The highlight of my childhood was making my brother laugh so hard
that food came out his nose.

~Garrison Keillor

When Avril laughed for the first time, it was at Norah.

And, I'll never forget the look in Norah's eyes. It was like a child in a story book who finds out their beloved Teddy is a real bear. At that moment, Norah was given permission to believe in magic.

Now my oldest is intoxicated by the power she has over her little sister. Of her own volition, she makes herself a clown to entertain Avril. "Baby... Baby. Look!" But, she doesn't need to say that, since "Baby" is usually already staring at her, eyes following everywhere she goes, absolutely transfixed.

Norah's adding new tricks to her bag everyday. She's taken to yelling "Boo!" out of nowhere, realizing that if she waits long enough, she makes the baby, not to mention me, think she isn't going to do it anymore. Norah does it so fast. Her sister and I both jump sky high, since we're off our guard. That's when Norah peals over in laughter and after a sort delay, Avril gets the joke, realizing there is nothing to be scared after all and she smiles.

And, as much as I like that they play together, when Norah is doing something childish to get a rise out of Avril, I can't help but warn her to "Be careful." Norah's response is always the same.

"Mom. It's okay. Pleeease don't worry. She likes it! See!"

And, it is always so.

Avril never fails to grin from ear to ear and gush and bring her fist up to her mouth. But, that's usually when Norah strikes again, "Boo!" since that's when Avril and I least expect it.


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