This morning I was thinking about where we were in the summer calendar. Then I took a look and realized the girls go back to school one month from today. Yikes! So much still to do. We better get cracking.

This weekend was much better than last, at least weather-wise. Perfect lake weather during the days as we hosted our good friends the Heberts. Saturday night was clear and pleasant as we dropped anchor to watch our lake’s annual fireworks show. If every summer weekend was as nice as this one, the population of Indiana would be at least 10 times bigger than it is. Fortunately the mugginess is coming back this week, and we’ll revert to our oppressive normal.

There was another highlight to the weekend. We were taking care of our one-year-old niece, Little L, from Boston as her mom and dad finished their Midwest visit with a run up to Chicago for a wedding. She is such a sweetie that it was a pretty easy couple of days.

Since they left on Friday morning, that meant the girls and I got first shift with Little L. I was a little worried about that, since although she’s been around me a few times in the last month, she doesn’t exactly know me well. But the beauty of her being a day-care kid is she’s used to her parents dropping her off with other people every morning. There were no tears or other unhappiness when mom and dad left. The girls were all up and made sure to do all they could to keep Little L occupied. It took awhile, but eventually she was playing peek-a-boo and run-around-the-living room with me, or climbing up in my lap on her own to read a book. Nap times were a breeze. She ate everything I gave her.

The biggest challenge, I told S that night, was I had no idea what her cues are to show she’s hungry, needs a diaper change, etc. With your own kids, you’re used to all their mannerisms that signal changes in mood or need. Since Little L is only 14 months old, she can’t exactly walk up and say, “Uncle D1,[1] I’m hungry, my diaper is feeling a little saturated, and I think I’ll be ready to go lay down in about 20 minutes.” Fortunately I don’t think I missed anything major.

She got to go back to the lake for the second-straight weekend, too. We took two vehicles down and she rode with me. We were leaving right around nap time and she was acting a little fussy before we left. C and L rode with me, flanking Little L’s car seat so they could try to distract her if she got wound up. In a rather inspired move, I put on the SiriusXM Yacht Rock station and that seemed to knock her right out. She slept for approximately 60 of the 75 minutes it takes us to get to the lake.

She did great at the lake, too. It took her awhile to warm up to our guests, but eventually she was fast friends with them. This weekend could have been really difficult, but she is so laid back and happy that it was mostly a breeze.

The only downside of the weekend was Saturday night. Poor kid is teething and that was the only time it seemed to be bugging her. She just couldn’t fall asleep. Eventually I took her out of her pack-n-play, set her on my chest, and leaned back on the couch in the dark living room. This is a position I was in at least 10,000 times in the years our girls were young and teething. Then as now, it worked. She was snoring softly on me after about five minutes. I let her sleep there for about half an hour – I was a little in-and-out myself and, let’s face it, a baby/toddler sleeping soundly on you is one of the best things in life – before I transferred her back to the pack-n-play without incident.

Spending this time with Little L over the weekend reminded me of all the good things that came with having a one-year-old in the house. Don’t get me wrong, I have zero interest in having another kid.[2] It was really nice having her around, though.

  1. Since I have two brothers-in-law who have names that begin with D, I can’t just be Uncle D. Since I’m the oldest of the three, and the first to marry into my wife’s family, I’ve claimed Uncle D1 for myself.  ↩
  2. That’s been taken care of, anyway.  ↩