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Old 18.09.2011, 00:56
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Re: Expat aunthood

Many congrats on your first time as an Aunt. Just revel in it totally.

I'm an aunt several times over now but still bask in that status whenever and wherever I can. It's awesome!

It's kinda weird sometimes when I find myself chatting about all sorts of serious stuff with the nephews and nieces I once held, bathed, fed etc as teeny babes. Life, is just awesome, eh?...
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Old 18.09.2011, 01:10
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Re: Expat aunthood

Being a favourite Auntie is great; even though my niece has a brilliant close relationship with my sister that I envy, we are really close and she can sound off if she and her mum clash, which is bound to happen, even in the closest relationships. And I can say things to her, if she's out of order, that would just wind her up if her mum said them, and she'll take it on board. Best of all, she made me a double Great Auntie last year when she had twins. She did apologise, I'm way too young to be a Great Aunt!

It was a difficult, very dangerous pregnancy, and I had just moved here two months before they were due. I booked a flight for the weekend after their first due date, then another one three weeks later when it shifted, and because the little minxes arrived in between the two, a last minute so I could go the weekend after they were born. I went all three weekends and was able to visit them in hospital and help out. The whole thing cost a fortune, and no, at the time I couldn't flex any of them. It just felt right. All depends on your relationship. Biff is right, new parents need a bit of breathing space, it's all a bit of a shock, and exhausting for them. But sometimes if you overthink these things no-one is happy. On the other hand, and I'm not saying money is no object for me, but if cash is tight, best to book for a couple of weeks after the due date. They won't (or shouldn't) expect you to be able to pitch up on the dot, and even if you do, they may only have an hour or two to spare for you, their minds will be elsewhere.

The other good thing about being an Auntie is that you can give gifts that are a bit off-base, and you will be indulged . I find that friends of new parents tend to give toys and clothes. Which is perfect, but it means that they will get plenty of those and you can maybe give something unusual, or that the mum and dad would like, especially the dad as they often get a bit overlooked. I sent my best friend a week's worth of home cooked meals when her first was born, so she and her partner would eat well in those first few days when they got home and wouldn't feel like cooking, to keep their strength up and give them a breather. As others have said, probably the best thing to give is your time, but if you can't be there, something that will give them time is probably the next best thing.

The twins, and my other niece and nephew who are only a few years older, were never going to get christened, so I gave those kind of keepsake gifts as their first birthday presents - a beautiful print, silver bracelet, musical boxes, and kept the newborn stuff to fun but practical things. Lovely wooden pram toys from Nuugihaus have gone down a treat, and will last for ages. Plus the odd practical thing - Samsonite travel cot, totseat, walkers - in between, as and when you see them - you are their auntie, you'll be there forever, so there's plenty of time. You actually don't need to spend huge amounts, as long as it's given with thought and love. I learnt to knit and sent them two cute, less than perfectly executed, but very well-received hats (it was the most I could manage with my sausage fingers). Their grandma had knitted them the most beautiful sets of clothes, but I couldn't compete with that and the parents knew I'd tried my best and, though less than perfect, loved what I'd sent (almost, but not quite, as much as grandma's!)
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Old 18.09.2011, 11:37
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Re: Expat aunthood

Wow, thanks for all the responses everyone! Really useful and great to revel in the excitement of aunthood! Can't imagine what it will be like when it arrives...!

Luckily I have a good few months to check out all of these things.

The remedies are a good idea - they could go in the basket of goodies for them.

And of course, getting 'it' a keepsake memorable present for its first birthday - I need to think long term after all!

Considering the possibility of two trips..a weekend after the due date for some last minute encouragement and possibly a hot curry (??) and then going back a week later for a few weeks by which time it will have been given its marching orders unless it's already arrived.
Then I can treat them to my cooking and if it turns out they do want to be left alone, I can entertain my mum who will no doubt be bouncing off the walls. So keeping her away from the scene will be an appreciated service as well.
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