It is a well-known fact that babies make me nervous.
I donít know what it is about toddlers that freaks me out so much, but I just feel like a moron around them. Iíve carried 25 pound items before, so it isnít as simple as a fear of dropping them. I just donít know how to behave, and when to give the child back to its beaming parent.
And I am NOT fluent in Baby Talk. I have now idea what to say to something that canít talk back to me. I feel like an idiot ogling over babies. I even feel like a goof listening to other people do it!
Now, when kids get a little older, thatís a different story.
Once they can have a conversation with me Ė you know, tell me about school, what they learned in summer camp, what they want to be when they grow up Ė my comfort level GREATLY improves.
Soon my sister-in-law will realize this. Her kids are still a little young for me (Olivia will be 3 in October, and Parker will be 1 in November). Right now, I know she doesnít understand how I act around her kids. Iím not a child hater Ė I am just nervous!!
Chris and I live far away from our niece and nephew, younger cousins, and all of our friends who have children. This means we have a built-in opportunity to swoop in, give them presents, play with them, and retreat back to our tranquil home.
We try to get them gifts they will really love. My husband is a little more comfortable with young kids, so he has already become Cool Uncle Chris. He plays the piano with our niece, and drives her around on a tractor. Last year he recorded his first CD, and apparently that is the only thing Olivia wants to listen to!
And she hasnít even seen our 1969 Oldsmobile 442 convertible yet!
We hosted my 11 year old cousin for a week last summer, and all three of us had a great time. It was fun to spoil him with miniature golf, making Smores, and going out for ice cream. After having so much fun at our house, we are much closer to him than we used to be.
Being an aunt or uncle means you can participate in everything that is fun about being a parent, without the parts that arenít so great.
Sounds like an ideal situation to me!