Ever since Annabel was very little, pictures of Madeline have caught her eye.

At first, it started with her staring at photos with her serious baby gaze. As she grew older, she would smile at her sister, then laugh. Laughing moved to pointing with excited babbling, and then she started saying “bay-bay” when we passed a picture of Maddie.

When Annie notices her sister’s pictures, we would take a moment to explain, “this is Maddie. This is your sister. She loves you very much.”

Annie knows how to push the button on my iPhone that make the screen saver light up. The picture is of Maddie. Annie has started kissing my phone.

She notices everything these days. If I’m wearing earrings, she points at them. She’ll tug on my necklace, reach for my glasses. Not long ago she discovered my tattoo. She pokes it with her chubby fingers, as if checking to see if it will rub off. She’ll look up at me and exclaim in baby talk.

I say, “this is a mark I have that represents your sister Maddie. She loves you very much.”

Yesterday she grabbed my wrist and flipped it over. She poked at my tattoo and said, “Mah-dah.” Then she bent over and kissed my wrist.

Maddie, this is Annie. She loves you very much.