tia tarantula: words of wisdom from auntie taaaaa

by: Tara Ruttenberg

and no, that's not a typo or a means to preserve my identity. taaaaa is what my two-going-on-three-year-old nephew calls me, the intonation dipping on the second and third aa's and then rising again at the end in a perfectly harmonious high-pitched melody. it's either that, or just plain 'T' when we're having more serious conversation. and now that we've been in eachother's lives for nearly three years, i've learned a thing or two that sisters everywhere need to know before embarking on this path of auntie bliss.


1. if you let a two year-old play in the car to his heart's content (the actual car with a working engine in the driveway, not the Fisher Price mobile that runs on tiny flinstone feet in the kitchen) as the method to prove your expert logic that once he overdoes it and the novelty wears off, he'll abandon it for a new activity in a few hours' time, you and your hypothesis will be wrong. and he will magically lodge a teeny piece of metal in the ignition. and you will miss story time at the library because you're waiting four hours for the locksmith to show up. and it will cost $300 to fix. and said two year-old will still want to play in the car. forever.


2. your electronics are the most sought-after 'toys' around, and you are putty in his hands when he steals your phone and you try to make him give it back and he says, "c'mon taaaa, justwannacallbuddies". you are powerless against such statements and you let him call buddies until he runs out of things to say to them.


3. raffi DVDs and goodnight moon are your secret weapons


4. bath-time goes much more smoothly when you get in the bath, too. and yes, that includes fingerpaints and rubber duckies, and usually some singing.


5a. resorting to reason in the midst of a tantrum will get you nowhere and you will end up tearing your hair out in frustration while he kicks and screams in timeout until he can barely breathe. that's what timeout is for - space for the emotional release of not getting to do exactly what you want to do at any given time. It rarely serves for 'sitting and thinking about what you've done' as we strange adult humans like to think. 


5b. emotion, not logic, drives two year-olds' decisions, and when they discover their own free will you are completely fucked. and the sooner you get that and learn to accept it, the happier we all shall be. 


6.  no means yes and don't means do. kind of like dating.


7. when he is silent for longer than 45 seconds, it means he's playing with kitchen knives, drinking clorox, putting his finger in the electrical outlet and painting the microwave with your nail polish, all at the same time. seriously, go find him right now.


8. if there is music, you are dancing. 


9. your baby (well, technically he's your sister's baby, which confuses people when you refer to him as your baby, but really, he's yours too and they obviously just don't get it) is your most favorite person on earth and you will squeeze him until he kicks you to let him down and you will always cry when you kiss him goodbye. it's even worse when you have to do it when he's in his car seat and he gives you a wave and says 'bye taaaaa' with the same nonchalance as when he leaves the room only to return with 'hi taaaa' 6 seconds later. while you're fighting tears walking to the bus, he's all calm and collected because he doesn't realize that the lag time between this 'bye taaaaa' and the next 'hi taaaaa' might very well be 6 months and counting. :( 


10. changing a poopy diaper is disgusting and there is no reason that you should ever have to do it. that's what mommy and daddy and grandma are for. 


11. waking up is the most exciting moment of the day so you better be on your shit.


12. polygamous marriages start making a whole lot more sense right about now.


13. if being an auntie makes you think you are ready for kids of your own, you are an idiot. kids are terrifyingly insane and the fact that you can babysit successfully for 2 hours (and by success i mean no one dies) does not mean you have the first clue about being a mom. that shit is impossible. if anything, embrace your blissful auntie-dom as the best form of birth control ever and drag it out as long as biologically possible. 


14. playgrounds and jumpy castles are your living nightmare - the number of things that can go wrong there are just so beyond your wildest imagination that even thinking of going there for an hour gives you chest pains. safer option: running around New England cemeteries. 


and there you have it friends, 14 lessons from wise old tia tarantula. may we continue learning from our babies and celebrating that our sisters get to be moms while we get to play all day and give the kiddos everything they want and then hand them back to their parents just before they throw a tantrum or shit their pants. 


...good night mush.