I look at my oldest niece, Alissa, and I am blown away at how tall she is and how old she is getting! While trying to teach her to call me auntie when she was little, she developed the name "tee tee" for me. Strange at first but it has grown on me and I love it. I still try to hold her like a baby. She doubles over in laughter and says " tee tee Im not a baby anymore". Maybe not but you will always be my "bear". Her knowledge about horses is amazing. I have real, meaningful conversations with her now. What happened to the little kid that used to watch Arthur, Drangon Tales, Teletubbies and Zaboomafoo while sitting on my lap? I even taught her how to play patty-cake.
Justen is a ball of energy and always coming running full force towards me to give me a hug. I always brace for impact and expect to be knocked off my feet. He is, after all, getting bigger not smaller. We sometimes color or play catch with the ball. I make it a point to ask him silly questions just to make him laugh. I missed out on a lot of his toddler days when I lived in orange county. He had the best smile as a chubby little baby! Peek-a-boo was our favorite game to play. Since he is a little old for that we stick to things like soccer. Rarely do we get to play but it is always a blast when we get the chance.
Peyton dubbed me her favorite aunt by spitting up on me every time I was in uniform. Katie would immediately reply " wow, she hasn't spit up in a long time"...thanks Katie. Apparently the dark blue pants and t-shirt were an inspriation for her. not to mention the various times she spit up on me while I was wearing shorts. There's just nothing like warm fresh baby vomit running down your leg. Strangely, I wouldn't change any of those moments for anything in the world. Her other 5 aunts may disagree about me being her favorite though. I tried teaching her to say "auntie" the other night. She gave me her grumpy face then started giggling. I also have a knack for putting this child to sleep. When in doubt, hand her over to Auntie Shannon. Someone once told me babies fall asleep on me so easily because I have a gentle spirit. I kinda like that thought. She's just about 9 months old. Where has the time gone? I feel like it was yesterday that I was running through the hospital parking lot trying to make it in time for her birth! She's so much fun. I get her laughing when I put on music and start dancing with her or singing to her.
Then there's two little boys who stole my heart the moment they were born. Jack and Noah.. my BFFs kids. They get so excited when Auntie Shannon comes over to play. A few weeks ago Jack actually called me Auntie Shannon. I was blown away and super excited all at the same time. I took the boys outside yesterday so they could run around a little. Noah has this new Thomas bouncy ball and he was all about playing with it. I kept reminding him to be careful and not let it roll down the embankment. I tossed him the ball and where did it go??? .. Down the embankment. Way to go Auntie! Noah and I stood next to the patio and watched in horror as Thomas bounced all the way down the hill, over rocks, through the weeds, across busy Hwy 78 and into the abyss that lay across the street. As the ball rolled and bounced across the Highway, I imagined a car driving by right at that moment, hitting the ball and exploding it into a million rubbery pieces. All while I stand there with my favorite 4 yr old as he simply says "Thomas" over and over. Talk about heartbreaking! We stopped on the side of the road before we went to get pizza. I sheepishly admitted to making the ball go down the hill, got out of the car and made my way across the street. I was once again a hero when I returned Thomas to Noah. Jack likes to tickle me so I pretend to ignore him then jump up, grab him and start tickling him. His deep belly laughs make me laugh even harder. He thought it was hilarious to chase my feet with his dump truck while we were outside. I was hopping around like I was doing some funky chicken dance. Then he had to melt my heart by grabbing a blanket and snuggling up to me just before bedtime.
I may be goofy around my nieces and nephews but I know they love me for it. Im sure I will be known as "Crazy Auntie Shannon" when I am old. I can't wait to meet the LaTour's newest baby whe she is born in December. And I am super excited about Jimmy/Jessica and Brian/Katie having more kids in a couple years. At this rate I will be throwing baby showers for the next 4 yrs or so.. That's nothing new. I have thrown a baby shower for someone every year for the past 3 yrs.. I love it! So.. I may not have kids of my own yet but I certainly don't lack the joy of having little ones around.