Sis called me early afternoon on Friday to say that the internet was down in the entire city so she was leaving early.  I’ve heard of a lot of excuses for leaving work, but that one was a first.  Now, instead of 7:30, sis and niece, E!, would arrive at 4:40.  Which gave me an opportunity to be harassed by my boss for leave early. 

E! was all smiles and brown sugar the way home.  By the time we got there, the clouds had broken up and it had stopped raining for the first time in, I don’t know, A MONTH.  So we took advantage of a breezy evening (and by this, I mean, 85 with humidity around the same) and went to the best Tex-Mex place in town, Lupe Tortillas.  This place is VERY family friendly, rigged up with a sand pit and toys for the multitudes of children to play in. 
We sat outside and enjoyed some yummy margaritas fajitas before going back home and doing the bottle, diaper, bath, bed routine.  It didn’t take long to realize that counter space is quickly taken up by bottles.  But not to show favoritism, I labeled the spaces for both E! and J. 

The next morning, J went to work early.  Sis and I were up around 7 and E! slept until 8 or so.  After a bottle and some play time, we went for a walk at the park.  It was SO humid!  But E! seemed to enjoy it.  We hung around the house most of the rest of the day before getting ready for dinner at the best steakhouse in town, Pappa’s Bros. Steakhouse.  E! did very well most of the time we were there.  On the two occasions she started to give us a warning of impending fussiness, I got up and walked around with her.  We went to the front of the restaurant and looked at the lobster tank, but E! was more interested in the Astros game on the TV.  The manager and maitre d’ came up to me at one point, and I thought they were going to ask me to return to my seat or something (this isn’t a place you see a lot of infants), but instead they complimented me on how cute she was.  “Thank you.”  “Four months.”  “I know!, She IS tiny!” “Yes, she is beautiful, thank you.”  All eyes on me and E!  And as much as I wanted to bask it the complimentaries, I finally admitted, “Well, I’m the aunt.  This is my sister’s baby.” 
Monkey Toes

E! was happy just in time for the meal, and the binkie carried her through.  So after steak and lobster, we rolled ourselves to The Chocolate Bar for a piece of Aunt Etta’s 4 layer chocolate cake, to go.  Had to get back home for the bedtime routine. 
Night Bottle

After A Bath

Sunday, E! slept in until 10a.  She definitely got the sleep genes, but we’re not sure from which side.  Both her daddy, and our brother, E!’s uncle, can sleep indefinitely, given the chance.  We talked and played until it was time to leave for the airport.  J had bought some really cute clothes for E! so we washed them so she could wear one of the outfits home. 
New Outfit

We decided that I would help sis up until the security point, so J drove around the airport.  Sis and E! and I stood in line for her boarding pass.  Apparently, some airlines have preferred check-in for infants, but on Southwest Airlines, everyone is a cow, big or little.  We barely got through that line before a kid a little ahead of us started screaming.  Like the Wave at a baseball game, this got other kids crying.  Including E!  She also wanted a bottle, for which we were now 20 minutes late.  So before proceeding to the security line, we tried a bottle.  In true diva fashion, just like her momma, E! would NOT have her bottle because it was NOT WARM.  But damnit, she wanted her bottle.  So we scrambled to the bathroom, a sea of people parting before us to avoid their eardrums bursting, and warmed the bottle under a hot water faucet.  Success!

Sis went ahead with the stroller to get in the queue, while I slowly walked in her direction, still feeding E!  One of the TSA agents was kind enough to let me slip through in line instead of having to wind back and forth through seatbelt materialed amusement park lines.  When we got to the x-ray machine, sis shrank the stroller and upended the carseat for screening.  At this point, a young I-really-wanted-to-be-a-cop tells me I should not have been allowed in the line at all without a boarding pass.  I said I wasn’t flying, I was just helping with the baby until we got to this point and then I was leaving.  I decided to chat up the wannabe long enough to make sure sis and E! were reassembled and walking to the gate, and when they were, I headed in the direction from which I came. 

Upon reaching the TSA agent who had let me in, she says “That was a beautiful baby!”  “Thank you,” I say, expecting after a few more accolades I’d fess up to being the aunt like I did at Pappa’s.  Because I’m honest that way.  “That was real nice of you to help her with the baby.”  “Yeah,” I say, “this was their first trip on a plane.”  “That’s real sweet,” she says.  And just as I was basking in all the glory, floating up and up and up, I came crashing down to earth when she asked…

“Was that your grandbaby?”