Nikki is a little braver than her 2-year-old body is really equipped for -- and she now has an adorably scraped nose to prove it.
She's not too steady on her feet, but she doesn't seem to know that. She thinks she can run as fast as her big sister, turn as quickly and climb as high.
Yeah, not so much.
When they chase each other around the couch, Katie laps Nikki on just about every circuit. Sometimes Katie gets down on her hands and knees to even the odds, but even then her higher level of coordination gives her a distinct advantage.
It's great fun for them, but anybody watching is constantly on the edge of a heart attack.
Nikki's not so steady around the corners, has trouble lifting her feet over the toys that are strewn throughout the racing path and overcompensates to get around the couch, which puts her on a direct course into the wall.
You pretty much expect one lap to be filled with laughter and the next to have some tears.
As a parent, it's hard to decide whether you put a stop to the laughter or put a stop to the tears.
Me, I'm a big fan of laughing.
It seems I'm not the only one.
Nikki came home injured from the baby-sitter's twice this week.
Same place both times.
The first time was attributed to some overenthusiastic running that ended with a face plant.
The second was an incident I witnessed -- and in fact, take full responsibility for.
A balloon, a stove with sharp edges and a small space.
Yeah, it was all my fault.
Nikki loves balloons. They keep her entertained for hours and the play is enhancing her hand-eye coordination.
So, I dropped her off and blew up a balloon for her. On her first toss, she was looking at the balloon with her arms outstretched and went face-first into the corner of the stove.
She hit it in the exact same place that already was sporting a scab from the day before.
This time, she bled a little, but she refused to acknowledge the pain until the balloon was safely back in her hands. She wouldn't let it go even as she dissolved into tears.
Growing up is hard business.
But, I do think it's harder on parents than kids.
Kids are tough, and Nikki's already forgotten it.
I, on the other hand, have not.
I'm not sure how long it will take me to get the picture of my little one with a bleeding nose out of my head. She wears it with pride. I'm going to haul out the camera before it fades.
You can't have enough pictures that your children can later use against you.
Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.