I think I’m a decent aunt. Not so good at remembering birthdays, admittedly, but what I lack in presents-giving, I make up for in lots of facetime. We play all kinds of games — usually “doctor,” in which I pretend to have some terrible malady wrought by a zoo animal (“Help! A hippopotamus bit my leg off!”) and they wrap toilet paper (“bandages”) around me pretending to fix it. Either we do that, or we play Barbies.
Usually my nieces’ Barbie dolls are going to a ball to meet a prince. It doesn’t matter if she’s Color-Change Mermaid Barbie or I Can Be USA President Barbie. She is always going to a ball to meet a prince. Sometimes directly after the ball, she and the prince get married. So, last weekend when I was babysitting, I tried to set the tone for something different. Keep reading »
This Thanksgiving, I arrived at my aunt and uncle’s house to see my 7-year-old nephew in the backyard pulling a plastic toy bow-and-arrow about 2 feet away from my 5-year-old niece’s face. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?” I barked before I even said “hello.” I pushed the plastic arrow so it was away from her face and aiming towards the ground.
“We’re playing with my bow-and-arrow!” My nephew told me, defensively.
“Yeah!” My niece said, still young enough to be adorably oblivious to how close she was to becoming a Cyclops.
“You don’t hold a bow-and-arrow so close to someone’s face!” I snapped. “She could lose an eyeball that way. Aim it towards the ground!” I stomped off, shooting a dirty look at my brothers-in-law who were standing nearby but perhaps not paying close enough attention to their kids.
Hours later we were all on the living room floor playing a rousing game of sea life-themed Go Fish. The 5-year-old sat in my lap while we played together as a team. Then her 3-year-old sister, this adorable little blond peanut of a girl, wanted to sit on my lap, too. There’s something about snuggling a little kid — especially one with a lisp, who pronounces “crab” as “cwab” — that can make a woman’s ovaries go completely bonkers. Keep reading »