One of the many things that excited me about going up north to visit my family was that I was going to get to see my nieces and nephews. The last time I’d seen any of them, the eldest was scooting around in a plastic truck and his sister was pushing pillows out of her face on the sofa. She was about 18 months old. That was two years ago. They have a little brother now, who I’d never met, and my sister had a daughter who I had also never met. I was beyond excited to be able to get to meet these new kids and play around with the older ones.
I definitely got the opportunity to do those things. Justin and I spent several days at both of my MN sibling’s homes and we had an absolute BLAST playing with all the kids. There was the initial “who are you and why are you so excited to see me?” thing for all of them, but they warmed up after a while.
My sister’s daughter (C.) is such a doll! She’s still young, so she doesn’t talk much, but she’s got some words down and she’s rockin’ the baby sign language. It’s really hard to say no when she’s signing “please” or “more” and looking so crazy cute! I came down the stairs once and she was on the other side of the baby gate from her stuffed giraffes. She pointed at them and signed “please” and I just about melted right there. Justin and I watched her the last night we were there so her parents could go out on a date and I’m not sure who was more excited – us for the opportunity to play with her or my sister for the opportunity to go out with her husband. It would have been better if they hadn’t been feeling sick that day, but I’m pretty sure they still had a good time.
C.’s such a funny kid. She saw Justin playing with his Nintendo DS and wanted to play with it, too. She sat there pushing buttons and drawing with the stylus for a while. When Justin took it back and any time after that when he played with it, she was there, signing “more” and “please” and hoping to play with it again.
She got cardboard box blocks for Christmas and Justin was playing with her, drumming beats and clapping them together and chasing her around the house. He got tired and sat down, and she went and got the same colored blocks and brought them back to him and asked for more. And she did that again and again.
She loves to read, even though she doesn’t understand the writing yet. She pulls out books and pages through them. She sat on my lap and I read a book to her and then we had to read it again and go back again to look at the pictures. It was great!
My brother’s children (E., A., and I.) are also such great kids! E. is the oldest and he’s an energetic little boy. Running! From one side! To the other side! Of the house! All day long! Until Justin pulled out his DS and then E. was right there on his arm watching what was going on and asking if he could play with it.
His sister, A., is confident that she’s a princess and introduces herself as such. It’s precious! All the time we were there, she had trouble remembering our names. So she was always asking, getting our name, and then telling us that she loves us. And, often, following up with a kiss. Sometimes it was the other way around. Adorable! Trouble for an adolescent, but adorable for a 3-year old!
E. and A.’s little brother, I., is really too little to do much. I think he’s about 7 months, so he’s rolling over and drooling up a storm and smiling and sleeping and doing all those great baby things. And all those not so great baby things. “Exploding baby!” And there’s baby puke all over the place. But he’s got great chubby cheeks and chubby legs and he’s so great to hold. His siblings are great with him, too. I sat on the sofa for a while, propping him up with my legs so he could sit up and gum a toy and watch his siblings playing.
There was a snowstorm while we were up there, so Justin and I went to my brother’s house on Christmas Eve and stayed there a couple days. On Christmas, we were in the basement sleeping and heard them through the floor as they ran around excited about Santa coming with presents. Later in the morning, we took them out into the snow to play for a while. It was great packing snow, but troublesome because when I stepped off the road to get into the yard, I sunk up to my mid-thigh. I put A. on top of the drift and she sunk in, too, and couldn’t move. She tried crawling over it, but with very little success. We ended up pulling out shovels and piling up a snowbank to build a fort. And then we dug a path to the pine tree heavy with snow and found a path to get underneath that. And then my brother came by with the snow blower and dug out a path to the play set, so we went down there and found ways to get onto the swings (that were under snow) and the slide (completely covered in snow) and play for a while. It was a lot of fun.
I think E.’s favorite thing is video games, so he tried to get people to play Lego Batman with him when everybody was there. I didn’t do very well, but I’m pretty sure he got Dad, my sister, and my little brother all to play with him for a while. And he got Justin to let him play with his DS a couple of times. Sit on a man’s arm watching him play for long enough, and he’ll let you have a go, especially when you’re as charismatic as E. is.
A. loves to be tickled, and spun around in circles. She kept coming up to Justin and asking him to play “the spinning game” again. And she’d bring me things as gifts to play with or sit beside me. The last night we were there, she fell asleep after dinner because she’d missed a nap and it had been a very full day with people all over the house and lots of craziness. She woke up as people were starting to get ready to go, and I got to snuggle up with her on a chair while the truck was loaded up and everything was done. She was so sweet, just curling up and snuggling into my shoulder with her blanket. It was wonderful.
Seeing the rest of my family was great, and I’ll get to that eventually, but just getting to play with my nieces and nephews was so wonderful! I’m so glad that we had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with the kids.