My nephew left for sleepaway camp on Sunday for the first time.
I was an aunt for five years before I became a mom and am a firm believer that being an aunt is one of the greater roles that life has to offer. I had a regular babysitting gig with my nephew for a while and learned some tricks of the trade that helped me enormously when I had kids of my own. For example, placing an infant on his belly with the soft part against your shin bones is a great way to get rid of gas. Frozen peas are much tastier than cooked ones. Eating too many blueberries before a bumpy car trip is a recipe for disaster. Being able to quickly spot tiny images on street signs/restaurant signs and the like vaults you to rock star status. And for picky eaters (my nephew falls into that category) renaming certain foods makes them much more appealing.
It's easy to forget so many things about being a kid and about kids in general before you're a parent. But caring for someone without the responsibility of parenting him brings back the magic of discovery and optimism that propels us forward. And for that, I am incredibly grateful.
My nephew had been a cheese lover since the minute it touched his lips. He's not a lover of all cheeses but the cheese that he does love, he loves deeply. He still does at age 12. He also loved eggs but in general was the kind of kid who preferred each item to be separate on his plate. While watching him one afternoon, I decided to make something familiar and delicious, yet new. It's something that aunts can get away with much more easily than moms. I've learned this the hard way.
Enter: The Chegg.
It's a flat fried egg (yolk broken, but not scrambled evenly and fried in a pan) with melted cheese on top. Cheese Egg. ChEgg! It's the easiest thing - and terrific for breakfast, lunch or dinner. My nephew LOVED it. He loved the word Chegg (I presented it with much fanfare). And a decade ago, Chegg became an official word in my family.
It's something that my own family has manually added to our Food Library in LaLa Breakfast. By the way, the Chegg is not the same as the Chomelette. A Chomelette is a scrambled egg folded over (as a classic omelette is prepared) with cheese in the middle. I got lots of Cool Aunt points for making that distinction.
This morning, in honor of my nephew and to celebrate how very far he's come and how very proud I am to be his aunt, I made a Chegg.