Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Perfect Child

Alissa arrived on September 19th and was immediately dubbed "the perfect child" by the relatives. This ... of course ... was NOT music to her sister's ears. Alissa had a calm disposition, slept through the night from the first day and had the kind of face that everyone had to kiss whenever they met her.

Nikki was really a great sister to her. She was her protector ... and she always spoke up for her. She spoke up for her SO MUCH that Alissa didn't speak for herself until she was about 4 (except for some cute sounds that might have been words).

A typical conversation between an adult and Alissa via Nikki (her translator) would be:

Adult: "So your name is Alissa?"
Alissa starts to nod her head ... Nikki pipes in: "Yes ... actually it's Alissa Michelle Momberg."
Adult: "What a pretty name ... I love your dress."
Nikki: "Our mom got matching dresses for us. I have one just like it."
Adult: "That's nice. How old are you Alissa?"
Nikki: "She's 2 years old."
Adult: "Well Nikki ... you sure take good care of your sister."
Nikki: "Thank you. It's hard work sometimes."

One of my favorite memories of the two sisters came early in my career at All Children's Hospital.

I was the PR Director when we got a call that the rapper Vanilla Ice was coming to visit the kids at the hospital. I mentioned that to the girls and they begged me to take them to meet him. I agreed on the condition that they needed to stay in the background ... after all ... he was there to see the patients. When he visited all the patients they could talk to him if he had time.

They both accepted the terms.

That night, they stood in the hallway, excitedly waiting for him to arrive. Nikki had her arm around Alissa. I heard her instruct her on behavior:

"Now remember Alissa ... don't move ... Daddy told us that he was coming to see the patients. So we're going to stand here okay?"
Alissa: "Uh huh."
Nikki: "Stand right by me, okay?"
Alissa: "Uh huh."
Nikki: "You remember his name? He's a rap star."
Alissa: "Ice Ice Baby."

He finally arrived with a huge entourage. Ice stopped right in front of Alissa and looked down. Alissa ... shocked ... turned to her sister: "NIKKI ... I THOUGHT YOU SAID HE WAS BLA ....."

Nikki slipped her hand right over Alissa's mouth before she could finish. She smiled.

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