Saturday, June 07, 2008

Nephew-Sitting

I have a few moments to write because I just put my little nephew down for a nap. I calmed him, rocked him until he went to sleep, and then gingerly laid him down in his crib, holding my breath that he wouldn't wake up, and he didn't! He's all sweaty and adorable, knocked out for 20 minutes or so. Quite an accomplishment, Auntie, if I do say so myself.

I'm on baby-sitting duty with my mom (she does all the diapers) because my little sister just gave birth to her second child. I now have a niece! She's beautiful just like her brother. She's hanging out with her mom and dad in the hospital for a few days, so it's just me and my mom taking care of my nephew.

Having lived many years away from children, it's always astonishing, delightful, and eye-opening to be around them. How stay-at-home moms and dads do it is completely beyond me. How my little sister is going to take care of a one year old and an infant is beyond me. From the moment I've woken up, it's been (almost) all about my nephew. Me and my mom fed him, which was quite the experience, with him ending up covered in goo, and then we tag-teamed playing with him while first one and then the other showered and got dressed.

My mom vacuumed (vacume is such a strange word), cleaned up the kitchen, and made the beds while I rolled around with my nephew pretending to be a monster. I brought out finger puppets and he went angelically nuts, beaming and giggling and shrieking with glee trying to grab them all. His smiles are so sweet it's sometimes heartbreaking. For a while, I let him play by himself and watched as he picked up his toys one by one, mumbling shh-sing noises to himself. I tried to read some of my book, but kept looking up every few sentences. Moms of young children probably don't read a lot.

A few days ago, I was talking with my friends Em and Essa about leaving New York at some point in the future. I love the city, and right now the thought of moving away from it makes me feel like I would be carving out a piece of myself, so I'm not going to do it anytime soon. Maybe never, I don't know. During the conversation, Em said that no one should leave new york until they get to the point when they're really ready, because if they leave before they're done, they'll regret it. I'm not sure I'll ever be done with New York, so that leaves me in a bit of a quandary for the future (a quandary I suspect will work itself out eventually).

Playing with my nephew, I was thinking that a similar thing could be said about babies. You shouldn't have them until you are really ready. Right now, I still feel like I'm too selfish to have a baby. For example, I have stolen more than a few moments to read my book in between playing with him (stolen them from who? Him? Me?). Maybe that makes me a terrible Auntie? Or, maybe I'm just channeling mommy guilt and projecting it? Or, maybe I'm just being balanced about this? If I played with him 24-7, both of us would be too tired for anything else. It's OK for him to entertain himself, and it's OK for me to do the same. Balance. If I was a mom, I don't think I would play with my child 24-7 either. Who could? Instead, I imagine you do what my mom and I have been doing the past couple days, you work out a routine that works for you, try to keep the kids safe, if not perfectly clean, and you go with it.

Getting back to my nephew and new niece. They are so freaking cute. I feel really lucky to be an Auntie. Can't wait until Bean and the new baby come home from the hospital.

2 comments:

Starshine said...

How fun! I'm in TX right now and have enjoyed a bit of auntie time myself!

Sorry we missed you in NYC. Let's have a phone date soon!

xo

Starshine said...

I'm glad you're enjoying auntiedom! I'm back in LA now, but I sure enjoyed cuddles with my nephew while I was home.