Annie is my youngest daughter. She is a sturdy two-year-old with hair like corn silk and deep brown eyes fringed with long dark lashes.
I named Annie after Anne of Green Gables because she is utterly charming. In real life, Annie is named after Mr Knightley’s Nan (do you remember me mentioning her buttons?) who was also utterly charming.
Annie is the self-appointed Boss of the Family. When she enters a room, she flings her arms wide and announces “I’m HERE ev’rybuddy!”
Annie’s couture of choice is a tattered fairy dress paired with gumboots. Today we’re going out to see friends. I dressed Annie in a sweet embroidered denim dress with a red top and tights underneath (every now and then I like to play dress-up dolls). Annie protested stoutly as I dressed her up, but I kept distracting her and we got through it. But just now, Annie’s come out of her room wearing only the red top and tights and brandishing one of her fairy dresses. “I want to dress like a PRINCESS, Mummy!”. I asked her what happened to the cute little denim number: “It in da wash.” Sigh.
Sometimes I try to apply some Mighty Girl philosophy to Annie’s regal aspirations. “Princesses are wise leaders who make important decisions for their country”, I state solemly as I pull yet another tulle confection over her head. “I so pitty!” Annie replies with equal solemnity.
As well as a junior monarch, Annie loves to be a ballerina, a mermaid, a rock star, a Wiggle and a superhero of her own devising, unaccountably called “Super Love Heart”. Matilda will rig her up with a small blanket pegged around her shoulders and Annie will jump around the place and announce “SU-per Wubbart IN da rescue!”
Sometimes, Annie and Harry play a game together called “Jack and Jill”. I can’t quite understand the game itself, it seems to only involve them calling each other “Jack” and “Jill” and treating each other with exaggerated politeness. There’s no bucket or anything. I love this game.
Yesterday, at breakfast time, a cranky Annie had a go at Christopher Robin: “I want the milk, you idiot!” she proclaimed with gusto. “We don’t call each other ‘idiot’ in this family” I admonished. “But they are idiots!” Annie protested, with a stubborn toss of her golden head.
When Harry has been naughty and is in trouble, he will go to Annie for consolation. Annie will always stop what she is doing to give him a cuddle. It’s very hard to stay cross at him when this happens…
Annie’s favourite game is when she pretends she is Mummy and I am Annie. Harry, however, finds this altered reality highly disturbing and will climb into my lap and insist on calling me “Mummy” despite his sister’s protests. Cute. Very cute.