I thought I knew exactly where I stood on having kids of my own. How many, how far apart, and when.. but all of that changed when my sister had kids.
Now, I thought this could have only gone one of two ways:
- I become obsessed with babies and get knocked up ASAP, or
- I’m maxed out on tiny humans in my life and will take hers when I need a fix
However, it turned out to be so much more than just that. My nephew and niece are three and one, respectively, so there is never a lack of entertainment when they’re around. I have learned SO much from these toddlers not only about mothers everywhere, but about my sister, and also myself. [Aww! You look up to me and respect me more now??] These are just a select few life lessons I’ve learned along the way…
It’s OK to act like a kid again
One day last summer I was playing with my nephew outside my parents house. We were riding our scooters (before you ask – yes – I still own my Razor from 2001 and – yes – it’s a longboard) around the neighborhood when all of a sudden he freezes as if he’s seen a ghost. He looks right up at me and asks “are we going to get in trouble?”; of course I say “no, why do you ask?”; he responds “because we’re outside without a grown up”.[EXACTLY!] Talk about a Razor scooter to the ankle!
Look – I am the first person to deny my age – but I think I would at the very least consider myself a grown up. I realized that I was acting just like him and scooting around the neighborhood without a care in the world! So much so, I had forgotten my own responsibility as his caretaker for the afternoon. He then proceeded to fall off of his scooter while speeding down a hill and cried for 15min leaving me to carry him AND two scooters all the way home… that really snapped me back to reality. [I’m not so sure I would have been ok with this had I known you two were out…]
Point is – I realized right then that I needed to do this more often (not the crying toddler part). We all should bask in the freedom and carefree life that our younger counterparts have every once and a while.
Don’t pass by the little wonders of the world
So even though I was definitely around for my nephew as a baby, it has been a whole new experience with my niece. I’m not sure if it’s because we were too overwhelmed with the fact there was a baby in the family at all the first time around or because she’s a girl – but she has truly made me appreciate the small things.
Now, all babies experience things for the first time – and they are all adorable doing so – but there is something about my nieces reactions that make even the smallest thing (like a song playing on Spotify or seeing a car drive by outside the window) seem like it is truly magical. I know I’m biased, but just seeing her stare at the sky, play with bubbles, or legitimately run in circles around the apartment over and over as if it’s a brand new experience each time is the most incredible thing to watch.
It wasn’t until my niece was born that I truly stopped while crossing the street (only if there was at least 10 seconds left before that big red hand) to take in the city views. I actually started looking up at the sky. I started dancing to music at home (I mean I did this before, not going to lie, but it sounded good right there). Take a second to enjoy things as if they’re brand new and don’t take them for granted.
You are the coolest person they know
It was my nephew’s third birthday and my sister asked him the time old question, “who do you want to come to your birthday party”? Now, when I was a kid, this was when your mom invited the random neighbors kid you’ve never played with; up until you got old enough to NOT invite the girl who didn’t share her play-doh in school last week (and felt like a badass for doing so). But what did my nephew respond with? One word. Chithi. That’s it. One guest. Just me. [having just you would have made party planning a lot easier]
It’s one thing to even get invited to a party at all – but what about being the only one they want there? Talk about a confidence boost! No shade to their parents, but you will always be more fun and exciting. Forget the fact that you spoil them entirely, but you don’t do any of the disciplining, either. You will be their favorite adult – hands down.
So in those moments where I’m feeling lonely or isolated – I always know there is someone out there who would love to hang out with me.. and that’s a great feeling.
Take advantage of the practice run
Babysitting is not my favorite thing – crying babies, poopy diapers (who am I kidding – I refuse to wipe butts to this day), and lots of screen time – but even one day watching these two is a handful. I would literally need two sets of arms and a third eyeball… an octopus – I would need to be an octopus.
I knew my mom was superwoman but I had no idea how much she actually did on a daily basis because I was a little self-consumed punk like most kids. Watching my sister do it now just puts it into perspective. [See, I knew it!]
I have learned so much about what it means to be a mom and how much of a full time job it is. That being said, the payday is more than worth it – both in fulfillment and in the life lessons our kids teach us.