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Why being an Auntie is actually quite fabulous

Elizabeth Kesses
By Elizabeth Kesses Published on 25 July 2011

My sister and I had a fairly competitive childhood - I was butter wouldn't melt in your mouth and she was more prone to biting me and rebelling.

Why being an Auntie is actually quite fabulous

Then with time we somehow switched roles. She settled down with a husband in a lovely family home and I was still flitting around the world and dancing on podiums.

In fact the day my sister got married I decided to leave my husband.

About a year later my dad got sick and it was shortly after this that she fell pregnant. It gave my dad a lot of hope and comfort in the last months of his life.

I had always feared being an aunt - even the word signified age. All my aunts had in fact refused to be called aunt and had strange names instead like Sha-Sha, Dolly and Mrs Celery.

I was however thrilled with her news and went into overdrive. I showered her with leaflets on yogic breathing and hypno-birthing.

I spouted words of wisdom about organic and raw food diets. She reprimanded me telling that me that the foetus knew what it wanted to eat - even if it was a Big Mac.

The final few months were all too exciting. I traipsed around many baby fashion stores looking for mini-shopaholic clothes. I couldn't resist baby Dior, mini flip-flops for his first summer and his first woolly scarf and hat for his first winter.

Girls clothes are heaven to buy - I yearned to buy him pink OshKosh dungarees. I also bought is first crystal bracelet though not sure his Dad was particularly happy with me buying him 'jewellery'.

The big day I arrived. It was the most incredible thing! We arrived laden with her suitcase and they asked us to lay out the baby’s first clothes.

At this point, I of course ran for the hills not wanting to see any part of the birthing process. I had watched too many episodes of Casualty. I mean. Why can't they just be delivered by storks like Dumbo?

Oscar came into the world easily and smoothly - a tiny little angel with perfect everything. He unsurprisingly looked just like our lovely Dad.

Quickly the little cherub developed his own personality. He was of course a special gifted little boy. Baby Einstein was elementary.

Like his auntie he tired fast of those brightly colourful objects that entertain normal babes for hours. He pointed quickly at books and blew into a recorder a la Mozart.

I sang French lullabies to trigger his infant linguistic skills. Nothing was too good for my nephew.

At 3 months I taught him how to high 5 - with his foot no less.
Luck would have it that Katie was planning a holiday whilst we were in Cannes and I desperately pleaded with her to join us - I had visions of us strutting along the Croisette - me in YSL, my sister in Maman Bateau and him in petit.

However none of the hotels complied with the very high standards of sister's new bible - baby boltholes: A website for new mothers that pores scorn on anything without the latest, top of the range high chair.

I had often seen those families at Gatwick - with a cargo load of Mothercare stuff, baby at the fore, all like a military operation.
Flying into the chemist to stock up on last-minute baby wipes without even a glance at the glittering designer boutiques.

Whilst they were away in Spain we received an Oscar email missive - him covered in carrot. Weaning a child, said my sister knowingly is a critical process and can be a disempowering experience for babies.

Apparently you need to let the child nurture itself. Visions of apple all over my favourite silk top made me shudder and I made a note to self never to be round at feeding time.

The family adored their week in baby safe Majorca. Oscar loved the pool as the sea was too cold for his sensitive tootsies.

The next e-card from the little nipper showed him propped up on a sun lounger, an imperious hand waving for a cocktail. Maybe Oscar had his Auntie BBs blood after all.

However it is at family lunches that my nephew really rules the roost.

Being the ultimate “bon viveur” I usually drag everyone to a former stately home (now a top notch golf club) for a civilised sit down lunch - and of course to parade my prodigy nephew as he earnestly plays with his abacus.

Our mother spends most of the time swatting wasps, losing her glasses and fussing around the little fellow. Katie is actually pretty laid back throughout but she keeps the baby firmly on hip.

Lunch is usually all over very quickly. Oscar decrees when he needs to get back for a feed or a sleep. My beau, a father of three is great with kids and so effortlessly rocks him to sleep.

My nephew is the most delightful child but the whole auntie experience has left me feeling curiously alien to the idea of producing my own.

All I can say is that if it happens, Paris social life needs to brace itself for the newest accessory - the Bebe Choo.

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by Elizabeth Kesses

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