I'm coming up on about a year ago that I decided I would live with my Big, Heather and her baby boy for my senior year of college. I had lived with my niece, so I knew I could handle a baby, but I was a little nervous about college work with a toddler. What I didn't know about Eli is how much living with him would teach me about myself, and how much joy he would bring me every day. He keeps us laughing, pushes our buttons, and then melts our hearts all over again. I've become Aunt Abby for the second time. Here are the thoughts I have daily with Eli.
1. "Dude... really?"
I say this every day. "Eli... dude... what?!" It happened most recently when we took him off the potty and he took off down the hall with his pants around his ankles. Potty training... am I right?
2. "Do you smell.....*Sniff Sniff*.... poo?"
Two Words: Nose Goes. The race between our hands to reach our noses. The life or death contest to decide who will change the poo. Okay.. she changed the last four. Auntie's got this.
3. "Did he just say...?"
The day he couldn't get the fridge open to get his juice, threw his hands up in the air, and dropped the F-Bomb was both shocking and hilarious. And I don't mean "feminist." The other F-Bomb. To make it worse, this was not the first time it had happened. Maybe Aunt Abby and Mommy need some PG words to describe their misfortunes.
4. "Please go to bed early so we can write these giant, scary papers."
"I'll get the milk... you trap him." It might take four books, and every blankie imaginable, but we are determined to have him down by 8:30. The rookie mistake: Leaving his stuffed baby deer on the couch. "MY BABY REINDEER, ABBY! I CAN'T FIND HIM ANYWHERE!"
5. "You are SO COOL."
Being Aunt Abby, I find joy in all of the milestones for both my niece and my newly claimed nephew. Pottied on the toilet on your own? WOW! Counted to 20? BABY GENIUS.
6. "Auntie needs some space... and wine."
Just like mommy, Auntie has her days where she needs a little space. My heart is so full when we have Eli, but I also go into Auntie Overdrive Mode, in which every sense is aimed at making sure he's alive, and that is exhausting for anyone.
7. "Please be cuddly and little forever."
I'm selfish for loving the days when Eli just wants to cuddle. Sometimes they happen when he doesn't feel well. No one likes a sick baby, but can't he just snuggle a little longer?
8. "Please don't be bleeding."
His tiny legs get going and he runs off into his whimsical, beautiful world, where every house is a castle, and there can be no greater horror than to be without mac n cheese and apple juice. And then, boom. Face first into the floor. Please don't be bleeding. Okay, no blood. "Eli, are you okay?" ".... WAHHHHH!" Oh, good. He's fine.
9. "I could totally have one of those..."
Okay, maybe not right this minute. I have days with Eli where I'm like, "Sure! I could have a baby. Maybe I even want a baby! Yes! Good plan! Now, to find a suitor." But, having a niece and nephew is plenty of baby for me for at least 10 years. Pump the brakes, inner Abby, Those things cry and cost so much money.
10. "What can I do to to make her life a little easier?"
Even when I come home from a long day, and I'm exhausted from being in Auntie Mode, I know it doesn't compare to being his mom. Heather has so much on her plate, and to also be a mother? I can't imagine. She's one of the strongest, greatest women I have in my life. She's like having a third older sister. I try to do whatever I can to take the stress off of her.