Guest post by Donna A. Lewis, a doting aunt and number one favorite babysitter
When you're not around, your kids are not annoying at all. I don't say this because they're related to me by blood. I happen to be related by blood to some highly annoying people. But there is a significant difference between annoying kids and not-annoying kids. And your kids just aren't even mildly annoying.
B is for bold.
When you're not around, your kids aren't scared. They don't cry. They don't say they're afraid. They don't act afraid. It's very cool. When you're not around, your kids chase down the cat and dog and pretty much exhaust both animals in that special way only kids can exhaust animals. And then, when you guys show up, your kids pretend to have anxiety about animals they were bossing around when you weren't around. It's very funny to watch. I'm sure the psychology behind it is fascinating.
C is for cute.
When you're not around, your kids really are cute. And they're cute in an appealing way. They make me smile when they talk cute and act cute. They especially make me smile when they're cute just doing nothing.
D is for dinner.
Your kids eat dinner when you're not around. They get a choice of two things or a combination of both. The food gets plopped in front of them. They eat. If, after about twenty minutes, I notice that they're not eating, I remind them that we can't do any of the fun stuff unless they eat. ... or else their parents won't let them come over anymore. That line works every single time.
E is for enough.
Your kids know when they've had enough. Thank god. They don't overindulge.
F is for fun.
Your kids are really fun (especially when you're not around).
G is for green.
Green is never the favorite color for anything. Nobody ever wants the green one.
H is for happy.
Your kids are truly happy. They're full of joy and excitement and they are very easygoing when it comes to laughing and joking around. That is amazing.
I is for "Me! Me! Me!"
Your kids aren't "all about me" when they're at my house. WHEW. Your kids are curious and engaging and helpful at my house. The word "I" isn't uttered any more than any other word.
J is for joyful.
See "H" is for happy.
K is for kites.
Your kids do not want to fly kites when you're not around. For that matter, your kids really don't want to do very much beyond the basic stuff when you're not around. They love simple things. They love the playground. They love walking in the woods. They love walking the dog. They love just hanging out. I offer fancier activities, but they never want to do the fancier stuff.
L is for love.
Your kids know what love is. They know how to accept love and how to give love. They also seem to know that love is pretty important.
M is for music.
Your kids not only love music, but they appreciate a diverse array of music. We listen to everything from The Sound of Music and Hair (yes, we listen to Hair) to Free to Be and other music made especially for tots. They're pretty flexible in their tastes and they're usually open to trying new things, artistically.
N is for night.
Your kids are very sweet at night (when you're not around). They go right to sleep. They don't pop out of bed or ask for anything unique. Maybe they're scared to piss me off? Or maybe they're scared I'll tell you that they didn't sleep. Or maybe I just exhaust them.
N is also for nice.
Your kids are really and truly nice. I have no idea what they're like when you ARE around (and I'm not), but when you're NOT around, your kids are really nice.
O is for over.
Your kids are very interested in what will happen when a show is over or a song is over or a walk, meal or ride in the car is over. They like to know the plan. I don't think it's because they're obsessive. I think it's because they want to be sure that I know what is next on their very important agenda for us.
P is for pee.
Your kids pee by themselves at my house. They're very adult about it. They just go. No announcements, no questions, no begging for me to accompany them. It's almost as if they forget they're kids.
Q is for questions.
Your kids are helpful communicators. If I'm concerned about the youngest one, I'll ask the middle one if the youngest is okay to be doing whatever she's doing. The middle one will assure me that the youngest is okay OR, more often than not, the middle will ask the youngest if she's okay and report back to me.
R is for right.
Your kids know the difference between right and wrong. And they don't get the two confused when you're not around.
S is for sisters.
Your kids know that they're lucky to have each other. Even when one wants to go right and the other wants to go left, they still understand that the sister bond is bigger than any of them alone.
T is for tying shoes.
Your kids do not ever want to put on and tie their shoes when you're not around. There is something about putting shoes on that creates all sorts of commitment issues for your kids. Shoes must mean that something is ending, not that something is beginning. It's not just you. It's not just something that happens at your house (which I have also witnessed). It's about the shoes.
U is for undies.
Your kids have the tiniest undies. And I find them all over the place when your kids aren't there. Do they bring ten pairs per visit? I love finding tiny little pairs of pink and purple undies. It makes me happy.
V is for vanilla.
Your kids are easy in terms of food. I don't serve them anything too exciting and they don't seem to ever care. Whatever I have for dessert is something they love. They don't beg for something I don't have. Either you raised them to be flexible or you're totally depriving them of dessert at home.
W is for water.
Your kids like water! It's so weird! I don't even think water existed when I was a kid. But yes, your kids like water and will actually choose it as a beverage. Good for them!
X is for x-rated.
Your kids are TOTALLY uninterested in things that aren't age appropriate. This is both inspiring and comforting to me. Your kids are, despite all of the horrible influences in this society, really just all about being kids. They have no interest in being adults or doing adult things. Thank goodness.
Y is for you.
Your kids love you. And they respect you. And they say nice things about you when you're gone. They think you're pretty great. And they think you're smart. And even if they get upset when you say it's time to leave Auntie d's house, they're still really happy to see you when you get there.
Z is for zoo.
See K is for kites. I offer trips to the zoo all the time but your kids would rather hang out and walk the dog. Go figure.
Donna A. Lewis is a lawyer, cartoonist and aunt to five bright and lovable girls, who are totally different creatures when their parents aren't around.