I find looking after someone else’s child one of the most stressful things to do. Not being a parent myself, it doesn’t come easy for me.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t want to do it. I just find it the most frightening thing to do. To be handed over the responsibility of taking care of a child who that parent considers the most important thing in their world – it’s overwhelming.
What if something happens to the child while it is on my watch? What if the child chokes? What if it trips and falls, breaking a leg? What if the child goes missing in the mall? *shudder* I would never ever forgive myself. Never. Unfortunately, kids pick up my stress and I am always guilty that instead of just enjoying the time together, I am focussed on the wrong thing.
I didn’t come with the built-in mommy manual. I do not know how to soothe a crying baby. I do not have the energy to run after a toddler. I find making conversation with children difficult.
Needless to say, my 9 year old niece still manages to twist my arm and come over to stay for the weekend. As all aunts and uncles do, we tend to feed her lots of junk food, we take her to Spur, she watches hours and hours of Disney channel and we let her do pretty much what she likes.
The atmosphere in the house is definitely different. KK and I are comfortable with silences. However, my niece talks non-stop and comes full of opinions.
We tend to stick to a pretty rigid weekend routine. With my niece staying over, everything is thrown on its head! Clothes and books lie scattered all over the floor. The TV is on loud. We go to bed at different times, we don’t get to go running, we skip gym, we eat junk food. It’s the clearest indication to me what our life would be like if we had kids. Everything would change and would revolve around our child.
The funniest thing is that Annie and Emma (my dogs) do not appreciate our attention off them and onto this little person. They come running to me constantly, as if ‘tattletailing’ on my niece and vying for attention and love.
Today we decided to venture out and take my niece to the Monte Casino Bird Gardens. What a lovely place! I highly recommend it. It is well-kept, clean and entertaining. It has a calming, quietness about it.
The thing that stood out for me most is that I was not stressed. I loved being surrounded by all those birds!
My niece ran around, unafraid of anything. Not even the birds of prey or the spiders or the snakes could shake her confidence. In fact, as she informed me, the black mamba didn’t scare her at all. And the anaconda? Pfft, she’d seen bigger in her lifetime.
I need to take some lessons from her.
My niece fell asleep in the car on the way home. The only thing she appears to remember is that a bird crapped on KK’s hand when we were eating lunch.
But the important thing, I hope, is that she enjoyed herself.
I know I did…