Partly Cloudy


Missing niece’s and nephew’s shenanigans

By Stephanie Casanova

Children can be pretty funny sometimes. They say what’s on their mind, have no filter and come up with some weird responses.

Most of my homesickness comes from missing my niece and nephew. My niece, Alexis, is 11 years old, my nephew, Gadiel, is 5.

I often quote my niece and nephew on social media when they say outrageous things that are too funny not to share. Here’s a Facebook post from when I went home last October: Alexis: “You don’t even read your library books Gadiel. I’m the one reading your books.”

Gadiel: “Well I’m the one eating candy on the couch!”

My niece and I looked at each other and couldn’t stop laughing. My nephew was laying on the couch with a lollipop in his mouth.

I’ve spent more time watching my niece grow up than I have with my nephew, so most of my memories are of things she has said and done when she was younger.

Here’s another Facebook post from when my niece was almost 6 years old: Alexis: “I turn 6 tomorrow tia (aunt)?”

Me: “Yep” Alexis: “I think these shoes (points at the shoes she’s wearing) are still gonna fit me when I’m 6.”

When my niece was in first grade, I would drive her to school when my college class schedule allowed me to. One day, as I was driving her to school, she tells me she signed me up to volunteer at her school spring fair. She told her teacher I didn’t have a job, so I would definitely be available to help out. I laughed and told her I did have a job actually.

“You do?” my niece asked in a really surprised voice.

I told her all those newspapers next to her, copies I kept in my car of the Arizona Daily Wildcat, the University of Arizona’s college paper, had my name on them because my job was writing articles for the newspaper. She then asked me if she could keep a lot of the copies. I said sure, and asked her why she wants so many of them.

“I want to ride my bike and throw them in front of people’s houses,” she said.

I found it amusing that at a time where newspaper delivery by bicycle is largely outdated, my niece somehow knew it was a thing and wanted to be a papergirl.

I usually played country music when I drove Alexis to school. She liked to tease me about it and asked why I listened to that kind of music. “You’re not a cowgirl,” she’d tell me.

Around the same time she would make fun of my taste in music, she was at my mom’s house on the computer and asked my brother to play country music for her. She told him “Shh, don’t tell my tia.”

When my brother told me, I asked her why she made fun of me for listening to country music if she likes it. Her response made perfect sense.

“I like listening to country at home but not in the car,” she said.

I’ve always believed children are smarter than adults think they are. They understand certain concepts, like unrealistic body expectations. I was both impressed and amused when my niece criticized a Halloween costume catalog: Looking at the offering, Alexis said, “They make adult costumes so sexy! Why do they do that? Some moms have big bellies you know costume guy? They don’t fit in them!”

All fashion advertisements should take her advice.

I wish I could be home more often to enjoy my niece and nephew’s shenanigans. I do get to see some of it while video chatting with them. Sometimes, I’m on the phone with my sister and she’ll start to yell at my nephew, and I get to laugh in the background as she’s telling him he should not have cut his own hair. Seconds later I get a picture message of my nephew smiling with a gap on his forehead where hair used to be.

My sister had a third baby, Giovanni, in November, and I can’t wait to see what funny things he will say or do as he grows up.

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