Those firsts in the world of aunts and uncles are among the coolest of times in a person’s life…often the closest thing to having your own kids. Quite often the first time you become an aunt or uncle, you are still pretty young, unless you are the oldest child. For my two younger sisters-in-law and my brother-in-law, they were 14, 12, and 7 years old. Becoming aunts and uncle was a very exciting time for them. My sisters and I became aunts 4 years earlier when my sister Cheryl had her daughter, Chantel. For Bob’s family, with the exception of Debbie, Corrie was the child who made them aunts and uncle, and they were quite excited about it. I could relate, for sure!
Jennifer would become our first babysitter, and would also have the most difficult time of it when she found out that Amy could be very hard to feed, since Amy and bottles…well, let’s just say they would never be friends. Brenda got to babysit when they were about 3 and 4, so she didn’t have to deal with Amy’s bottle boycott, and probably had a lot more fun with it, because she could play with them more. Ron…on the other hand, never really babysat the girls much; he was simply their playmate, which might have been the best deal of all. One thing I know for sure, Ron was always happy when he got to hold the babies by himself. I guess it made him feel grown up. Growing up around your aunts and uncles to a large degree was such a blessing for the girls. There was always someone to do things with, and later on, the tables turned, and they became the babysitters, so it paid off to a degree that their aunts and uncle took care of them.
Becoming aunts and uncle, changed the lives of my sisters-in-law and brother-in-law forever, as it does for all of us. Helping out with the raising of those precious little ones that you have been blessed with, is an amazing opportunity, and a big responsibility. Those kids look up to you, and it is important to give them a good role model. I am glad that the aunts and uncles my girls had…on both sides of the family were great role models, and I love each and every one of them very much.
Baby faces are so cute, and funny, and amazing, but have you ever stopped to wonder what is really on their minds. When babies stare off into space…like we all do from time to time, I have to wonder just what thoughts they are thinking. We have lived so many years, compared to their short time here, so what deep thoughts could they have when their mind drifts. Are they thinking of their next meal, or maybe just their binky or bottle. That was most likely the case with Bob. I don’t think a hungrier child ever existed. He was always ready to eat, and if he wasn’t eating, my guess is that he was thinking about eating.
With Aleesia, who loves to have her picture taken, and is very quick to smile, my guess would be that her thoughts would have to do with the best shot to add to her portfolio. It’s not a matter of being a model or anything, although this little girl could sure do it with her smiles. It’s just that this baby loves to ham it up for pictures. The camera comes up, and she starts to pose for the picture. It might be that she is used to having her picture taken, since her mom takes new pictures all the time. So…what would Aleesia be thinking in this shot…oh, maybe something like “should I say cheese?”
Aurora, seems to be a deep thinker. I notice that in her a lot. Maybe, it is because I have that same tendency. A deep thinker, might be thinking…”Mom said no. So, how can I get another cookie anyway?” Or she might just be thinking something like, “I am sooooo mad at you right now!” Even as she thinks that, she is trying not to let you know what she is really thinking. Sometimes that is a good idea. I mean you don’t really want to let your mom know how upset you are with her. That can cause some real problems when it comes time to sweet talk her into giving you what you want next.
Then we come to Reagan, who has had her fair share of cute little suitors. It helps when your parents have friends who have boy babies your age. Nevertheless, sometimes moms can get carried away in setting their daughters up with boyfriends. They always seem to have their own idea of who you should be dating. Typical of moms!! And sometimes a girl has to put her foot down. It makes no difference whether or not you like the guy, it is simply a matter of having your mom set up your dates. How rude!! Still, I think Reagan has the situation well in hand here, when she says with her eyes, “Seriously Mom, quit setting me up with dates!!”
In any family, it seems that the younger children are treated differently than the older ones. They seem to get away with more, and probably get to do things earlier than the older kids. I think the main reason for this is that the parents got used to being parents. The things you worry about as new parents, like crawling around on a floor that isn’t totally sanitized, a bottle that fell on the floor going right back into the mouth, or eating dirt…for pity sakes, are just things a new parent would never allow.
Then, as the child gets a little older, and the parents see them eating worms, along with that dirt, it just gets to a point where they know the kid won’t break. Then when the younger kids come along…well, veteran parents know the ropes, and they know that you can’t control everything that happens in your kids lives. Things are just different.
Suddenly, spending the night with grandparents is ok at 2, instead of 4, and in this day and age, they get their first cell phone in kindergarten or first grade. Of course, when you think about it, these kids know more about the computer by 3 than a lot of their parents do, so I suppose it seems like they are really just little adults.
This change in the rules isn’t really their parents fault, it is just a fact of life. It has been going on for years. I think I might have been one of the last of the parents to make my girls do things by ages, but then they were only eleven months apart. Amy didn’t have to wait very long anyway.
When there are a few years between the kids, it seems like the lines of fairness and ages get blurred some, and unless the older child is right there to remind them that their younger sibling isn’t supposed to get to do stuff earlier than they did, things just slip past them, and before they realize it those younger ones are doing things two years ahead of their older siblings. And when they do realize it, the now veteran parent shrugs their shoulders and calmly remarks, “Oh well, these things happen.” I guess being the youngest ones has its perks, in some ways anyway.
My girls had their own quirks when it came to eating…right from the start. They both nursed just fine, but when it came to other forms of eating, things changed. Corrie did quite well on the bottle. Then at 3 weeks old, the doctor, as was the normal back then, started her on rice cereal. And not a moment too soon. Corrie was such a hungry girl. The problem was…she was too hungry. She would be crying, and I would get the cereal ready, but as I put a spoonful of cereal in her mouth, she gagged and coughed. Then she cried, and I spooned, and she coughed and gagged, and the whole process went on and on, until she finally got enough down to feel like she got something. Then she could relax and finish eating. I, on the other hand was emotionally drained and physically exhausted, and felt like a very bad mommy.
One day I was at the store, and I came across an item that saved my sanity. It was an Infant Feeder. Basically, it was a bottle system that had a large hole in the nipple and it moved the cereal toward the nipple to keep the air out. The way it worked mattered very little to me. It was the fact that it did work, that I cared about. Corrie got to eat without choking, gagging, or crying, and I got a peaceful relaxed dinnertime. It was a life saver.
When Amy came along 11 months after Corrie, I felt much more prepared for the whole feeding part of motherhood…for about 5 minutes. I quickly learned the fact that every baby is different. Amy wanted nothing to do with the bottle, and I don’t mean that she disliked it. She started gagging before the nipple ever got to her mouth. The doctor suggested a Playtex Nurser…it made no difference…nor did any other bottle. We thought maybe it was the rubber smell, but it made no difference. She never took a bottle, pacifier, or the Infant Feeder that saved my life with Corrie. It was a brand new day.
If Amy needed water or formula, we had to use a spoon until she was old enough to use a sippy cup, which she started on very early, by the way. It was really hard to get a babysitter for her. My sister-in-law, Jennifer had the unpleasant experience of having to deal with that the first time we left her to babysit. It was a tough job. We all learned from the experience, and we all survived.
Like every mother, I learned as much from my children and they learned from me. One of the biggest lessons was that every child is different. They have different likes and dislikes, needs, and abilities. What works with one child might not work with another. You have to look at each child as an individual, or you will never succeed. And probably the most important thing is to keep your sense of humor, because looking back, I’m sure everyone can see the humor in these two situations, especially knowing that we all survived those years.
When my dad was a little boy, he really liked his bottle…but he was a little bit careless with it as he got a little older. It was time to get him off of the bottle, but he was not very interested in that idea. When he got teeth, he started pulling on the nipple with his teeth, and would bite it off, spilling the contents all over the floor. I’m quite sure my grandmother was frustrated beyond words with him.
One day, in one of Dad’s careless moments, he tossed the finished bottle into the wood box, breaking it, because there was no such thing as plastic bottles then. His mother, who was all done with this nonsense, looked into the wood box…then turned to my dad and said, “That was the last bottle…they are all gone.” I can imagine what was going through her mind…and his. I’m sure she was thinking, “Will he cry…for hours!!” And I’m sure my dad was thinking, “Can’t we get another one?” But after looking at his mother, who looked back at him, stone faced, my dad knew that was the end of the matter. He looked sadly into the wood box, and walked away. I’m told he didn’t cry, nor did he ask for another bottle ever again. I think my grandmother was a wise woman.
While he was a good boy who loved his mom and dad, and respected his elders, my dad was still full of antics as he got older. Like many kids who think they are so grown up, sometimes you just can’t tell them anything. Sometimes they just have to learn things for themselves. Such was the case on day when my dad was sitting at the table…leaning back in his chair. The chair kept rocking back on two legs. We have all been there. Our parents telling us not to rock back in our chair like that, but…really, how many of us ever listened. No, most kids know it all…right!
Well, my dad was no different. His mother had repeatedly told him not to lean back in his chair. On this particular occasion, my great grandfather, my grandmother’s dad, was visiting. My great grandparents had immigrated to the United States from Germany, and Great Grandpa still spoke in mixed English and a German dialect. Then the inevitable happened. My dad leaned back a little too far, and the chair went on over. My dad looked up from the floor, to see his grandpa looking down at him and saying, “So Du bist a Oka Mann!”…which translates to, “So, you are a Big Man!” Somehow…I’m not so sure Dad felt very big…nor do I think he thought it was very funny!!