Apparently I need to get a newer picture of the cousins together.)
Lottie is a lot like my niece, Kate. As a little girl, Kate was always...busy. I don't remember a time when she wasn't moving: running, leaping, dancing, playing. Her mind was constantly working, and she always had something going on. She was a big fan of putting on "shows" in the backyard and making her younger brother be a part of them, sometimes against his will. Lottie is exactly the same way. From the minute she wakes up in the morning until the minute she falls asleep, her head is spinning with stuff. She climbs into our bed in the morning ready to make believe that the bed is a boat, and we're surrounded by sharks. She plays dress-up before she even gets ready for school, which does not leave a lot of time for breakfast. But, like Kate, Lottie basically eats to live. Her days are filled with stories, games, thoughts, plans, and dreams. She's very physical: she likes to practice ballet, run, jump, slide, and dance. Man, that kid likes to dance. Our house has been the scene of many a dance party, especially on rainy days. Also like Kate, Lottie tends to wander a bit during conversations. I remember being at dinner with my whole family discussing an upcoming vacation to Disney World. We all knew it was coming, but Kate seemed stunned. She swore that no one ever told her we were going though we all knew that wasn't true. Lottie tends to zone out like that as well. For example, I can send her into her room for a pair of socks only to have her return twenty minutes later carrying a stuffed animal. Kate loves to be in the center of the action, and Lottie wakes up every day wondering where the party is. Both girls are kind, funny, extroverted, whip-smart, and beautiful inside and out. They're both wonderful big sisters, too.
Dylan, my fantastic nephew, has always been a sweet boy. (Sorry, Dyl. I hope that's not embarrassing.) From the time he was little, he was always snuggly, serious, and sensible. He has always known when he needs time alone to recharge himself, and I have always admired that quality. Dallas is the same way. Sometimes when Lottie's constant bossy prattle gets to him, he simply gets up and walks away. (Then again, sometimes he bites her, but that's another story.) But Dallas also understands the need for solitude from time to time, something that his sister doesn't ever feel. Another thing that the boys have in common is the need for food. When Dylan was little, he wouldn't realize he was hungry until it was too late. By the time he got to that point, he would claim he wasn't hungry, and we would all look at each other in horror. There would be a frantic search for a snack and then the push to get Dylan to eat it. After one bite, he was always back to himself, but before the food, watch out. Dallas tends to get a
One of my greatest hopes is that Lottie and Dallas turn out like Kate and Dylan. Not only are Kate and Dylan superlative human beings, but they genuinely like each other. They enjoy spending time together, and their affection for one another isn't forced. I thought about their relationship this afternoon
while Lottie and Dallas were having a snack. Both kids had bowls of popcorn, and, of course, Dallas hoovered his up in about five minutes. He held his bowl up without looking at me and sang, "More popcorn!" Before I could even open my mouth to respond, Lottie picked up her mostly-full bowl, walked over, and put half of her popcorn into Dallas's bowl. When I told her that I would proud that she shared without even being asked, she just smiled and said, "That's what best friends are for, Mama." My heart about exploded. Best friends. They're already on their way to becoming like their cousins, and that makes me smile. If Trevor and I can do half as well raising Lottie and Dallas as my brother, Matt, and my sister-in-law, Kaye, have done with Kate and Dylan, then we're going to have some pretty awesome kids.