I have a job interview on Tuesday and I’m very excited about it. Think all the good thoughts for me. Until then, I’m backup babysitter for my niece Eloise whose daycare is closed for August. It’s a perk of not working yet.
I never expected to be an aunt. I hoped I would be a mom one day but I didn’t want to expect being an aunt because it was a possibility albeit rare that I could marry an only child; luckily, I did not. Through Ian, I have four nieces and nephews and while I love them all, I am closest to Eloise because she is the one of the four who doesn’t live a lot of the time in Australia. I mean, I kind of think I would adore her just as much regardless because she is just the best kid ever. Like me, she is a Capricorn only child and just the sweetest.
I was really nervous about watching her entirely alone. Not because I don’t know how to care for kids but just this sense of responsibility and inadequacy I have about somehow messing things up with kids. You can imagine the anxiety I feel about being a good parent one day. Yet somehow, I felt even more nervous about being an aunt and watching Eloise because she’s not mine from day one, I can’t like know her like the back of my hand the way parents know their kid, and I just wanted to be sure to walk that fine aunt line of being fun and also being an actual, you know, helpful adult. We fared pretty well, especially since Eloise has parents who have her on a great schedule and diet and who do all these things to make sure she is just the chillest.
Two days of watching her made me respect what parents do so much. Feeding her, changing her, playing with her, reading with her, running around after her, putting her down for naps, all of this, is just… it’s a lot. It’s not hard but it’s nonstop, even with a good kid. I sat down while she napped and was like holy shit I’m pooped but I also felt a sense of oh my god I’m doing this and no one is maimed and she actually seems pretty happy around me. The second day I put her down for her nap and after I put her bunny and moosey and her three blankets in her crib with her and said good night, only to hear a tiny sleepy voice say “g’night, love you;” needless to say, my heart grew more than three sizes.
She’s so smart and creative and funny and playing with her and watching her play is just the best. I sat while she splashed around her water table on Friday, my aunt’s birthday, and I felt a lot like she must have with me and I felt so lucky to be able to share this with my niece, to share this kind of relationship. Reading together, letting her “tattoo” me as she knows a lot of her family, especially her parents, have a lot of tattoos, making the same faces some of her toys make together, it’s interesting and rewarding in a way I never expected. I’m glad I can be her auntie ees (she calls Ian “een”).
It’ll be a few years before Ian and I have kids but I feel more confident that I will do the job some justice. I know I will be anxious and worry because you can’t be a new person just like that but I feel like I can do right by a kid and help them grow into whoever they’re going to be. I’m glad Ian and I can do that in a smaller way for our nieces and nephews, that we can learn our own capacity to care, to grow, to try to know these brand new shiny people and see who they’re going to be.
It’s my birthday so I can post whatever I want* and this is what I want to post.