Today was my first outing with both of my niece and nephew. I have been out with my niece before, but logistics is much more sophisticated when you have got one in a stroller and the other one running around freely.
We spent the morning on a playground in the park. Luckily that even though I felt clumsy (how do you take out and put back in a six month old gracefully into the stroller) my little group was confident. It was their world after all, and I was only a guest. They were so angelic too, simply wanting to have fun and asking for my attention when they needed it, but no tempers on that day.
I did a lot of bench watching. I wondered who all these women were (there were mostly women). I thought I could identify mothers and grandmothers, but now I am wondering if there were any babysitters or aunts like me.
It was quite a social scene, especially in the mythical sandbox. First lessons on cooperation and sharing (do I let the others make the sandcastle with me?), age differences (a three year old and a one year old are ages apart!) and different visions of creative process (one sandcastle mold doesn't equal the other!). And adults navigating in all that, trying to teach manners, solve conflicts and showing how to find the wet sand to make a real sandcastle.
The playground seemed like a very safe and protective place on that day. Adults were looking out for children, not just their own-it was nice to see that mothers actually played with the kids, and how they accommodated other children, into the play. (Not that I did not try to have my eyes everywhere).
The pure joy children find in play, it was good to be away from intellectual work, from the computer, and wonder when to serve snack.
And next time I will be the experienced aunty- I will handle the stroller more gracefully, know how to divide the time between my little guy and my little lady, and definitely bring the suncream!