Sunday, July 12, 2009

Little Angel Sandwiches

My current goal in life is to be the favourite aunt of my nieces and nephews. The way I approach this is to be around often enough that they see me, but not so often that I have a lot of opportunities (or need) to punish them for misbehaving.
This last week, I was in Ottawa from Monday instead of Tuesday for a course, and just got home tonight... My nieces and nephews, all 5 of them, were extremely thrilled to have me. (Part of the mystique was, of course, that I disappeared every morning at 10 a.m. and wasn't back before 6'ish).
At dinner, I would often find myself the pb and j in a Little Angela sandwich, seated between my California Angela and my Dubai Angela, each cutie-patootie doing her best to out-talk the other. More than dinner, though, was bedtime... The girls, especially, each had to have their night where they slept next to "Khalto Noosa" (or thought they slept next to me all night. I would lie there until they drifted off to sleep, and then get up to continue my evening.)
One night, though, was especially funny: it was Cali-Angela's turn for me to sleep next to her, and as we lay there, Dubai-Angela found an excuse to come into the room, and, eventually, got permission to sleep there too. She made her way to the other side of me, and put an arm across my shoulder. By this point, we had told our bedtime stories, read our Quran, and were in 'silent mode'. Cali-Angela was lying quietly on my left side, trying to fall asleep, but Dubai-Angela had no such plans.
She started by stroking my shoulder lovingly and repeatedly, as though I was the child and she was the aunt and she was the one putting me to bed. And for some reason, probably because I was trying to be completely silent and pretend I was asleep, this gave me the giggles. I tried to laugh silently, but she could feel me shaking, which, in turn, caused her to start laughing, and the whole idea of sleep was then in jeopardy - a laughing 3-year old stands very little chance of calming down at bed time.
By this time, Cali-Angela noticed that Dubai-Angela was practically hugging me, and there is nothing a little girl wants more than something another little girl - especially her cousin - has. So now they were both hugging me. Problem: if they ever feel asleep, how would extract myself from the tangle of arms and legs without waking them up...
When I finally managed to calm myself, Dubai-Angela upped the ante, leaning over and whispering, in her newly acquired English and her best angelic voice, "I love you Khalto Noosa". I laughed. She laughed. Cali-Angela laughed. and so the evening continued and sleep seemed very, very far away...
It was 40 minutes before I got out of the now-sleeping Angela sandwich. The next night, the sandwich was an Angel sandwich. Small sacrifice for the return, really.

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