone else. But I began playing with her a bit and gradually, she began to trust me.

We went outside, and she allowed me to hold her on my lap. I walked around in the back yard with her, holding onto her arms for support as she made her own way. And finally, she allowed me to pick her up, and carry her a bit myself. We enjoyed the flowers outside, and Robby supplied a refreshing stream of conversation, as most four-year-olds are prone to doing.

Inside, we relaxed a bit. I was getting tired! It is HOT in Kansas, and I’m not used to all this toddler activity.  I tried to put Allison down, but she wouldn’t have it. The crying began! I was just happy that she wanted me to hold her at all. She likes to be held as you are walking, and that was ultimately what stopped her crying again. Then her dad, Scott, had to leave, and they all went home.

But not before Robby invited us to his birthday party– in January. He even offered to give us a ride!  I doubt we’ll make it, from Illinois. It’ll probably be awhile before we can come home again.

But the last few days have been filled with family and cousins and children’s laughter! Being with my family is so rejuvenating.

I’m glad I’ve got the rest of the week to see more people. To revel in the joy of my hometown.

And now, to pass out with gleeful exhaustion.

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