Winning at Aunting is Exhausting

In news of THANK GOODNESS, the power is back on. I have never been so happy to see lights in my life. IN MY LIFE. That was 48 hours without power. I’m not made for roughing it. I’m a soft-bellied city mouse, dammit.

But that comes later in our story, really.

SO! What have I been up to, here in the mountains on vacation, most of that time spent without power?

So many things. Most of them happily Nephew-related.

So early Sunday morning, my brother brought The Nephew up for a day of camp adventures. I was a little nervous. I love my nephew more than…well, anyone, but I’ve never watched him for a whole day before. Not by myself anyway. What if he hated me? What if we ran out of things to do?

Plus there still was no power, so watching DVDs was out. The kid sure does love his DVDs.

I wasn’t allowed to bring him outside because he reacts badly to insect bites and there are many bugs up here. Big ones like bitey horseflies and small ones like pesky blackflies and almost-invisible ones like gnats and midges. I also react badly to insect bites, but not like he does. He swells all up and itches and itches.

So I took out ALL THE TOYS (that’s a lot of toys) and despaired over the fact that we had no power for cool beverages or toilet-flushing or hand-washing (or showering, sigh, but that was more a selfish wish) and then THE NEPHEW ARRIVED!

I immediately won him over by giving him the gigantic Geico gecko that Klout sent me a while ago. “His name is Gecky!” The Nephew said happily. It’s easy to win over children. I think when he’s 15 or so it’ll be a little harder to win him over, but I’ll take what I can get.

Here are things about four-year-olds that are important to know.

They are VERY ACTIVE. It’s all one thing, to another thing, to another thing, all day long. And not very long on each thing. Legos to books to card games to games to cars, back to card games. It’s like babysitting a hummingbird. An adorable, beloved hummingbird.

They are VERY PUNCHY. He likes to hit. And run at me from far distances and tackle. And headbutt. And leap on me from things like ottomans. I’m all over little nephew-bruises. If I asked him to stop, he would be sad. “But I LIKE it!” he would say, with a very trembly lip. “But it hurts me!” I told him. “That’s ok, because it’s fun!” he replied. Hmm. That seems like suspect logic to me. (But also like the logic of many of my exes…so maybe he’s just really advanced for his age, I don’t know.)

They say wonderful things. When I made him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, he said, “This is LOVELY!” and “You must really love me, to have made this for me!” (I do, kiddo. I really, really do.) When I tried to get him to take a nap, he stalled with things like, “Aunt Amy, I am very sad because my blanket is too small” and “I can’t sleep because your hair is too beautiful.” He finally fell asleep, and when I woke him up, he said, “I wasn’t really sleeping. I was just on the bed with my eyes open the whole time.” When we went out to dinner with his dad that night, he said he couldn’t eat any more because he had “too much full.”

They are little sponges for knowledge. It’s glorious. He asked me why a billion times and I never got tired of it. “What’s this book?” “That’s the book Aunt Amy finished while you were napping.” “It’s not a book for me?” “No.” “Why?” “It doesn’t have any pictures and it’s really violent.” “Why?” “Because grownup people like that.” “Why?” “Because it’s an escape from their boring lives, I think.” “Why?” “Oh, life’s confusing when you’re a grownup, kiddo. You have to do a lot of things that aren’t fun to earn the money to do the things you want to do.” “Why?” “Capitalism, I think.” “Why?” “Well, if you ask your grandfather, he’ll tell you the liberal agenda…but I think it’s just life, to be honest. You make the best of what you’ve got.” “Oh. Can we play that Pooh matching game again?” “Yes, we can.”

He also loves rhyming words and nonsense words right now. If you tell him not to throw the ball, he’ll reply with “Can I throw the tall mall doll?” and giggle. If you reply with “No, but you can throw the fleegall” he laughs SO HARD and says “fleegall fleegall fleegall!”

They love snacks, but not food that is good for them. “Can I have Kit Kat bars? What about those things that are under the Kit Kat bars that look like cookies? Do you know why I am very sad? Because you won’t let me have more candy. I think it would be good to have more candy because I love it.”

(I think this should be a category all on its own: they are very manipulative. But not very good at it.)

However, at the end of the day, they say things like, “Aunt Amy, do you know what? I love you,” and your whole heart melts into a puddle.

We played games, we played with toys, we watched movies on his dad’s very small DVD player he brought up that plugged into a charger-thingy, he took a nap, we read many books (one of them four times, he loved it so) and we had a good time, despite two tiny breakdowns that I was able to jolly or distract him out of. (Said breakdowns were due to me not allowing him to hit a ball with a paddleball board into a wall full of glass-framed photographs. He was SO SAD I didn’t think that was a good idea.)

I’m pretty sure I win aunting. I kept him in one piece, unbitten by bugs, fed, laughing almost the whole time, entertained, and when he was on his way home, he said, “Goodbye, Aunt Amy, I love you!”


When I got home from dinner, there was POWER!!!


I was able to put food in the fridge, do dishes with REAL HOT WATER!, and – SIGH – take a shower. A nice hot shower. Utter luxury, that shower. Do not underestimate the glory of a shower after you are unable to have one for a while.

Today I have been the laziest human being alive. I read. I napped. I played on the internet. Said nap was interrupted by Dad calling, worried he hadn’t heard from me in a few hours and thought I might be dead. “Dad! I called and left you a message not to call because I was napping!” I said. “Oh, I deleted that because I was going to call you,” Dad helpfully said.

The rest of the week will be less relaxy, I think. We have plans for movies with The Nephew, a trip out of state (Dad has come up with a grand plan!), lunch with Mom, a trip to see Helper Mule, visiting my grandmother, and dinner and a play with Mom. All the things! Not to mention more reading and blogging and internetting and napping. All hail vacation!

I hope you are all having the best weeks. More mountainy adventures soon. And lots of photos when I get home (it’s much too hard to upload photos in a post from the app – they appear at the bottom, and to get them in the right place, you have to do this really time-consuming thing I won’t go into because it will bore you to tears. Photos soon. Promise.)


(I had to give you ONE photo. Here’s the kiddo sound asleep. I’ve had a lot of accomplishments in life, but this one’s one of my most proud.)

About lucysfootball

I'm not the girl with the most cake. Someday. SOMEDAY. View all posts by lucysfootball

20 responses to “Winning at Aunting is Exhausting

  • cynthiaw

    Winning at Aunting IS really tiring – I remember the first time that they left me alone with my niece for FOUR DAYS. And she was only about 18 months old and I was terrified that I’d break her and they’d never let me watch her again. But we had the BEST time and there were no tantrums or anything.

    My sister laughs at the lengths that I’ll go to order to WIN at Aunting b/c she says that I don’t have much competition – Daddy’s sisters are all either moms and don’t really care to be indulgent aunties or kind of self-centered and don’t care either and my other sister is nuts AND bossy.

    So… I could win just be default, but I want to be the BEST of ALL the aunties, not just family aunties, so I’m a lunatic when I’m around her and super indulgent.


  • becomingcliche

    You are the winningest Auntie! You introduced him to the Pigeon!

    I’m so glad you’re having fun, and I am about to wet my pants with excitement over Helper Mule! Even if he didn’t knock up the lady he was living with.


    • lucysfootball

      I was going to have links and Pigeon photos…stupid WP app. It’s not very user-friendly!

      I’m not sure what day will be Helper Mule day. Probably Wednesday or Friday!


  • jennannro

    Great aunting! You put on a good show. I would totally do all these things too. Your nephew sounds like a fantastic little dude. You’re making me more and more excited to become an aunt this fall. I’m going to win aunting by default, but it’s all I’m ever going to want to do!


    • lucysfootball

      It really is the best. You also get to give them back at the end of it, so they have fond memories of you (and you don’t have to do much disciplining!)

      Yay, congrats on your impending aunthood!


      • cynthiaw

        Yes! Aunting is awesome because I can let her do all the stuff that her mother doesn’t and ply her with cupcakes and watermelon and then, just when she’s about ready to have an epic meltdown, I give her back to her mom.


  • franhunne4u

    I took both my nieces to the local zoo 15 years ago. First we had a train ride where they said funny things like (the younger one, being 8): “I don’t have to learn anymore, I already know everything.”

    Then we met THE LONG ESCALATORS in the subway. The girls enjoyed several rides up and down the escalators. They only knew the small things from shops.

    The zoo – we got a map to find our way round – which I passed on to a niece immediately. And we never went wrong! 11 year olds can read maps, even females! We went to all the animal shows – and the BIG playground.
    The 11 year old was not too old for a playground with big rope ladder-bridges … I had some minutes off then ;)
    At the end of the day I only wanted to sleep! Aunting drains all the energy out of you. Even with girls.
    The next time I had my younger niece with me she was 15 – and we went to the zoo again. It was not as awesome then. Not bad, given she was a teenager. But not as awesome.


  • Samantha

    OMG, “I can’t sleep because your hair is too beautiful” is amazing. Your nephew wins nephewing. :P

    I am very excited because I get to see my nephew and niece this coming weekend. I haven’t seen my niece since she was a baby. And my nephew is six or seven now and so smart and funny, and both of them look so much like my sister. It’s crazy.

    My youngest cousin just turned 3 in April, and she is usually kind of shy and standoffish (she likes who she likes, and doesn’t get to see me often.) Lately, she’s gotten more used to seeing me, and will let me hold her and hug her, and actually snuck me a kiss on the cheek one day. Completely melted my heart. All of them are adorable, and they grow too fast and I love them to pieces.


    • cynthiaw

      My niece has entered a shy phase, too – so, one of my favorite aunting moments ever (because it proves that I’m WINNING) is when I met my sister over at the model house when they were taking care of some paperwork to buy it and they needed me to toddler-wrangle while they talked business.

      I got there right after them – like they walked in the house as I was pulling up. And apparently, in that amount of time, my niece kind of freaked out because some strange lady (the agent) was talking to her, so when I walked through the door, she whipped around to assess the new “threat”, saw me, yelled “auntie” and came running at me full tilt with her arms stretched out for me to pick her up and protect her.

      I love, love, love that I am one of her safe places. And I will gut anyone who hurts her.


      • Samantha

        That is adorable. And the best feeling, for sure to be a safe place.

        I think it’s great with my family, we’ve always had that older cousin to look up to, and I’m glad to have had that and to be that for mine. It’s just awesome, like you said, to have a safe place and be a safe place.


    • lucysfootball

      The Nephew was shy for a while, too, when he didn’t see me often. He knows me better now, and he grins so huge when he sees me. He makes my heart ache, I love him so much.

      Have fun with your niece & nephew! I know you will!


  • Ashley Austrew

    Awww. You DO win at aunting. I loved my aunt when I was growing up. Such a great relationship to have.


    • lucysfootball

      I’m determined to be that awesome, kooky aunt who gives great presents and advice and takes him on adventures. He’s a little young for anything but presents and unlimited fun, but I have grand plans!


  • poetlandia

    It is extremely hard to sleep when you are distracted by beautiful hair. He has a definite point there.

    This is lovely.


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