Auntiehood Rocks!
posted by Amy

My one and only nephew, the amazing Owen, is now nearly five months old. This week, as my kids went off to their first days of seventh, third, and first grade, Owen's mama started her new job as a counselor at our oldest child's middle school.

(How awesome is that, by the way? Having her there is definitely easing all family members' middle school fears. I'm not sure that the seventh-grader actually HAS any middle school fears, as he is a tremendously cool person, but his dad and I sure do. If I could erase any memory from my head, it would be the one of the first day of seventh grade, when Vicky Espinoza and her gang of black- and red-leather-clad friends pushed me and my friend Denise up againt a chainlink fence and "bitched us out." That's the technical term for it, folks.)

As far as we know, Vincent has not been "bitched out." In fact, other than much whining and a tiny bit of screaming in the wee hours, as Henry believes 7 a.m. should be called, the first week has gone okay. But today was the best day yet; Henry jumped out of bed without whining when I said, "Wake up! Owen will be here in twenty minutes!"

"Mom," he said, with a big smile. "You should wake me up like that EVERY DAY!"

I suspect that if this was an everyday occurence, it would lose its magical effect in about, oh, two seconds. But since I don't teach on Fridays this semester, I offered to watch Owen one day a week. Actually, I begged and pleaded with Owen's parents to let me have that baby all to myself for a whole day every week. As my Aunt Dawn said this weekend, "That'll take the edge off, won't it?" Exactly. I need a little baby fix to get me through my own baby girl going off to FIRST GRADE.

It's only been two hours, but I can already see that auntiehood has some distinct advantages over motherhood. For one thing, I slept a solid eight hours last night. Do you know how much fun five-month-old babies are when you're not chugging along on two hours of sleep and five cups of coffee?

Also, bottle-feeding a baby is a lot easier on a person's body. This may not be a revelation to most of you all, but after years of breastfeeding, I'm amazed: I fed him a bottle, changed his diaper, and put him down for a nap. And it worked. He's actually sleeping all by himself, something my kids didn't seem to master for years, as we fell into the "nurse-nap-nurse again when the mama tries to put the baby down" cycle.

The kid better get some good sleep while he can. His cousins will be home from school in a few hours, and there will be no sleeping then.