Everybody loves kids. They’re cute and (mostly) sweet and they’re curious about everything. They open our eyes to a world that has just become the norm to us – they help us to see the colors and wonders of it all over again. They have an aura of innocence, they love to play and their miniature size just adds to the whole cuteness package.
I never thought I was good with kids. Your Aunt S is a natural. Every kid she comes into contact with loves her, and I’ve always been jealous of her for it. She says the right things, she tells the right jokes, she knows what games to play, she can make them up on the spot…I truly think it’s a gift. Being good with kids is something I feel like must come naturally. I was not naturally endowed with that particular gene. Me around kids is a mildly awkward experience to witness. I’m the baby of my family. I never had any kids to practice on.
You are miraculously a different story. Of course, you are also as much of a “go-getter” as an almost-twenty-month-old can be, so I never have to come up with games because you always know what you want to do. I love playing with you. It can be exhausting because unlike me, you never seem to get tired. But I love, love, love it. Even doing the smallest things, even doing them over and over again, so many times that you’d figure I would get bored. I don’t – you’re so happy when you play and anything that makes you happy makes me happy. When I’m around you, I don’t even think about whether or not it seems “natural.” Being comfortable around you just…happens. That makes sense to me, though. I figure sharing 50% of my DNA with you helps.
It’s kind of embarrassing to admit, but I was sonervous to meet Sports Man. Before I met him, before you were born, The B’s were over at my parent’s house for a day visit with me and they brought some videos of him (see? Videos just run in the family). There was one of him reading, one of him playing basketball, one of him getting an award for basketball, and a couple of others. He seemed like a really cool kid. He seemed like a really smart kid. Smart enough to see right through someone who had no idea how to deal with kids. I was afraid he would think I wasn’t fun.
As per usual, when we finally met, he took right to Aunt S. He still loves her to this day and the whole family has a joke about Aunt S and her crazy hugs, because Sports Man always tries to resist them which only makes her try to give them more. Her instant awesomeness with Sports Man only made me more nervous. Writing this now I realize how funny it must seem that I was so nervous about the impression I was going to make on a 6-year-old.
However, when I got to know Sports Man I remember thinking, “He’s like a miniature adult.” This could be true of all kids I suppose, but I meant it in a different way. He talked about statistics. He talked about sports. He knew how to work an iPod. He knew how to navigate the internet. He knew how to operate a Wii and a DVD player. He knew how to read and he loved school. Of course, he was still a kid – he still loved to play and he still acted like a 6-year-old, but he was the most adult 6-year-old I’d ever met.
So I just talked to him. Actually, I asked him questions. Lots of questions. Mainly because he actually seemed to know a lot more than I did about quite a lot of things. I remember coming to The B’s house for a weekend and I spent at least 20 to 30 minutes in Sports Man’s room with him, talking about college basketball teams and looking at his books. When he comes over, I look at the new games he has on his iPod because chances are, I’ve never heard of them. We like to FaceTime each other while we’re in the same room. We show each other YouTube videos. He’s almost like the friends I see on a daily basis, only smaller and way more knowledgable about the NFL.
I haven’t been nervous around Sports Man in a long time, since the first time I met him. I don’t worry about whether or not I’m “fun” enough around him. I don’t worry about whether or not he thinks I’m cool. For lack of a better term, Sports Man and I just…hang out whenever we’re together. We chat, we goof around, we talk sports, we swap info on games or movies or books. You definitely have the coolest brother ever, cooler than anyone else’s brother. Possibly cooler than me, but I won’t make that statement definitively for the sake of my own pride. But he’s taught me quite a bit, about a lot of stuff, but mostly about myself. You cured me of my fear of babies. He cured me of my fear of kids. He’s going to teach you a lot, I know it.
If anything, you should heed his warnings about Aunt S’s hugs. They really can be mildly terrifying.