Lot 48: aunt fear

August 24, 2015

aunt fear

are you an aunt?  if you are, you might be able to relate to this.  for me, there is a certain amount of terror that accompanies taking care of my nieces and nephews.  keeping a child alive requires constant attention and more responsibility than any other task in my life.  each time i am asked to watch one of my nieces of nephews, particularly if it is one of the babies like isaac (1 yr) or june (9 mo), i feel panic, terror and utter fear. it isn't so bad with my nieces and nephews who are 3+ in age, but anything below that, just plain fear.

in a way, i should be flattered and recognize the amount of respect my sister has for me as she is putting her most prized possession, the thing she loves most in the world, in my hands.  but when i think of it like that, even more panic and terror ensues. and also, i immediately get these images in my head of horrible things that could happen and how it would effect my relationship with my sister and how if something happened she would never forgive me and how i would never be able to live with myself if something happened to these sweet babes because i love them most in the world and i love them more than i ever thought possible.  so just, lots of terror. lots of panic.  lots of fear.  
we just ended our week long family vacation in park city, where we vacation each year.   our resort has an amazing pool, and you know kids, all they want to do is swim if they can see a pool.  so that's what we did every day.  

one day my sister asked if i could watch isaac while she went to the room to finish packing.  terror.  panic.  i said "yes! of course!" i love isaac and want him to myself, but it is so hard to keep babies alive! it is so hard to watch them every second! we were doing just fine when he decided he wanted to crawl out of the pool and explore the area of the lounge chairs.  before i knew if, he grabbed an itty bitty piece of gravel.  i tried with all my might to grab it out of his hand, but babies are like super heroes, they have super human stregnth and when they find something they really want to play with, there is no stopping them.  so before i could stop him, he had popped that piece of gravel into his mouth like a piece of candy.  serious terror. serious panic.  i pried open his mouth and stuck my finger in there to try to get it out and he started to cry and i'm like "child, i'm trying to save your life!!!!" but i couldn't see anything.  i called my mom over.  side note: my mom is a nurse, my dad is a doctor.  that's how they met. cute love story here.  i told her what happened she pried his mouth open and she couldn't see anything either.  i got my dad, who is an ear nose and throat doctor and has pried things out of babies mouths more times than he can count.  he couldn't see anything either. i told them how small the piece of gravel was.  my dad brushed it off and said "oh he will pass that, he will be fine." when i told my sister what happened, more panic and terror ensued.  

i was told to watch him again when they rode the alpine slide (awesome concrete slide that you ride down the mountain on a little cart where you can push on the handle to go faster or slower. tons of fun) where i was fully surprised they still trusted me.  but this time i was determined! no rocks for him!! watch him even closer! we did just fine that time. i kept him the shade as i was instructed! i kept him happy! i gave him water often! and he was not at all stoked, however,  to take selfies with me.  he was confused by the camera.  i tried to take the stroller down like, four steps because i thought he would like seeing the bungee trampoline jumpers but i couldn't figure out how to safely get him down the steps in his stroller and due to aunt fear, i didn't want to do it wrong and jostle him or have him tumble out even though i had buckled him in.  so i was just standing there contemplating looking like an idiot when this nice teenage boy said "do you need help??" and kindly carried the stroller down the steps.  "thank you so much, " i replied "i'm not the mom, i'm the aunt, i don't know what i'm doing!"  i know a lot, it's true! i've been an aunt for 5 years, have babysat for countless hours and have watched my sisters be moms closely all these years, but i still don't know what they know! aunt fear! i have a bad case of it!

then taran and i went to lunch at my favorite restaurant  in park city and in the middle my other sister called me and in a rush said "can you watch june? you're watching june" so i asked the hostess for a high chair and my sister went to the alpine slide and june joined us for lunch.  june.  my junebug with her big beautiful eyes and her huge smile.  she kills me.  she is SO GORGEOUS.  it just isn't fair to the rest of us.  but the day before, she had been playing on the bed with me and had put my water bottle cap in her mouth.  it was far too big for her to swallow so i didn't do anything.  my mom came in the room and said "lauren! what are you doing? that could obstruct her airway!!!" obstruct her airway?!?! aunt terror. aunt panic. what is that.  "mom, she can't swallow that!! it is waaay too big! i don't know about obstructing airways! what is that?!?! i'm not a mom! i don't know these things!!" 

that's the problem with being an aunt.  i feel like i am expected to know everything a mom knows but i don't.  i'm not around the kids 24/7 like the moms are, when they are fussy, i am not entirely sure why.  hungry? sleepy? bored? do they want to crawl? are they scared? what's going on? i know nothing, really.  i have aunt fear at it's finest.  i don't think it will ever go away, probably not until my oldest child is 18. and then mom fear is a completely different story.  but i do have an advantage for when i have my own kids.  i won't be blind when i pop out of my own due to my experience as an aunt.  and i am sure grateful for that. 

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  1. No one knows everything, not even moms! They learn as they go just like anyone else. Kids get into things. They put stuff in their mouths and noses and ears, and they fall and get scratched up. It happens to them all. The good news is- they are generally WAY more resilient than adults give them credit for. Clearly you do a good job or your sisters wouldn't keep asking you to watch them :)

  2. Aunt Fear is REAL and I used to have it too. Sometimes I still do. It is SO much pressure to keep those babies healthy and happy. I remember when my nephew spiked a fever once while I was watching him. Babies spike fevers. It's no big deal. But I was SO afraid that it was all my fault.

    It really is MUCH less scary when they're older, though. That much is true!

  3. I don't have any yet but I keep pushing my sister to make me an auntie :)

  4. Such cuties!!! Ha, I'm a kitty aunt... does that count? I follow my sister's cats around with their food bowls in hand when they don't seem to eat as much, and other totally crazy things! Hoping she has some real babies soon though!!


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