Saturday, April 09, 2005

My Nieces and Nephews are Awesome

Seriously, they are super cool. Take for example my 3 year old nephew (shown above). He is undoubtedly a genius. Whenever I see him he has somehow managed to finagle huge amounts of candy from my sister (The only woman I know who is strong enough to live in a house with three men) while simultaneously discussing the apparent moral/classist conflicts inherent in the Power Rangers television series (“Power rangers only shoot the ugly people.”). It is no surprise to me that someone who at least tangentially shares my genetics expresses such gifts at a young age. His brother happens to be one of the best baseball players in the country under the age of 17 (He’s 6). He is less than 1⁄4 of my age yet his athletic ability exceeds my own. I am not kidding, he swings a bat like Barry Bonds but the only juice he uses is Mott’s. My nieces are just as talented.

One niece, for example, dances as well as any prima ballerina I have seen, sings mellifluously in the choir, yet manages to hold discussions on the epistemology of death matched only by Edgar Allen Poe (“Caroline is sick. Is she going to die? How do we really know someone is dead?”). Her younger sister has the patience of Job. I have witnessed her rebound from a particularly nasty rotavirus with nary a complaint. She also has the incredibly rare ability at the age of three to play quietly while making few demands on her mother (who is a saint). My other nieces are no less amazing. One has more library books out than I do. Her mother (a genius) encourages her voracious appetite for reading. I will see her next week and would not be a bit surprised if I found her in the living room of my parent’s house perusing the op-ed section of the Wall Street Journal (Oops, sorry Moe, the New York Times). Her younger sister, who is but three years old, has somehow managed to develop her vocal skills to a level only achieved by yodelers in the Alps while exhibiting a fearlessness around people (and swimming pools) that fates her to a career in international politics. So you see, when I say they are awesome it is a factual statement, not simply my opinion.

In view of the universally positive traits of my nieces and nephews I have come to believe that the stories my sisters relate of these angels must be simple misunderstandings. For example, my three year old nephew with the penchant for Power Rangers purportedly said in response to my sister interjecting in an argument he was having with his brother “Mommy, did anybody ask what your opinion was? ”. It is obvious to me that he meant that as a serious interrogative rather than a sardonic remark. It is somewhat more difficult to see what he meant by “I don’t want your stinking meatballs” and “What are you looking at weirdo?” but I am positive these remarks were in offered with the most sincere of intentions. My niece with a love of reading also enjoys expressing her creativity by crafting her younger sister’s hair into new and beautiful styles. Strangely my sister and brother in-law were less than happy when she transformed her sister’s golden locks into something resembling a very young Annie Lennox. The dancing niece has the determination of Churchill, so when she says that she is going to wear “This dress or nothing” I take it as a testament to her will. Unfortunately, although they are truly far, far above average their intellect does not yet allow them to fully transmit their undoubtedly honorable intentions. My sisters therefore mistake their exemplary behavior for mischievous acts.

(Addendum: Even with their near perfect children I must admit that my sisters display superhuman powers in parenting. Let’s hope we all get it this right when the stork comes knocking on our door.)


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