When 'Salina was a baby, I met a woman who has been an extra-special friend to me ever since. At the time, she gave me a line I often quote.
THE DEFINITION OF HELL IS TEENAGERS AND TODDLERS IN THE SAME HOUSE
Obviously, I forgot this principle when going for the second-time-around motherhood lark, and while we aren't there yet, the threat is looming.
Right now, however, I still advise everyone I meet that the ideal age gap for siblings is 10 years.
When 'Salina first met V, she asked "are you going to marry my mum and give me a baby sister? I think her name should be Ella."
Fairly confronting to a new boyfriend, hey?
Anyhow, after a few years, a wedding and a settling in where V and she developed a great relationship, her question lay idle.
When we finally did get the wheels in motion for such a possibility, 'Salina was very non-plussed. She had grown used to having two adults orbiting her star, and the potentiate of a new baby sister (or brother) was not to be contemplated. "Stop talking about it" she requested during gestation.
Her holdout lasted about 0 seconds once she laid eyes on Paris.
Every time Paris lays eyes on her big sister, she yells out in delight and waves hands and blows kisses. School mornings are not complete without a traditional front door vigil while 'Salina waits for the bus, the afternoons are a great reunion of long lost friends.
And while 'Salina lives in this limbo of not-quite child, not-yet adolescent, she is delighting in her little sister and her development. She is the first to hold her hand out to help her walk. They talk and play and laugh together - and we don't take enough photos of the joy.
We occasionally see clouds of impending teenagehood - and while we know it is unavoidable, we also know how truly terrible we were as teenagers - and hope to goodness 'Salina is not that bad.
We also get glimpses of the dawning of terrible toddlerdom - and I have memories of where 'Salina frayed during her first coming of age.
But right now - right now, we are nowhere near the hell that could be imagined, and we are very, very glad.