My nephew Townes is now 4 years old and for the past 2 years he's really liked me best of all the family members. I can't lie...I love it! Our family usually gets together en masse (uh, that's about 5 of us) about 6 times a year (holidays and peoples' birthdays), and every single time at the holiday/birthday dinner table, Townes always says, "I want to sit next to Aunt Steffi." And everyone then has to rearrange themselves to accommodate me and Townes!
This Christmas, things were the usual at dinner. But the funniest thing of all happened at the end of the Christmas holiday, as Townes's parents (my brother and sis-in-law) were packing their presents, and kids, up to head back to Austin... They had changed their one-year-old into his PJs (so he could be deposited into bed as soon as they got home after the drive), and then were starting to change Townes...
He and I have this thing: He's shy about people seeing him in his underwear, so every time I catch him in it, I have to chant, "I see London, I see France, I see Townes's underpants!" Usually he'll giggle and go hide... But this time, oh my goodness! After he'd taken off his clothes before getting into his PJs I did my "underpants" chant; he at first giggled shyly and then (!)... stripped off his underwear and said "You don't see my underpants!" And then he ran over to me on the couch like a cackling naked-baby-maniac and ran away, then ran back, then ran away... laughing naked-baby-maniacally the whole time!
His mama finally got his PJs on him, but not before he got to show off a little bit for his auntie! ;p
Though the Christmas weekend was actually full of some annoying kid-drama (acting up/parent punishing and me having to parentally tell Townes at one point: "Don't be dramatic, just eat your dinner" and "No, honey, I don't want to play; I'm reading"), it was also quite cool to hear Townes's own mom refer to him at one point, jokingly, as my "surrogate son."
I think I'm way too self-centered to ever have a kid (I'd always be saying, "Not right now, honey, I'm reading"), but... I also like how little kids' minds work and think I'd spend lots of time talking to them once they got old enough to talk (I'm scared of babies)... For instance: This weekend, Townes was doing comparisons: "What do you like better, my shirt or your shirt?" He had a cool dragon/snake thing going on on his shirt and I only had a plain red hooded sweatshirt on, so I picked HIS shirt. Then he started looking around the room for other comparisons: "Spiderman or Black Spiderman"...until it got to "Which do you like better, a ball or...a ball?" I loved that moment, offering him, straight-faced: "A ball." He got it. ;p