Ok so I'm not a mom, I haven't given birth, and I haven't raised anything more than a very neurotic Irish Setter (and even then I was only 8 when we got her so my parent's paid for everything) BUT, I consider my first baby to be my nephew Hunter, who is now 4 1/2. I remember when I got the phone call that my sis was in labor on Halloween. All the "Trick or Treaters" got to hear me yell over the top of them, "I'm going to be an Aunt!" as I threw candy wildly in their direction whilst jumping up and down.
My nephew Hunter was born while I was living in Washington State and my sis was in California. When Hunter was just over 2 months old, my sis moved to my parent's house (which was near mine) for 8 months while her husband was deployed. They moved up again for another 8 month deployment when we was just over 2 years old, and by the time they moved back to California, I had gotten married and moved to Scotland. The last time we saw him was at the beginning of this year, when his daddy was deployed again and Branden and I were spending 3 months in transition between Scotland and Ireland back in Washington. Over these short years of his life, we have had some great moments! During our last trip back to the States we made a dinosaur cave out of a cardboard box, a Komodo dragon den with blankets behind the couch, stomped on sharks that were living in my parent's huge mud puddles and attempted to kill my back playing "Auntie Moo's Safari Park".
Yes, I am dubbed Auntie Moo and up until a few months ago my husband was Auntie B...which isn't so strange to hear from a California boy, but he's now catching on to Uncle. He LOVES dinosaurs and animals so I love showing him lots of strange creatures on youtube. This started his obsessions with Komodo dragons. At first I told him about them and said that they were huge lizards that had poison in their spit. I specified that this was so they could bite a bigger animal and the poison would kill it for them...this didn't sink in right away. The first time he wanted to play Komodo dragon, he was the dragon and I was a water buffalo. When he attacked me, he just ran up and spit on me. I, laughing hysterically, explained that I understood his thinking but he couldn't actually spit on me, and then with the help of youtube showed him that Komodo dragons weren't a bunch of thugs that just went around spitting on things. This did the trick.
Auntie Moo's Safari Park was an instant hit! I told him to hide so he couldn't see what I was doing and then I placed his dinosaur toys up and down the hallway in different doorways along the way. Once I was done, I gave him a bucket with some soft quilted squares, which I informed him were bombs, and told him to climb on my back as I got down on all fours. "Welcome to Auntie Moo's Safari Park, I am Auntie Moo and your tour guide today will be...(pause and let Hunter chime in with his name)." Off I crawled down the hall until we came across our first dinosaur. I would stop and ask Hunter what kind of dinosaur it was and what it ate. If it was a leaf eating dinosaur we would kiss it's head and thank it for not eating us, but if it was a meat eating dinosaur Hunter would have to pelt it with bombs and we would make a 'run' for it. When the obvious happened and my back and knees threatened to kill me after a few times of playing this, Hunter got down on all fours in the living room and told me to get on so I could play "Hunter's Fafari Park" (safari was a slight mouthful). We did find a way to work it so that I didn't crush every bone in his body or leave him paralyzed and this was one of our favorite games.
I think I deal with living 4,500 miles away from my family fairly well...until I start to think about my first baby and now his 8 month old brother Brady, who is such a delight. Our goodbye before we moved to Ireland was traumatic for me, and even though we now have so much fun on Skype and make it work well for the both of us, I can't bear to think about that night without welling up. Luckily though, Skype has been a God send and we still play dinosaurs, since we brought some with us, and even made a mini landscape on our bed complete with paper trees, bushes and grasses for his very own Easter Egg hunt with us. I made paper eggs and hid them in our created world so that he could find them on the screen. There are lots of hilarious and fun memories I have with my nephew but I thought this would be a good introduction for future blogs...and I'm excited about the relationship through Skype that I am able to have with my younger nephew, which I will get to blog more about in the future.
Again, this isn't my 'typical' blog style since I have been much more reminiscent lately, but along my normal train of thought, I think a big part of my successful relationship with my nephews is that I regularly would like to make forts and play with cardboard boxes, and so having a kid around gives me a viable reason to do it without looking like some anti-social weirdo!
I am fine with growing old, but I don't ever want to grow up.