This is Skylar. She’s my niece. To clarify, she is not one of my brothers’ children. Rather, she is one of my cousins’ children.
If you ask her, she will tell you that she is four years old. She will also let you know that her favorite color is pink. Sometimes. Other times, it’s purple. Or rainbow. But not black. If you ask nicely, she might even tell you her favorite colors in Chinese. She’s in a bilingual preschool, and she can count, declare her favorite colors, and sing Lunar New Year songs. Just ask.
Or, depending on her mood, she might ignore you altogether. (“When are you leaving,” she asked me bluntly the other night when we were over for dinner. It wasn’t so much a question as a declaration. You’re leaving, her tone said. Oops. Cutie-patootie was tired.)
But, occasional, fatigue-induced mood swings aside, Skylar is a cheery, happy-go-lucky girl. We have great times together. But more on that later.
This is Skylar’s sister, Lulu, sitting on her mother’s lap. For the first year of her life, she regarded me with hesitant apprehension (“stranger danger” much?). There was nothing I could do to get her to laugh or smile. But! Over the last few months, she’s finally started warming up to me. Smiles! Giggles! Success!
At some point, maybe because Lulu finally recognized I was no longer a stranger, her parents decided I was responsible enough (ha!) to babysit. We went over for an afternoon of fun and games with the girls while their parents went for some me-time at a nearby brewery.
What I find fascinating about this new generation of children is that they’re so used to immediate gratification. A photo taken on the phone or digital camera means that you can see it seconds later on a bright, tiny screen. I shoot film, and so when most kids hear the click of my camera shutter, they circle around, hoping for a glimpse of their faces. They’re bewildered to discover that my film camera has no screen for displaying the recently shot photo.
I usually bring my camera when I visit and when I babysit, so Skylar’s learned that my camera won’t yield immediate results. She’ll still pose, however!
I told Skylar to pose for this photo.
Sweet face? Sure.
But, say cheese? Eyes to the camera? Nah.
She held this pose for a few minutes, waiting for me to take the shot.
No other poses were forthcoming.
Skylar did have fun with putting stickers in her sister’s hair. I bought a bunch of fun stickers during my layover in Taiwan earlier this past January and brought them over to babysit. If you look carefully, you’ll see stickers on random locations– on a shirt sleeve, pant leg, in their hair . . . I’m pretty sure my cousin’s going to be finding Taiwan stickers in random crevices of her house for some time to come.
Lulu says, “Chee–!”
I can’t wait until the next time I get to babysit these Littles!
// 35mm film photography with a Canon AE-1 Program; the top set of photos in a restaurant were taken at Pho Ao Sen in Albany, CA. The bottom set of photos were taken a couple weeks ago while babysitting.