To be true to the tagline of my blog – let me tell you my stories – I’m writing about this for the first time – about being a hands on Aunt.
When my older sister gave birth to her first child (a son) late last year, I knew what was waiting for me – I’d be the stand in mother, not even a second mother, but like the real mother in all sense, except that I did not actually gave birth to a baby. I was excited – it gave me perspective on what parenting is about. Now I get it – I understand that it is a choice. I used to judge people who chose to remain childless, because the whole point of our existence is to procreate – or maybe not really.
So, after our mom left (Juan Paolo Gabriel was 3 months old at the time), I was thrust to a ton of responsibilities I knew nothing about – parenting/mothering. Man, what did I get myself into?
If there’s one thing I realized (be warned), is that small babies don’t care if you’re exhausted, sick, or sleepless, they want what they want when they want it – milk, sleep, burp, nappies. I have a whole new respect for all the parents.
Also, this is millennial parenting. It’s quite different from how we were raised so it’s a bit interesting, to say the least. While it’s true that you learn as you go, there have been countless of parenting books that can guide you – Gina Ford’s for one, among others. The accessibility of information for a first time millennial parent is almost limitless – blogs, forums, communities, etc., are all available within your reach.
When I was in school, I learned that a baby’s mind is a tabula rasa – a clean slate – and everyone surrounding them will write on it as they grow up. The thought being, start them young, and write pleasant things on it. I noticed that contrary to what our parents used to do, babies are like adults, they have schedules too. You have to find out their cycle and their personality as early as you can. JPG is hungry every 3-4 hours; he has breakfast at 6:30am, lunch at 12 noon, and dinner at 6pm; bedtime at 7:30pm; he does not cry if his nappy is full so you have to check every now and then; he has to burp every after feeding; and can go to sleep by himself – he just needs someone to snuggle with and he’ll be fine; he sleeps through the night, with just one feeding in between before waking up between 5:30-6:00am. As long as he’s comfortable, he can stay in bed and play by himself until his parents will wake up. That’s basically what his regular day sounds like. In between, you have to play with him when he’s awake – entertain him with your best God-given talent; give him a bath; make his food; clean his bottles, prepare his diaper bag, keep enough stocks of his needs in place, wash his clothes, etc. Guess I had everything covered. Where does your life fit in all of this? I’m not sure where. I’m only the full time Aunt – I get to do this twice a week.
These days, he just turned 7 months old and is the most exciting stage because he is starting to show some personality – his giggles, laughs, and cries are even louder as ever. He is interactive and responds to my silly faces. It’s the adorable stage and I do not want it to end anytime soon.
I guess the only wish of any parent – real or stand in – is to raise a good human being, and that is what I am working on with him.
As for me, I had my own self realization as well: I am not emotionally ready for something like this, yet. It’s a whole different kind of life – you are forced to become this new person (a mother/parent), and I do not think I am prepared for something like that. It’s a huge deal because once you become one, you can not undo things; you can not give the baby back and perhaps try some other time – does not work that way, pal. I’ve seen people become parents because their choices and their life circumstances brought them there ready or not, and I have the highest respect for them for standing by their children. It is an amazing feeling – when this tiny creature smiles at me like I’m the best person in the world, nothing is more precious than that. I put that on top of my favorite things in life. Perhaps when I’m less selfish and more emotionally mature, I’d rethink about this whole mothering thing. But for now, I’m a happy camper – not long from now, someone’s going to call me “Auntie” on a daily basis and I could not be more excited.
x Auntie Jacquie x