two children by the beach

“Kids? Those babies whose messy diapers need to be changed every few hours or so?  UGHH!”

That’s me. At least, that was me, before the Lord Almighty blessed me with two kids, Boom Boom and Pablo. Two naughty, but unbelievably cute kids_ who aren’t mine. They just happen to be my nephews.

But they’re not just my nephews; they’re a lot more than that. They are, to quote Bram Stoker from Dracula, ‘… [F]lesh of my flesh; blood of my blood; kin of my kin…’

Lemons aplenty

plenty of lemons
Bannon Morissy / Unsplash

Feed him. Burp him. Change his diapers. Play with him. Sing him to sleep. Hush him when he wails. Repeat.

When Boom Boom was born on January 1, 2016, I was entrusted with most of these responsibilities. I tried to perform my duties with as much patience as I could muster at the age of 20, but I must say, no parent or guardian can be clumsier than I was back then. I had nurtured a certain degree of hatred towards kids before his birth, so I had absolutely no idea about what to do, much less how to do it.

For example, I would try to burp him, and then find that he had puked on my shoulders in the meanwhile. Or, when I’d make an attempt to change his diapers without making a mess, I would succeed in doing the exact opposite! “Nice work, stumblebum,” a tiny voice would cackle inside my head.

Time and again, the then cloddish me would keep making the same mistakes and thinking, will I never learn? Oh, how frustrated I would get, and how everyone would scold me!

Enter the wee little Pablo, every aspect of his behaviour giving off a whiff of mischief. By the time he was born, I had already gained some experience in babysitting Boom Boom. So, doing the same for Pablo wasn’t much of a tough job for me.

But that’s not to say that my situation was all rosy.

There were some instances where I’d seem to have forgotten whatever I had learnt so far, and get an earful, as a result. Sometimes, I would hold Pablo awkwardly in my arms and try to think of a lullaby, while Boom Boom would be taking a leak right behind me.

It had only been a couple of weeks since I had resigned from my first full-time job as a content writer, just so that I could help my sister with babysitting my nephews. Perpetual pessimism used to sneak into my thoughts about my future. I’d wonder if I could ever get a job again, considering my employment gap.

All of this had started to get to me_ I remember standing quietly in the corner of a room and wiping off a tear or two.

A glass of iced lemonade

a glass of iced lemonade
Anda Ambrosini / Unsplash

All of a sudden, a small, soft hand began tugging at my leg. Turning around, I faced Pablo, who was gesturing to me to take him up in my arms. Boom Boom came running in, too, asking me to be his playmate for some time.

But when they saw the tears in my eyes, each of them puckered up his face, prepared to cry. That one scene warmed my heart to the core… and I smiled, planting little kisses on their cheeks. In a moment, their faces also lit up!

It has been two years since the birth of Pablo. He still talks gibberish, but a few of his words can be made out, like ‘car’. This mischievous kid can walk and run, though, but he prefers to stay in my arms while I move around from one place to another. I’m waiting for the day when he learns to call me by my name.

Coming to Boom Boom, everyone says he’ll go on to be a musician some day. He is addicted to playing drums like a professional, and he’s only four years old!

Life has given me plenty of lemons. In fact, life still does, now and then. But my nephews turn the process of my making lemonade into a pleasant one. When they laugh, I laugh; when I cry, they cry. Even now, when the whole world is in the clutches of the coronavirus pandemic, my nephews keep their smiling faces on, making me forget all of my worries for the time being.

I’m glad I faced those first-time struggles of being an aunt. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

With two such adorable nephews to keep her company in these troubled times, what more can a biological aunt possibly wish for?