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Extended Family Meets Child-Free

Posted on:  September 29th, 2010  by  Ramona |  1 Comment

Matt and I had the distinct pleasure of spending three full months living in the middle of my extended family — something I haven't ever done before in my adult life. And while my sister doesn't have any kids living with her, she has grandchildren and step-grandchildren visiting regularly. My child-free husband and I were suddenly thrown into intimate contact with kids we barely knew — it was wonderful and horrifying all at the same time!

Joyously Obnoxious

Matt and I spent a lot of time this summer with children of various ages, from toddlers to pre-teens. We played in the pool (I've got a lot of energy, and I tried my best to wear those boys out rough-housing, but I just couldn't do it!) We had a few seriously heated Scrabble battles (as heated as you can get when playing against minors, anyway.) And Matt became something of a video-game guru to my niece's 10-year-old, teaching him the intricacies of “Batman: Arkham Asylum” and “Shaun White Snowboarding.” I'm not surprised, because my husband is immature at heart — but hero worship from a child is nothing he ever expected, and he was a bit bewildered about how to handle it. Kids always go to the one person in the room who is uncomfortable with them, like the way cats pick someone with allergies to rub all over! Wink

I will say that in general, I was quite pleased with how well-behaved my nieces and nephews and their assorted friends were during our visit. They were all polite and seemed capable of following instruction. They were exuberant and full of life. They wanted to be part of the action, joining in on conversations and helping out when there was work to be done (and we had plenty for them, especially during the estate sales of my mother's stuff.) No one pitched a screaming-crying-stomping-on-the-floor temper tantrum, and we honestly enjoyed their company. I was especially impressed with Jeffrey, who made sure to give us a hug every time he entered or exited our presence — a truly affectionate and sensitive boy. Who will always have a place in my heart.

However, there were a few moments here and there that reminded my why I don't have kids of my own. No matter how good the kids are, they become exhausting after a while. I've only got so many hours of play in me before I've had my fill of any child — I love 'em, but I'm not sorry when it's time for them to go home! The bigger ones in particular seemed to have a hard time understanding when you'd had enough and were “done” playing (I had to threaten violence once or twice to get them to stop — it almost made you afraid to get them started.) There were a couple of sibling fights that made me want to pop both of them upside the head (but I still ended up drying the littler-one's tears when he came bawling to me about being picked on.) And God help us all when one of these kids gets bored! They were pretty self-entertaining most of the time, but I came close to committing infanticide one rainy afternoon, and ended up sending dear little Jeffrey outside to play in the puddles to get him the hell away from me!

I walked away from the experience glad to have had these people in my life for a brief period, looking forward to seeing them again my next visit, and quite happy to return to my cats. As it should be.

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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream with The Husbert and two fur-babies. Learn more at GettingOrganizedAToZ.com and RamonaCreel.com.

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One Response

  1. Julia says:

    I doubt I could write an article that length about my own nieces and nephews and keep it that positive. I agree it is draining-even parents admit this, even with the most well behaved children. For me, it’s exhausting to be “on” which I have to be to have fun with children b/c it’s not something I find easy in my natural state. :) And sadly, I live in THE natural state (Arkansas and SW MO) where everyone’s children and all issues child related seem to be in my face at all times. That’s why your living CF is such a nice place for me to visit! I dig being reminded of adult priorities.

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