Limitations – We All Got‘ Em

Not everyone was meant to be a parent. Or at least not everyone was meant to parent humans. Clearly Bob and I are qualified to raise and nurture canines, as evidenced by the five canines that we have raised and nurtured. But after spending a week with my niece and nephew, I think we can safely say that we were not cut out for the whole parenthood thing. We probably could have pulled it off if we’d had children, but again, as evidenced by our canines, our children would more than likely be slightly wild and poorly behaved.

It isn’t about the love at all. We love these, our godchildren, with total abandon. They are adorable and sweet and, but for the occasional tantrum, (my nephew is 2 and 1/2 – tantrums are in his job description) really well behaved. For me it is about the patience. I don’t so much have it. I don’t know where my sister-in-law and brother get it. Maybe there was a patience supplement in the prenatal vitamins and she shared them with him. Or maybe there was a particularly compelling chapter or two about patience in one of the many parenting books they’ve read. All I know is I’ve known my brother a long time – like his whole life – and this patience thing he’s got going on is new.

Blonde girl

Some people are, however, meant to aunt and uncle. And Bob and I are definitely in that team photo. Bob had a head start on me with his five nieces and nephews, but they were all in their teens by the time I came along. I can only conclude that my highly skilled aunt-ness makes me some kind of prodigy.

Adult man hugging a blonde girl crying.

Uncle Bop Bop, as he is know by the under three foot crowd, taught our nephew to catch. And not only to catch, but to catch a football! I know, right? It was epic. Bob considers it his responsibility to nurture any athletic tendencies that the little guy displays. My brother is not without athleticsm. He is just from more of a golf, tennis and soccer background, where Bob hails from the football, hockey, baseball neck of the woods. And while my sister-in-law has made it abundantly clear that my nephew will not actually play football, Bob wants to nurture any and all sporty leanings. I think it is because he has seen me run and worries that my spaz gene might somehow infect the kid.

I played my share of monster trucks with my little gear head, though apparently I did it wrong because my version of play was met with “No! Aunt Di Di! Like this!” followed by a demonstration of the correct method (which really didn’t differ significantly from my original version, leading me to believe that monster trucks is a very nuanced game.) I learned what an excavator was and how it is pronounced in toddler-ese. I even found a t-shirt with an excavator on it that was just someone’s size (no, not Bob’s).

My niece, at nine months old, is too young to be indoctrinated into Uncle Bop Bop’s sports program or the delicate ballet of monster trucks so we mostly just bonded over hair: her lack of it and my abundance of it. I think her plan was to pull enough of mine out, one tiny fist full at a time, to fashion her own wig. Or quite possibly she thought all my hair was unsightly and was just trying to tidy me up to look more like her. Either way there was hair pulling. There was also peek-a-booing, giggling and some really good snuggling.

Little boy being hugged between man legs

But the thing about these two charming little people is that when they are awake, they are in motion. They are almost always in need of something: a diaper change, a book to be read, a bottle, a game to be played, a sippy cup, a nap, a snack or the removal of a foreign object from their mouth. And it never ends. I was only left alone (and by alone I mean me and Uncle Remote Control) with them for a total of three, maybe four hours tops. I didn’t break them or anything, but I am pretty sure I couldn’t do that full time.

Little boy biting the edge of a table

It was a wonderful, relaxing and bonding week. As I do each time I visit with my brother’s family, I was left with such admiration for them as parents and such gratitude for the amazing experience we get to share with them, however briefly. I was also glad to come home where it is totally acceptable for me to put my rambunctious “child” in his crate while I tend to the laundry or take a nap.

Two couples with their children outdoors