One of the most special treasures I’ve been gifted is being an auntie to two little boys, one who just turned two and another who is 16 months old.
I adore these two. Maybe it’s because I’m now old enough to be a nan myself or that I realize my own baby makin’ days are done, or perhaps it’s more that I grasp how these two wee ones are probably the last in our line. I’m not quite sure.
The next babies I hold and nuzzle will be the children of my sister’s older kids, or a child one of my own two have (way, way) down the road.
The Little Stinker
Whatever the reason, I feel very close to these two little lads, and the time I get to spend with each is precious. Kaleb is my sister’s lad and they live in Ontario. I got the chance to spend some time with that little stinker over the holidays and he is quite the character. You know the type; they’d crawl up your you-know-what if you’d let ’em? That’s him. Into everything and sharp as a tack. The type of kid who charms ya while making you wish you had eyes in the back of your head as well as an extra set of arms.
And eat? We think he may have a tapeworm. I fed him chicken hearts the last meal we ate together. The kid would eat dirt if you handed him a spoon. And sweet? Precious! And the cuddles? Priceless!
The older boy, Kyson, lives just outside Gander these days. He’s been an interesting kid to watch develop. Adorable? Heck yeah! Lovable? Without a doubt, he’s that and then some. Easy going? Sure is. The kid puts himself to bed with a stack of books when he’s tired. Never seen the like before. Oh, and sick? He’s that and then some. If there’s a sniffle around he’ll catch hold of it and squeeze every bit of misery out of it he can. From allergies and asthma to his teeny, tiny frame and picky eating habits, this kid is without a doubt my late brother’s boy.
While walking late and learning to talk on his own terms are some of Kyson’s delightful ways, seeing this wee lad end up in hospital time after time is hard on the heart when all you wish for him is health and happiness. Still, what comes by nature costs no money, as the saying goes, and Kyson has illnesses that probably will slow him down a time or two in life, and that’s something he and his very strong, passionate momma seem more than equipped to deal with. What’s harder to take is his food allergies, ones that require an EpiPen. It’s life or death for this wee one, and that’s no joke.
While to many a peanut is a snack, to him it’s a death sentence and at just two years of age our little man had his first ambulance ride. The cause? An encounter with another child who had peanut butter for breakfast before heading out the door. While munching down on the edible delight is such an innocent thing to so many families, to others it’s quite possibly a death sentence. Kyson’s daycare provider saved his life by quickly using his EpiPen and calling for help for our family’s precious cargo that day, and for that we will be eternally grateful.
While encountering nuts is going to be something Kyson and those who love him will have to deal with his entire life, our little boy’s life-or-death encounter is a great reminder as we head into a new year. To all parents and grandparents and childcare providers, there’s a potential killer in your cupboard. Take a little extra time to wash those little darling’s hands and brush those teeny tiny teeth before sending your own precious cargo out through the door each day. It just might make all the difference in the world to a family like ours.
Pam Pardy Ghent, The Herald’s Managing Editor, can be reached by emailing [email protected]