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My, but they grow so fast! My niece is one year old now. I’ve almost stopped showering her with gaudy toys when I figured my brother’s house couldn’t take any more. Also, she’s still the cutest little button the world has ever seen! Seriously, this is not an aunt’s subjective assessment at all! Everybody says so! And yes, I know that everybody always says so, no matter how ugly or egg-shaped the respective baby actually looks. But in this case… well, never mind, I don’t have to prove anything to you! *hmph*

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Anyway, she started being shy with strangers a couple of months ago. While Hubby is a constant source of joy and wonder to her (she’s flirting with my man! Always has!), me, not so much… Since I’ve never really had a lot of contact with a lot of small people she wasn’t usually very thrilled with my carrying her awkwardly around. I guess she sensed my general insecurity with babies and didn’t like the feeling, since she herself hasn’t had the opportunity yet to build much confidence in her own ability to keep herself alive. Whenever I’d pick her up she’d start wailing pretty much right away and fling her little hands toward the next best grown-up nearby (okay, “next best” might be unfairly put. “Someone with more baby-confidence than myself” seems more accurate). Settling into safer arms, she’d stop crying and smile again.

So that crushed me a little bit.

I knew, rationally, it didn’t have anything to do with sympathy or lack thereof. But it made me question myself anyway. Would I stand a chance with children of my own, if they ever happened? Or would they prefer their more experienced (and obviously more attractive to babies) daddy over me because I’m generally insecure with kids? Rationally, I knew that those questions, too, were nonsense. But emotionally… whole different story!

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Then, one day, shortly after her first birthday, I went over to my brother’s to have dinner with the three of them and take my bro out to the movies. As I walked in the door, my sister-in-law and my niece were home alone, sitting a couple of meters away from the door on the floor. When my niece saw me, she took me in with that quizzical look of hers, then started to grin and gurgle, and actually scuttled toward me! She didn’t stay with me long because she had to go pick up another load of confidence from her mom, but she returned often and seemed generally comfortable in my presence. And it has stayed that way for a couple of weeks now. I can actually make her laugh, and she watches me all the time and grins when I look at her. 🙂

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Rationally, I know that she probably has overcome her shyness of strangers or maybe I’ve been over there often enough so she knows I’m harmless now, but emotionally, I’m partying inside. 😉

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