Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Being an Aunt

It's funny that now that the didi's around me are having children, I find myself put in more positions of a 'responsible adult.' Like the time that Shilpa didi thought it would be OK if myself and King took Simran to the beach. I was so skeptical about the whole thing -- what if she started crying? It turned out to be a wonderful experience -- Simran was on her best behaviour, and it was the bonding experience that we all had hoped it would be. But at the time that I was struggling to put on Simran's car seat, all the while buttoning up her jacket and handing her the car toy to keep her amused ... I was wondering how Shilpa didi could possibly think that I could handle this.

Similarly, when I when to Mamta didi's house for dinner on Friday night. I was seeing Iain after a whole year. Needless to say he didn't remember me -- though he did know that I was the one having a wedding on '2nd of Septembah ... my birfday.' I really can't write out his London accent -- but cute is an understatement.

So Iain asked Mamta didi if I could put him to bed. I looked at didi -- skeptical, as always. What do you do to put a kid to sleep?? She didn't think it was a big deal. "Just make sure he takes a wee, brushes his teeth, get him a cuddly toy, then you read him a story, and sing him a song." It all sounded very complicated to me. "He'll guide you through it."

And guide me he did. Iain has exceptional language skills for a 4.5 year old (because I know sooo many 4 year olds). He not only speaks and comprehends completely -- but is able to express complex, multi-layered thoughts.

The bathroom wasn't so difficult, since Iain knew what he was doing on the loo, as well as which one was his toothbrush and toothpaste. He kept chatting the whole while brushing, so I had to remind him to brush and not talk at the same time. When I filled his cup half-way with water for him to rinse, I didn't expect he would keep sipping and rinsing until the glass was done -- it was about 10 rinses.

Next was choosing a cuddly toy. He found one that he wanted, but it was on Mamta didi's bed. 'I can't take it because it's my mum's, and I haven't asked her.' So we headed downstairs to ask if we could borrow the cuddly toy for the night.

Finally we made it to his bedroom. He chose a story book in English for me to read, and informed me 'We can read 1 or 2 stories from it.' He knew all the stories by heart, but still enjoyed them as if it was the first time he was ever hearing them. It's funny how kids love repetition -- I remember how many times we watched 'Love Story' and 'Karz' in one summer. Looking back at it, it's totally absurd, but it seems like pretty natural behaviour for a kid.

When Iain was in the mood for a third story, I had to tell him it was enough stories for one night ... I was still stressing out abt what song I was going to sing him. "Ok ... you can read me the other stories tomorrow. You're here tomorrow, right?" I told him I might be back next week. "Do you stay far?" I told him I lived in America, which meant nothing to him. I asked if he had ever been in a plane before, and he nodded. I explained that it would take 10 hrs to get in my house if you sat in a plane. He shook his head and let out a sigh, "I can't do that. It's too much."

I told Iain that I didn't know any songs. So he volunteered to teach me the one song that always puts him to sleep. Of course I didn't understand it, and there was no chance of learning it. I told him that I only knew songs in Hindi, and he was happy to hear that. I couldn't think of any kiddie songs, so just sang something that I thought had mellow notes -- Baahon mein chale aao. I guess he liked it, because he told me 'Whenever you have to sing a song for me, sing that song, ok?'

Five minutes later, he was asleep. Mission accomplished!! I waited a few minutes before walking across the creaking wood floor and downstairs to join the others. Again, like last time, I was happy that didi had put me in a situation which I would normally deem out of my comfort zone -- but gave me the opportunity to bond with my niece/nephew.


  1. you know they all have ulterior motives! to prepare you to have kids yourself... ai yaiy yaiy!! i can see it already!! you're gonna have kids sooon!!!!