When my younger sister was pregnant with her first child and told me it was boy, my world was crushed. My sister and I were the only siblings in our family, so I was really hoping for a girl. Barbie and pigtails I could do; dump trucks and Nerf guns, not so much. But here we were, preparing for Elijah to come and buying everything at the baby store that was blue. When he was born, he was so beautiful I forgot all about wanting a girl, and like all good Aunties I promised to always have gum in my purse for him.
One winter day, when Elijah was about four years old, my sister asked if I could babysit for her. My whole family lived in close proximity to each other, so it was rare that I could get a whole afternoon to play and watch cartoons with my nephew without his parents or grandparents around.
It was a cold overcast day in January, so we had to play inside. I was prepared with Pixar movies, snacks of all kinds, a craft with construction paper and safety scissors, and a pillow fort. However, it wasn’t long until Elijah started to whine to play outside and was running to the French doors leading to the back porch every two minutes.
The weatherman had called for snow, and sure enough the sky was breaking and snow had started falling. Slowly at first, then heavier and wetter! This only excited Elijah’s need to get out the door.
“Look! It snowing! Let’s go outside! Let’s go! Please!”
Finally having enough of him asking, then whining, now begging to get outside, I devised a plan that would make him not want to go outside!
I said, “Oh, Eli! No! That is not snow!”
“No snow? What it is?”
“Those are Albino Brain Chiggers falling from their nest in the clouds! If you go outside they will burrow in your ear and eat your brain!”
I thought this was a fantastic story! See? I can be a cool Auntie to a boy! This is not harder than babysitting a girl! My darling nephew’s mouth fell wide open in a fantastic impression of a trout. I knew I had him believing me, so to really sell it I put my hands over my ears and started running through the kitchen and down the hallway screaming. I thought he’d see me having fun and do the same.
At the end of the hall, I stop to see why he wasn’t following me. I could hear soft whimpering noises coming from the guest bathroom. I found Elijah huddled in the bathtub crying with his hands over his ears. With tears in his eyes he asked “Can they get me in the tub?”
What I thought was a funny joke had made this sweet baby cry, but before I could explain to him that it was snowing outside and we were both perfectly fine, his mother burst into the bathroom.
“What is going on? I heard you screaming all the way outside!”
Noticing the melting snow on my sister’s hair my nephew reached for her yelling, “The ‘Bino Brain Chiggers got mommy!”
As my sister held her crying child, she looked at me expectantly for an answer.
“Yeah….I think I broke your kid. So, I don’t know if you want me to babysit again.”
Elijah is twelve now. I did babysit him a lot. He and I still call falling snow Albino Brain Chiggers, and we both tease his mom that her brain got eaten by them.