I don’t have any fruit from my loins to embarrass. However, I have the next best thing: the fruit of my siblings’ loins!
Today, Little B is 16.
I’m not really ok with this for a number of reasons. But this isn’t about me. It’s about The B.
She’s a funny person. And smart. And sometimes a major dork. I would have liked hanging out with her had I been her contemporary and I love hanging out with her as her awesome Auntie Shrew.
She’s also horrible. Here is proof:
Once upon a time, we all lived together in a neat little house on a corner. Noelle was a waitress, I was a librarian, and Little B was a three- or four-year-old. I worked days, Noelle worked nights and we took turns caring for the Little B. Being from an educational background – librarian, remember – and abusive, I forced Little B to do things she didn’t want to do, like learn stuff. And what’s a good way to learn things? Why, by playing games, of course. We played all sorts of games – board games, imagination games, we raced up stairs to see who could get to the top first. It was all in the name of learning. Part of my teaching process was to help Little B understand that SHE CAN’T WIN! because that is a valuable life lesson. Everyone else in Little B’s up-to-then-short life let her win at games, but I didn’t. I figured she’d get much more satisfaction from winning when she did it on her own (also, little kids are the only people I can beat at games) and so that is what we strived toward, though I knew full-well I had a good ten years of being the victor. Also, because I’m a bad person, I’m fairly sure I probably yelled things like, “I BEAT YOU!” every time I won because I enjoy stating the obvious and making children cry.
Only, this bit me in the butt.
I had to go to Target one day while I was on Little B watch so I packed her into the car and off we went. We did what we needed to do and then there we were, in the check-out line. The cashier made polite conversation, asking how our day had been and at one point in the transaction, she mistook me for Little B’s Mommy. Little B was quick to correct her, saying, “She’s not my mommy. She’s my Auntie Shrew. And she BEATS ME.”
You can imagine all the explaining that happened afterward, as well as the looks I received. I’m pretty sure Security followed me to the car just to make sure I didn’t kill the kid in my cart. And that is what retribution at the hands of a just-out-of-toddlerhood child feels like; she won.
There’s something about Target for Little B, apparently. Not long after they moved out and onto their own lives, Noelle took Little B to Target for some shopping. They were in the clothing section and Little B was in the cart, all squirmy and feisty, asking to be let out. Noelle told her that she could come out of the cart only if she stayed right there which Little B promised to do. Noelle looked at a couple of articles of clothing, looked down…and there was no Little B. She was gone. Noelle called out for her, probing, then irritated, then panicking. There was no answer. Noelle did what moms do in this situation – she went into hysterics and found a Target employee who took Little B’s description and radioed in a lost child. Little B was super cute and was always being approached by strangers, offered candy or money, and generally cooed over. It was clear that some freaking weirdo had lured Little B away from her mom and was probably already driving off with her. Noelle met managers and other important people at the front of the store. They were going to do a sweep and call the police but then the radio cackled and the missing child had been found. I know all the parents are already nodding their heads, knowing what’s coming next. They found her quietly crouching in a round rack of clothes because she thought it would be funny to hide from her mom. She’d been perfectly still, perfectly quiet the ENTIRE time. Talk about patience. And evil.
And you wonder why I beat her.
Dear Little B,
I love you so much. I think you probably know that. I am incredibly fortunate to be your aunt and I would even kidnap you and make you my own if I could. That is how much I love you and I don’t even like kids. Well, not much, anyhow. But I am no longer comfortable calling you “Little B.” You are as tall as I am, your shoe size is bigger, and you have boobs. You look all womanish and you are not little. You are big. Big and strong, neat and hilarious, artistic and amazing. So I’m dropping the “Little” even if it makes us both a bit sad because you can’t be contained in that word at all. There is nothing little about you as you become this larger-than-life real person.
Happy Sixteenth Birthday, B. I cannot WAIT to go ghost-hunting with you!
All my love,
P.S. I can still beat you at running up stairs because you run like an old lady, like Grammy.