Hanging with The Nieces
I'm not a big fan of holidays, but I did find yesterday particularly enjoyable. Probably because I spent most of the time hanging out with my nieces, who are eight and five. They're sweet girls, very polite, and I enjoyed spending time with them.
The five year old (whom I will call Niece 2) is a real firecracker - I don't think she sat still for two minutes yesterday. She was just a blur of activity and excitement. Her favourite present was a digital camera, a sleek black Fuji. 'A GROWN-UP digital camera', she would be quick to point out. (Peter called that a brave choice, but as hyper as she was, she really took good care of the camera and quickly figured out how to use it.)
Peter showed N2 how to make movies with the camera and she was off. Her two-minute movie is the best thing I've ever seen. She races around crazily with the camera, careening around corners and pausing only briefly to survey various items of interest, like the living room or a desk with a surprise drawer. She also stops in front of the mirror and sings to herself, before racing off again. It reminded me a bit of BarneyCam or CatcherCam.
Niece 1's best present was a Wii, which her parents brought over for entertainment purposes. Where N2 is a blur of action, N1 is poised and deliberate. She's a smart kid, into reading and writing. And she's great at video games and not shy about letting her opponents know it. She's also clever enough to claim the vaunted Player 1 mantle, which allows her to choose the games to suit her strengths. She's wickedly good at the game where you have to spot look-alike Miis, tiny little people with oversize heads.
When N1 and N2 play against each other, it's not really a fair match-up. N1 tries to be patient and help her sister, but she can't help that she wants to win. N1 soundly beat N2 at every game they played, until N2 managed, through some combination of luck and perseverance, to beat N1 at a game of pool. My sister-in-law (their mother) and I cheered so loudly for this accomplishment that I have a sore throat today.
We also played Mario Kart, which led to a bizarre conversation. N1 wanted to select the race through mushroom gorge, which I asked her not to do because I'm afraid of mushrooms. They thought this was the funniest thing they'd ever heard of, then N1 called me an alcoholic. I wasn't sure how she'd come up with that word, but it took Uncle Peter to unravel the mystery, asking why she'd called me an alcoholic.
N1 shrugged and said, 'She's afraid of spiders.' 'No, N1, that's arachnophobia you're thinking of. An alcoholic is something else entirely.' Then N2 chimed in with 'yeah, and besides, she's afraid of mushrooms, not spiders.'
I did miss The Kid and The Other Nephew a bit yesterday, but being able to hang out with The Nieces definitely made up for that. My best Christmas present? The memories, of course.