How To Be A ‘Cool Aunt’ Just To Get Revenge On Your Sibling
One of the most glorious moments you will ever experience as an aunt or uncle is the moment when you are first handed your newborn niece or nephew. In their tiny little faces, you can pick out the features you recognize of your beloved sibling: the little mushroom nose, the smattering of curls. It’s okay to cry. It really is. Because you’re holding the weapon you’ve been waiting for your entire life. You’ve been granted the powers of the Cool Aunt, and your mighty day of revenge is at hand.
The Cool Aunt is someone parents fear in their darkest moments. She is someone who walks by night and eats candy mid-morning. The Cool Aunt can, with a simple pair of tickets to the behind-the-scenes tour at the zoo, undermine months of careful parental training to not pet kitties we don’t know. So, that 14-page list of sins your older sibling has perpetrated against you since your birth? Keep it handy, because you’re about to be avenged.
Step One: Direct Comparison
Like bonding with a wolf, the key to becoming a Cool Aunt is to first gain your niece or nephew’s trust. You can accomplish this by simply not being their parent. Are you wearing pants? Yes? Does your hair contain mushed carrot? No? Congratulations, you have already proven to the non-discerning baby that you have your shit together way more than either of their parents. The strong survival instinct most babies possess pulls them toward any adult who can properly button a shirt, and for now, you’ve got that market cornered.
Step Two: Common Ground
Of course, you may look at your young niece or nephew and think “What would I have in common with this toddler?” Well, unless you’re weirdly into Dora The Explorer, chances are you only share one thing, but it’s more than enough: an irrational, seething resentment toward your older sibling/their parent. For you, it’s probably all those times you were forced to jump over the fence while your older sibling insisted you were her pony and smacked you when you fell down. For the baby, it’s your sibling’s frankly irrational insistence that applesauce doesn’t go into the wall socket. You now have a strong, emotional point of connection.
Step Three: Indoctrination
The best way to make yourself known as a Cool Aunt is with some babysitting hours. This is a valuable but risky option. Yes, babysitting is perfect for getting them indelibly hooked on listening to old Raffi albums over and over and over (make sure you give them a playlist to take home), it also raises the chances that you’ll have to stop them from doing something annoying or dangerous. When the little munchkin crawls up on the kitchen counters or tries to eat bleach, the most important thing to do is not yell. Yelling is for parents. Instead, lure them away from danger with cake.
Does this work 100% of the time? Yes. Is it something a parent would never try? Also yes. Is it something the baby will scream and cry about the next time your sibling doesn’t do it? Yes, ma’am. Congratulations on drawing first blood in the Cool Aunt war.
Step Four: Iconicism
As your darling niece and nephew grows and begins school, they’re going to quickly realize that a) being cool is truly the only thing people value, and b) their mom is Not Cool. This is an epiphany you’ve been waiting over 30 years for someone else to have, so even just that is great.
However, as they get older, you’re going to have to work even harder to be cool. Luckily, you’re probably already pretty cool to a dumb tween. Cool is always buying the big present. It’s owning leather boots. It’s posting pics from your trip to Greece on your Insta, bringing back earrings that the niece or nephew can’t wear because their ears aren’t pierced, and then promising to save them for the kid “until your mom lets up.”
Step Five: Revenge
Your niece or nephew becoming a teenager means your work is largely done. Having carefully crafted a child who realizes, as you always have, exactly how much of a loser your older sibling is will reap its own rewards. Sit back, sip your whiskey (so much cooler than your sibling’s nightly bottle of Merlot), and watch the screaming about curfews, cliques, and prom nights begin. If you’ve played your cards right, you may even be there to hear the final blow to the sibling who has worked themselves to the bone for a decade and a half to raise this child: “I WISH AUNT JESSICA WAS MY MOM.”
Ahh, sweet music.