Auntie Buttface

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My whole life the joke has been that I can’t stand kids and they can’t stand me. When my nephew was born, even though I loved him more than anything, I wouldn’t agree to watch him even if Cathy paid me - and she offered many times. And then when my niece was born, I liked to shop for her, and I couldn’t help but think she was perfect, but there was no way I would hold her even for a second. But in summer 2007, the woman who was babysitting for Cathy couldn’t do it anymore and she managed to find replacements pretty well - but not for Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to four, and I was the only person available. At first I refused, but after countless times hearing “it’s only temporary” and “I’ll pay you, you know” I finally gave in and, starting in mid-June, I became a babysitter.

The first couple of weeks were terrifying for me. I would call my mom every ten minutes to make sure I was doing what I was supposed to do. I lived for two o’clock when the kids would be ready for their naps and I could finally breathe, at least for a half an hour until Jordan woke up. For me, the first weeks of being a babysitter involved giving the kids whatever they wanted and hoping they got picked up before I had to change Cady’s diaper (thank goodness Jordan had been potty trained, or I very well may have died). It’s not as if there was some dramatic experience that changed the way I acted with the kids, but over time I just got used to hanging out with them.

It’s funny how when you’re with small children, the strange things they do start to make sense to you. Like when Jordan would lay on the ground and kick his feet wildly. He wasn’t having a fit, he was dancing like the boy in the white jacket from the show Hip-Hop-Harry. Or when Cady would cry if I asked if she wanted to take a nap. She wasn’t cranky, she just thought that
she wouldn’t get a bottle for a nap, she thought she would only get one when she went baba-night-nights. By the time my first month of babysitting was over, I’d started watching the kids up to four days a week and sometimes on Saturday nights if Cathy and TJ wanted to go out. I began feeling more at ease with the kids than I did with anybody else.

It was sad when the summer came to an end, and I realized Cathy would be replacing me so I could go to school. I could feel my heart breaking a little bit on my last day of babysitting the little ones. I made them a special lunch of spaghetti because it was everybody’s favorite, and I let Cady feed herself the ice cream even though she made a mess. Intent on making the day special, I pulled out Jordan’s Winnie the Pooh tent and set it up so we could all lay down inside and the kids could take their naps. Cady fell asleep first, with her favorite blankie and he bottle. Jordan and I watched her sleep for a little and he told me “Auntie Hannah, I love Cady so much.” And I said to him “I love her too, Buddy.”

Jordan cuddled up to me and I kissed him on the head to which he gave me a fake vomiting noise and squirmed away. I pulled him back and kissed him again so he shoved my face away from him and we both giggled. Because it was naptime, Jordan started to slip off to sleep fairly quickly, but right before he did, he turned to face me and he said, “I love you.” This was a rare gift from my nephew, so I hugged him quick and said “I love you too, Buddy!” He rolled back to face his sister again, and he started to laugh and then he turned back to me and whispered in my ear:

“Auntie Buttface!”





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