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25 Things Only People Who Have A Niece Or Nephew Would Understand

25 Things Only People Who Have A Niece Or Nephew Would Understand

When your brother or sister has a kid, you’re flooded with nostalgia, overwhelmed with joy and see life in an expansive way you never knew before.

After the initial mind blowing sensation has settled in, the moments you share with these new little people are profound, powerful, beautiful and revitalizing.

Here are 25 things only someone who has a niece or nephew could understand.

1. How fun it is when they start to talk and you can joke around with them

While poop jokes are always a winner, starting to banter more and more with your nieces and nephews becomes an increasingly stimulating experience as they get older.

Not only are they some of the funniest people you’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing, the experience of witnessing their developing minds is so rewarding.

2. Finding out what their “favorites” are

Favorite ice cream flavor, favorite color, favorite animal: as whimsical as these decisions can be for a kid, getting to see them decide what they like and don’t like is fascinating.

3. Hearing them trying to pronounce your name

There are few things cuter than listening to a toddler trying to figure out how to make the sounds of your name with their newly wielded skill of speech.

The shortcut nickname they come up with is your favorite thing to be called from then on.

4. How hard it is not to laugh when they sass back

You’re trying to be a supportive grown-up, but it’s hard not to laugh when they quip back to a parent’s correction with a zinger you just couldn’t see coming.

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“No Billy, I’m not laughing at you, I’m laughing about a joke I heard earlier. Listen to your mom.”

5. How cool it is to wake them up to make an epic pancake breakfast

There’s nothing more fun than spending the night at your sibling’s place and waking the kids up early to help you make a pancake breakfast.

The excitement in their sleepy little faces and an ensuing battering of questions like, “Can we add sprinkles?” make for some lifetime memories.

6. How incredibly messy it is when you try to make an epic pancake breakfast with little kids

Wow. The idyllic vision of the pancake breakfast quickly becomes a flurry of flour vision, spilled milk and eggs with the fate of Humpty Dumpty on the kitchen floor.

So, so messy. But so, so worth it.

7. The look in their eyes when you read something magical to them for the first time

The Hobbit; The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe; Harry Potter: these are a few classics of our time that excite the imagination and instill a sense of wonder.

Seeing the possibilities well up in their eyes as you spend time reading and connecting with them is absolutely priceless.

8. The feeling when they fall asleep with their little arms slung around you

The connection you feel when one of these precious little people surrenders to sleep, feeling safe with you, is completely disarming.

When this happens you have no desire to move, to put them in bed or to do anything else but experience the moment.

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9. How funny it is when they use grown up phrases

From the likes of “Hey, Lady” or “How ya doin’ sweetheart?”, kids really do say the darndest things just when you don’t expect them to. And it’s the most adorable thing in the stinking world.

10. What it’s like to see their personalities blossom

Even from the first time you lay eyes on those new little creatures, their personalities can already shine through.

My first niece was a firecracker right from the start. She screamed until she was red all over when she was born. My second niece whimpered a little, but calmed right down once they got her bundled up like the little snuggle bunny she is.

To this day their personalities couldn’t be more divergent, and they complement each other beautifully.

11. How they help keep you grounded

There’s no reality check like the kind you receive from the astoundingly insightful five-year-old who can see through, not just your excuses, but all the trappings of the grown up world.

Sometimes kids are smarter than adults.

12. How they help you remember what it was like to be a kid

The simplicity, the fearlessness, the view from three feet above the ground, these are things that playing with your nieces and nephews brings you back to.

At their level,  you’re back in a place where you can really enjoy things as simple as the deep satisfaction that comes from building an adequate sandcastle.

13. How badly you want to protect them from anything that could ever hurt them

You begin to understand how and why your parents worried so much about you. Watching these little ones grow up stirs up the beginnings of parental protective impulses.

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If only there was a way to protect them from heartache, danger or any kind of pain. And you will do just that to the extent that you can.

14. How they make you glad to be an aunt or uncle, not a mom or dad just yet

Kids are awesome. They can also be absolutely awful. And when they are, It’s nice that it’s not your job to figure out the best disciplinary methods. Phew!

The hugeness of the responsibility settles in when you see people close to you raise kids. They need braces? Though your empathetic toward your siblings, you’re also secretly relieved that it’s not your job to figure out how to fund “Project Tammy’s Teeth” and other technical parenting stuff.

15. How they make having your own kids seem less intimidating

At the same time, the vague mysterious idea of “raising kids” is disassembled when you interact with your nieces and nephews. You come to realize that, kids are just people, imperfect interested and fascinating.

The pressure of raising kids “right” is lessened when you see your siblings struggle and triumph in a range of ways which comes out in the personalities of their kids.

16. How much better a hug feels when it comes from arms that can barely reach around you

Tiny, pure, and heartfelt. That’s the way it feels when you get a hug from one of the rambunctious little souls.

17. How fun it is to introduce them to things that interest them

When you’re the one who first sat them down to watch Star Wars, took them to a baseball game or helped them snap a picture on your SLR, you get to cultivate their individual interests.

It makes you feel every bit the cool aunt or uncle and like you’re a part of helping them develop a rich life full of passions.

18. How uninhibited they can be

Still learning social norms, it’s not uncommon for a kid to tell your romantic interest that you farted in the car earlier or to ask you why, by the way, you drive such a junky car?

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Unpredictable and uninhibited, your nieces and nephews say what’s on their minds. They’re not trying to people please, so their perspectives are incredibly refreshing, if jarring at times.

19. Getting to know their idiosyncrasies

Seeing the way they decide to categorize their matchbox collection and how ardent they are about not getting it “mixed up”, strikes you with admiration of the varieties of their little quirks and preferences.

20. How blind they are to your imperfections

It doesn’t matter how unenthusiastic you feel, how much you screwed up at work, or what suitor didn’t find you suitable, when you see your nieces and nephews, all that just fades away and you actually feel as cool as they see you. Their optimism is contagious.

21. How cool it is to see similarities and differences from your siblings in them

Like a variation in piece of music, your nieces and nephews are a blending of your sibling and their partner both in mannerisms and personalities. They’re also their very own entirely new force in the world.

It instills a sense of wonder for existence at its very core.

22. How weird it is to see them start to grow up

When the egg-shape-headed baby from the hospital drives your car for practice in a parking lot for the first time, it’s surreal.

When did they start using compete sentences, much less operating motor vehicles?

23. How heartbreaking it is to tell them you’re moving far away

This is the worst. Trying to explain to a little kid that you won’t be able to see them as much any more because the distance between you will be so much greater, is rebutted with comments like, “Well, come over anyway.”

It jump starts your mind to a time when things were just that simple, the world was expansive and solutions were always clear. Trying to explain miles will break your heart.

24. Coming home for the holidays to a houseful of munchkin voices calling your name out in unison

It’s one of the most welcoming things you can experience and fills your heart with love and a sense of family you never understood before. It’s also unbelievably cute and makes the holidays so much more special.

25. How real and limitless your bond is

No matter how much distance separates you or how much time passes, spending time with your nieces and nephews will always be one of the most precious and rewarding experiences in life. They’ll always be your little pals.

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Hannah Glenn

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Last Updated on September 16, 2020

3 Simple Signs of a Strong and Healthy Relationship

3 Simple Signs of a Strong and Healthy Relationship

In helping many people solve their relationship woes, I am often asked for the signs of a good relationship.

Well, what’s fascinating about relationships is the dynamics of two individuals coming together and staying together amid an array of perceptions and misperceptions.

Our relationships are not only influenced by our current actions but also by our past relationships and the life experiences that we bring forward into the current relationship. How we deal with misperceptions and misunderstandings determines the strength and health of our relationship and the level of happiness we are able to experience.

Much of the subconscious programming that takes place throughout our life causes us to sabotage our happiness by preventing us from engaging effectively, especially when we become emotionally triggered.

These mostly unconscious “scripts,” which we tend to run on autopilot, include our thoughts, words, and actions that result from these. Some may even refer to them as “baggage.” While we can rewrite these scripts and stop them from contaminating our relationships, we only become aware of them when we are in an emotionally empowered state.

So, what are the signs of a good relationship?

It boils down to these four essential requirements:

  • Emotional empowerment
  • Aligned attraction
  • Sexual functioning
  • You and your partner

While we can take it upon ourselves to develop as an individual, a strong and healthy relationship results from both personal growth and teamwork with our partner in order to resolve any problems.

Let’s take a look at how we can do this.

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1. Emotional Empowerment

A clear sign of a good relationship is that both partners stay focused on what they want to create and how they want to feel. It can be too easy to blame our partner when we’re not feeling good about ourselves or somewhat overwhelmed with the curveballs that life seems to throw at us continually.

You may have heard of the saying, “Making mountains out of molehills.” When we’re not in charge of our emotional state, that’s precisely what we do!

Someone also said, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.” Our words and the emotional power behind them are either being constructive or destructive in our relationships.

By trying to override your emotions and dredging up past situations, you may blow a current situation entirely out of context, keep retriggering yourself and your partner, and prevent essential issues from being resolved. Aside from that, it makes you feel disconnected.

As a reminder, allowing yourself to indulge in petty annoyances and sarcastic comments will likely drive a wedge between you and your partner. So, is that worth your attention?

When we focus on what we don’t want, we continually default to the old subconscious programming cultivated from our life experiences. These “scripts” can become self-destructive when expressed through negative rumination and self-talk or critical observations of our partner, rather than being the fun, uplifting, and naturally motivating partner that they fell in love with.

Many couples start competing against each other when they are emotionally triggered instead of supporting each other to create the best outcome. While we can quickly become obsessed with being right (or not being wrong), it’s essential to stay present, focus on how we want to feel, and align our words and actions toward that outcome.

Couples who enjoy a strong and healthy relationship consciously monitor their emotional states and can therefore influence the impact of their verbal and non-verbal communication in a positive manner. This offers a long-term benefit of enhancing their overall desire to be together and connect on more intimate levels.[1]

2. Attraction in Alignment

Known as the love and bonding hormone, oxytocin doesn’t just play an important role in intimacy. In truth, it’s also vital for increasing trust and attraction between two people. Synthesized in the human brain when you trust someone, the oxytocin molecule also motivates reciprocation.

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We’re living in an age where an individual’s independence is ruling the day, and the social codes of chivalry have become sadly redundant. However, it’s never a good time to become complacent in how we interact with each other and in respecting the environment we share.

According to Paul Zak, a neuroscientist and researcher at Claremont Graduate University, oxytocin is generated in the brain only after some concrete event or action, such as someone making way for you in the street.[2]

“When someone does something nice for you such as holding a door, your brain releases oxytocin, and it down-regulates the appropriate fear you have of interacting with strangers.” — Paul Zak

Suddenly, you feel like the person in front of you is not a threat. Then, according to Zak, this feeling disappears quickly for a good reason,

“If you just had high levels of oxytocin, you would be giving away resources to every stranger on the street. So, this is a quick on/off system.”

This has important implications for those in a relationship. Zak says:

“If you treat me well, in most cases my brain will synthesize oxytocin and this will motivate me to treat you well in return.”

In a relationship, our actions and behaviors are either attracting or repelling our partner. This is especially true when we have conflicting values. Common conflicting values include personal hygiene, health and fitness, and general tidiness.

It’s important to know and respect what’s important to our partner. After all, one of the real signs of a good relationship is having the desire to continually step up and live your “A” game.[3] When our partner takes the time to communicate something important to them, we need to acknowledge that it’s essential to keep a relationship long-term.

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While we like to think that our partner will be attracted to us no matter what, this is not realistic at all. “A” is for attraction, and we need to keep attracting our partner instead of being lazy and pretending we can get away with unappealing or inappropriate behaviors.

Any unresolved issue can build up resentment and undermine the quality of a relationship. However, the thought of approaching a challenging topic can increase stress and anxiety to the point where it is nearly impossible to clearly communicate the problem without it sounding like an accusation or blame.

Due to the fear of retriggering our partner by bringing up the same topic repeatedly, we often delay dealing with the issues that are of utmost importance to us. Over time, it can result in frustration, annoyance, and disconnection. We are sentient beings, so this type of emotional resistance can often be felt by the other person.

Furthermore, we usually communicate a part of a request out loud and then complete the reasoning behind it internally. Unfortunately, our partner doesn’t hear this internal monologue, so they have no idea about the extent or importance of our need. Therefore, many problems aren’t fully discussed, and the main issue remains unresolved.

“Prolonged stress and anxiety are like poison to oxytocin,” Paul Zak said. The underlying biological hypothesis is that stress — particularly the type that does not have a clear ending point — inhibits oxytocin release.

In a healthy relationship, both partners can retain the desire to step up and continue to attract each other through verbal and non-verbal communication. Try remembering the following:

  • Every person has their own preference for how things are done, so effective communication requires actively listening as well as clearly communicating your needs.
  • Before talking about an important matter, make sure you have your partner’s full attention. Then, try to keep your words focused in the here and now.
  • Instead of rehashing a similar experience from your past for context and risking triggering each other emotionally, get to the point and explain what you want at once. If you feel uncomfortable doing that, try starting a request with “I like it when…” or “It makes me feel…” You may also ask, “How can we work together to create a win-win situation?”
  • If something is important enough for your partner to mention out loud, then you must respect, consider, and adhere to it whenever possible. For example, if a partner is brave enough to open up about their need for sexual intimacy to feel more connected, it may be an issue that needs to be addressed in your relationship.

According to psychiatrist and Emory University professor Larry Young, increased intimacy can strengthen your connection as a couple, especially when you combine it with other rewarding experiences that get your brain’s reward system going.[4]

Verbally appreciate your partner’s effort in supporting your needs and make sure to retain your individuality and interests outside the relationship to keep your mutual attraction.

3. Sexual Function

Sex is the one thing that differentiates a strong, healthy relationship from a platonic friendship. Sexual intimacy is one of the most important signs of a good relationship and has often been described as the glue that holds a relationship together.

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Sexual intimacy allows two people who seek the ultimate connection with each other to come together. However, intimacy problems can lead to separation, loneliness, and disconnection — feelings that can eventually tear a relationship apart.

Unfulfilling sex leads to an increase in stress hormones which results in a lowered libido as sexual intimacy becomes a souce of discomfort on all levels. A common cause of a low libido is, for example, sexual function issues such as early ejaculation and erectile dysfunction challenges in men; and orgasmic dysfunction for women.[5] An unwanted sexual technique such as hard and fast or constant changes of position can also be off-putting.

While work stress, children rearing, and communication issues can all lower your libido and affect your overall desire for sex, a sexless marriage or relationship is not favorable for the vast majority of couples long-term.

One of the most important things for women in a relationship is to experience a sense of connection or feel loved and close to their partner. But this is where things can become tricky pretty quickly, considering women naturally have much higher levels of the bonding hormone oxytocin than men. For men, higher levels of oxytocin are generated through intimate connections.

What is the takeaway here, you may ask? Our hormones influence our behaviors, and oxytocin is said to be responsible for allowing us to experience love. In reality, studies have also shown that oxytocin can even work as the brain’s “moral molecule.” The more intimate moments we have, the more our bodies release the said hormone.

This is especially important for a male to feel more connected and attentive toward his partner. Research indicates that a man who is often sexually intimate with his beloved can produce increased levels of oxytocin.[6] In turn, it boosts his desire to hold and connect with his partner and stimulate positive social interaction.

A positive sign of a strong and healthy relationship is both partners’ desire to be intimate with each other. If either of the partners has little or no desire for initiating intimacy, then they need to address the issues mentioned in this article to restore intimacy in order to enjoy a truly fulfilling partnership.

Final Thoughts

The most important sign of being in a strong and healthy relationship is that you feel happy within yourself and in your connections.

While it’s not always possible to stay happy and connected with someone, ensuring that you are emotionally aligned with yourself and aware of your partner’s needs will go a long way to guarantee the health and longevity of your relationship.

After all, compelling narratives also cause oxytocin release and can affect your attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.

More on Maintaining a Healthy Relationship

Featured photo credit: Candice Picard via unsplash.com

Reference

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