In two months, I'm going to be an aunt. The first baby in my immediate family is due this October, and by all counts she's a bit of a miracle. My sister, who at 41 years old decided she no longer required sleep or needed money, got herself pregnant the old-fashioned way -- using scientists and petri dishes. She really, really wanted a baby and that's what worked.
For the first few months of her pregnancy, we all refused to get too excited. Michele had struggled to stay pregnant before and we didn't want to get our hopes up again. But gradually her belly started to grow, the doctors were encouraging and the next thing you know, the baby shower invites were in the mail.
I went home for a visit in May and went to a doctor's appointment with Michele. I saw my future niece on the ultrasound and told my sister, "It appears you're expecting a potato."
Since then I've been emailed a few updated ultrasound shots and can confirm there is indeed a baby being born soon. Which has created no shortage of chaos in my family.
My parents called me this weekend and reported to me what they learned in their "New Grandparents" class, which they go to twice weekly. I tried reminding them they raised three daughters and probably don't require a four-hour class every Tuesday and Thursday teaching them how to keep a child alive. But then I remembered a few key moments from my childhood: Like the time I was sitting in the grass and a snake slithered up next to me. My mom ran away screaming, leaving me next to the reptile.
After that little trip down memory lane, I encouraged my parents to sign up for additional classes.
The preparations for baby Addison continue a few miles down the road at my sister's house, where she is currently deciding between two "schools" for childcare. I'm told the term "daycare" isn't appropriate since children begin absorbing knowledge at six-weeks of age. Michele gets to choose any official language of the United Nations for her child to begin learning in its second month of life. By age three, we fully expect this kid to be fluent in Mandarin and a classically trained pianist.
Meanwhile, my little sister, Heather, the other aunt, has gone to great lengths to baby-proof her house. I'm not sure what this means, it's not like she had open bottles of bleach and loaded guns laying around before, but apparently baby proofing is big business. Heather paid a company $500 to come to her house and make sure her future niece cannot hurt herself while being carefully held by an adult on a couch.
One thousand miles to the west, I've prepared for Addison's arrival in a different way. I've made a list for my expecting sister to accomplish in the next eight weeks.
- After work, carry a 12-pound bag of flour around your house until 10 p.m.
- Go to sleep at midnight, wake up every two hours and walk around the house with this bag for 60 minutes. Repeat until 6 a.m. when you start getting ready for work.
- Go to work with a mixture of baby barf and coffee on your shirt.
- Smear peanut butter on the walls.
- Chew a piece of gum. Stick it in the DVD player.
- Take a goat to the grocery store with you.
- Make breakfast and spill half of it on your lap, the other half on the floor.
- Put a Barbie doll in the toilet and flush it.
- Stand in your yard and cry uncontrollably until your neighbors start staring.
- Take $150,000 and also flush that down the toilet.
If Michele can do all of this, she's ready to have a baby. And I'm ready to be an aunt!
Amy Roberts is a longtime Park City resident, freelance writer and the proud owner of two ill-behaved rescue dogs, Boston and Stanley.