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Eat and Grow

copy-of-100_2089.jpgWhen Will The Baby Nephew was an even younger nephew, maybe a month old, I'd lay down on a couch, settle him back-up on my chest and pull a blanket over us both. He'd put up with this. He had no choice. He was in Lump Stage, and not in a position to give me any lip.

There are still naps, which I covet, but now he will tolerate maybe one story and two minutes in a rocking chair before requesting that everyone leave his royal presence. I lamented this until Josh The Pilot pointed out, "He's one. That's his job right now. Eat and grow." My job is most certainly not to grow. If anything, I need to de-grow.

The child has discovered how to throw tantrums now, shrieking and beating his tiny little fists on the glass door separating him from his parents' computer if they dare to do anything with it but play McQueen's Desert Dash, for why else have a monitor and an Internet connection?

Most fittingly-- since he no doubt apparently learned this behavior from me--I was present for Will's very first fit: His parents were putting up the Christmas tree, and my job was to run Nephew Interference. We moved some DVD's out of the way to make room, at which point Will began wandering after the adults, whimpering piteously. I put the movies out of his reach. He wanted no part of Aunt Beth then and began tailing after his mother, who was darting around the kitchen, and if you have never seen one-year-old try to fully mirror the quick pivotations of a mother of two, I highly recommend it. He wound up making orbit after tearful, wobbly orbit in his mother's wake, a sad little space station.

We consulted worriedly with one another: Was he traumatized that we were upsetting the balance of his home? Was he hungry? Was he tired? Was he sick? Julie the NephewsMama put a concerned hand to his forehead. Finally I herded both boys away from the action with the promise of watching a movie on Aunt Beth's computer. Jim looked dubious, as though fearing some sort of trick (tm Tom Wolfe). Will wanted nothing to do with anything--until he saw me crack open a DVD case. Then? All smiles. "Hee!" he said, his vocal pronouncement of approval.

Mommy was two parts relieved, one part exasperated, one part incredulous. She called for children's father. "He's fine now," she said, pointing to the baby. "That was all about wanting to watch a movie. His first tantrum." Country The Brother-In-Law noted this as the probably the first of many, many, and many. "You," she said, making a face at her second child, imitating devil's horns at the back of her head. Will, oblivious, continued to squat on the floor, applauding Mickey Mouse.

copy-of-100_2102.jpgHis brother, meanwhile, is exploring his career options. We've already ruled out jockeydom; we may now add another to the list.

Last month, Uncle Josh helped him with a toddler computer game in which Jim was expected to move a little electronic bar at the bottom of the screen to catch a little electronic ball. It was single-player Pong for the new millennium, and therefore highly awesome. But instead of actually moving the bar, Jim instead preferred to watch the ball inch closer and closer, clutching his hair and wailing, "Oh no, oh no! What's gonna happen?!"

"You would make a terrible air traffic controller," his uncle said finally.

However, Jim may yet have a future on Project Runway. He was recently permitted to pick out his own clothes on the very day a blizzard moved across the Tri-State area. This is what he selected:



Sweatpants and a sweater vest. He ran around the house looking like Alex P. Keaton on the skids, wondering why his arms were cold.

But, having lived through the eighties, I've seen--and participated in--much, much worse. I purposefully arrayed myself in neon, people. I think we'll see this on Wall Street in a decade or so.

banana clip at: mbe@drinktothelasses.com

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Reader Comments (7)

You are such a fun aunt. We prefer the Nick Jr site on my computer. I am awesome at the Diego pyramid game and the turtle game.

March 15, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKell Belle

That first picture is really really good.

I don't want to try to argue with you on your having or not having kids, but I do want to say that should it happen, I have no doubt in the slightest you'll be fantastic with them.

Wow...I never realized that even the youngest kids today are playing on the internet. And I'm on 22 years old!

I'm going to have a lot of catching up to do when I become a mom...Hopefully I'll have a few fun aunts like MB and uncles like JTP to help through the new technology for kids.

March 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCollegeGal

Hey, if she hasn't tried it yet, tell your sister to check out www.starfall.com for the boys. It's fun and educational. Sean loves to play abc's, and can do a lot of the stuff by himself.

March 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterShannon

Love the upside down shot with Will! Have to admit that when I was his age, I made clothing choices similar to Jim's - that is, very weather-inappropriate. The time my mom actually let me go outside dressed that way, I never did it again (I was wearing a bathing suit in winter....). As far as websites for kids, we love noggin.com. It has games and such with the characters from the shows on NOGGIN, and also kids music videos. It's a staple for us when we travel, too (we never leave home without the laptop).

March 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnother Southerner

He! your nephew is ready to become a rock star!! :-)

Of course, he will learn to play the guitar ONLY if his parents buy the 'Guitar Hero' video game...

March 17, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterred pill junkie

Look how big they are! The upside down picture is great.

Too fun. You are an awesome aunt.

March 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAmy P.
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