Tales of a WhatsApp Auntie- The Voice in the Box

Can a child really understand who you are when you are just a voice in a box?



Since his birth, the only way Bradley has seen me or heard my voice is through a smart phone. Can a child really understand that the voice they hear belongs to their auntie... and that she loves them unconditionally?

Role Model Auntie

When I was a child, my mum's sister lived on the other side of Canada, she came to visit regularly, but she went home to her life between visits. My parents would bring me to the airport to watch the plane land, and when we took her back to the airport we'd watch the planes take off. My mum reminded me the other day that I was under the impression that she lived in the airplane, and flew in circles around the airport until it was time for another visit.

Bradley is too young to be making that association, but when I meet him will he recognise my voice? My brother and his wife are really good at making sure we have screen time. Every time I video call, Bradley gets a chance to talk to me, his dad puts the phone down in front of him - one day it was tummy time when I called, he was all smiles and giggles, and those eyes! A few minutes later, the acid reflux got the better of him and he spit up all over the phone.

It was like I was really there - except I didn't have any laundry to do and it wasn't my phone covered in baby spit up! Maybe there are some benefits to being a 7 hour flight away.

Taking inspiration

Looking back to being a child, my Aunty was an inspiration, and I can only hope that I will be as amazing aunt as she was. I suppose because I grew up with an Aunt who wasn't next door, and that I didn't see all the time, it doesn't seem completely foreign to be a WhatsApp Auntie. She was always at the other end of the phone, she sent cards for every special occasion, she always seemed to send gifts that felt like she knew us inside out, even if she only saw us once a year. I can only hope that I can be that Auntie for Bradley.

Gifts from a far

It's fun to send something (thank you amazon) through the post, and wait for the call to say it arrived... and then arrange a call so you can see the items in action. A few weeks ago I sent him those little bands that you put on their hands and feet so they can start to discover their limbs. It was a riot to watch him follow the little bugs as he waved his hands and feet. I'm looking forward to seeing those little fingers and toes soon.

Dinousaur auditions

As he grows older, he's making more and more noises. Last week he appeared to be possessed by a Pterodactyl. Looking forward to seeing how my little brother manages to get through that one!

The countdown to our first face to face visit is on.

Michelle Barr, WhatsApp Auntie

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