Well, I have been remiss in blogging, for I have been out and about, taking buses and trains to visit friends and family. I don't know how mommy bloggers do it, for if I had children, I don't think I'd be able to blog. As I was writing in my travel journal today, my three-year-old niece appeared in a pink leotard and tutu and began to dance. Well, who can write under such conditions?
I am a Baby Ballet slave. The Ballet Baby having, apropos of nothing, told me that "Jesus is very nice", I gave her a prayer card with Our Lady of Czestochowa on it. She ran away immediately to put it in a special box containing a miniature melon and a tiny lamb wearing a gingham dress. My heart melted, and my IQ dropped ten points.
Really, babies. A drug. Last week I was in a café designed for art-loving mummies and their babies--very much a place for Mommies who Lunch--and a little Korean-Canadian girl, about one and a half, pointed to me and squeaked, "Emu! Emu!"
"It means 'Aunt'," explained her mother, and I was blown away by the brilliance of this child.
"Yes, I am," I said. "I am an Auntie."
My heart melted, and my IQ dropped ten points.
Of course, in many cultures, an Auntie is any older woman who appears to be friendly with one's parents. This is true, in a moderate way, in English-speaking Canada, too. It's old-fashioned. I'm old-fashioned. And I love being an auntie.
One of the benefits of being an auntie is that it is usually part-time work, and I don't want to insult the small children of the world, but they seem to run their parents ragged. I don't know many mothers with little children in Scotland, so I am struck by how loving yet tired my Canadian friends with children are. Tired and sometimes frustrated. And lonely. The stay-at-home mummies are lonelier than the working mummies. The working mummies get to see other adults and have adult conversations. The stay-at-home mummies really depend on other women taking the time to cross town to see them, or to see them around children's activities. The mummy café on Toronto's Roncesvalles is not just a brilliant idea, it's a true service to the community.
Doting grandparents are extremely helpful. Occasionally grandparents take the kids away--and then some of the parents are vaguely uneasy. Suddenly they want to spend MORE time with their kids... I'm not sure I really understand parents-of-little-kids, really.
At any rate, from listening to stay-at-home mummies I have come to the not so original conclusion that the grass is always greener on the other side. Some stay-at-home mums really want to work, for the sake of money and companionship and their expensive(in time and effort as well as money) educations, but then they don't want to be away from their babies. Other stay-at-homes are fine with staying at home, but would love an extra pair of hands to help out with the endless cleaning. This married, childless aunt is in total thrall to any girl child between the ages of six months and five.
Meanwhile, once again, I find the best cure for the Childless Blues is to go home to Canada and see how the Childfull live. And the Childfull are flatteringly happy to see me. For one thing, I am good for two back-to-back storybook sessions. Last night I carted a wailing child away to a couch where I deposited her on cushions and read her the tale of "Madge the Tickling Midge." I had already read her and her brother "Darth Vader and Son", absolutely straight-faced.
Ah, it's good to be an aunt.