Last week I packed up the "yoda" and made the trek to my parent's house in the boonies for a much needed break, and to help my mother take care of my nephew. The Niblet (a nick name coined after seeing his ultra sound picture) is almost two years old, and I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen him. Always in a sea of family, and never for very long, so it was my intent to put in some valuable auntie time.
The visit wasn't quite what I expected, in a lot of ways the Hallmark moments I envisioned just never materialized. I've always been good with kids, babies and toddlers especially. I don't know why exactly, they just seem easier to make a connection with than older children. Perhaps I'm more in tune with them because I'm just a big baby myself. Anyway, I was anticipating making an effortless leap into favorite aunt status,I even brought a couple of groovy toys wrapped in brightly colored paper with which to break the ice.
I was surprised at how hard I had to work to gain his trust. We did this two steps forward, one step back dance for the first three days. One minute he was all smiles, the next, a small dark rain cloud of baby temper would appear, and a petulant demand to "go away" or "move" would follow. At first this mini munchkin rejection really hurt my feelings. Silly I know, because a lot of it had to do with him being away from his parents for over two weeks. He clung to my mother,"Nana", because she was familiar. So I kept at it, and little by little he got to know me, started to trust me more and more each day, and by mid week we finally hit our stride.
I could make him laugh by pretending to cry when he tried to send me away (perverse little bugger!), and by the second half of the week he had decided I was okay. He still preferred his Nana (who doesn't), but he also started looking for me when I wasn't there, playing with me without Nana, and only tried to send me away as a game. Evidently faux crying is highly entertaining.
By the end of the week, as I pulled out of the driveway to head back home, he was waiving and shouting "bye bye Shawnee".
I have to say, it brought tears to this auntie's eyes.