Time flies by. It seems like yesterday I was anxiously driving to the hospital to meet my little baby niece. I was hoping that my sister and her husband were going to name her after me, but apparently they didn't think the family was prepared for "Little Peggy." So, much to my dismay at the time, the sweet newborn little girl was named Tiffany. The name suits her perfectly!
Tiffany has the distinct honor of being the family Princess. She was the first grandchild on both sides. She was also my first opportunity to stretch my "Favorite Aunt" wings.
Tiffy-Lou was born during the year I had my amputation. Her birth was perhaps one of a few light spots within a very dark year. I was nervous that my limb loss would hamper my ability to become a Favorite Aunt.
To her parents' credit, I was allowed not only to hold but also permitted to carry Tiffy in my arms. My sister and her husband did not hesitate when I asked them if they were comfortable with me walking with their little girl in my arms while I was using a prosthetic. Ever since that discussion, my amputation has never been referenced concerning my caring for her.
In my normal zeal, I tried to desensitize Tiffy-Lou to my prosthetic and my amputation. I often took my leg off when playing with her. I taught her how to throw balls into the socket. My leg was often placed in her little shopping cart that she wheeled around the house.
I made my prosthetic fun for her. In retrospect, it was probably a little too entertaining. She often tugged on my prosthetic in an attempt to remove it from my stump. One day, I found her on the couch tugging hard at her own leg. She told me she wanted to take her leg off as well.
I found myself explaining to a little toddler that only certain legs come off, and that not everybody has a "special leg." She accepted this explanation and continued playing. The next day I received a phone call from my sister. Apparently Tiffy took it upon herself to discover just who else might have a special leg. She tugged at the minister's leg before church and had tried to remove a limb from both grandparents. For the next several weeks I was inundated with phone calls lamenting Tiffany's leg-seeking behaviors.
I absolutely adore being an aunt. As I see it, I am allowed to spoil her, make her giggle, teach her important lessons, and help her refine important skills. After all, I am in a position where I am allowed all of the fun, and then I get to send her home with her parents.
When she was only 6 months old, I taught her how to put yogurt on her head. She quickly learned that everything tastes better with cinnamon and sugar. When her little brother was born, I taught her that it is fun to eat mac-n-cheese in a fort, naked. I have taught her how to spit, and we are refining her aim. And tell me, why can't she have icing in bed for breakfast every once in awhile?
The sweet little newborn has grown into a beautiful, energetic and smart little girl. Tiffy-Lou entered Kindergarten last week. What a milestone. I am sad to see her so grown up.
I was happy when she called me the morning she started school. Although excited, I could tell that she was terrified. She began to struggle with her words, and started to cry. I reassured her that Aunt Peggy loved her beyond the stars. She told me that she was afraid the boys were going to be mean to her. I offered a solution to her fears. I told her that, if the little boys are being mean to her, she should kick them in the balls. She started to giggle, and then I was abruptly taken off speaker phone. Aunt Peggy strikes again.