Help me write the text for my license to be an aunt
January 30, 2013 2:54 PM   Subscribe

I told my eight year-old niece that if she jumped in puddles and got her feet wet my license to be an aunt would be revoked. She now wants to see my license - I have explained that I keep it in my other wallet but that I will show it to her next week. Help!

I'd like to design and laminate a business card-sized license I can show her. I'm thinking of something along the lines of:

paduasoy is certified as qualified in the following auntly activities: excursion-planning, public-transport wrangling, homework-assisting, applying talcum powder, welly-fettling, adventuring, sticking things to other things ...

but I'm not coming up with good phrases - can you help? I also need a name for the society that licenses aunts, and possibly a slogan for them.

Thanks for your help.
posted by paduasoy to Writing & Language (37 answers total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
Do you wear glasses or contacts? Put a "corrective lenses" restriction on the back.
posted by ddbeck at 3:01 PM on January 30, 2013 [4 favorites]

Could you list 'organ donor' on it maybe? Too grim?
posted by wolfgirl at 3:05 PM on January 30, 2013

Something like...Swear to uphold the rules of Mommy and Daddy have written up to and including No jumping in puddles and getting little tootsies wet...
posted by Yellow at 3:10 PM on January 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

"International League of Aunthood"?
"Ministry of Aunt Licensing and Regulation"?

I love this idea.
posted by corey flood at 3:10 PM on January 30, 2013 [14 favorites]

Great idea. I can't think of any good phrases, but according to various online sources, both materteral and materterine mean "pertaining to, or in the manner of, an aunt". Maybe you could do something with anagrams of one of those for the name of the society?
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 3:12 PM on January 30, 2013 [3 favorites]

This is the most brilliant idea I've heard of since my mum realised she could deal with my nephews being really naughty by pretending to phone the police.

PG Wodehouse wrote a lot about aunts, and Lady Bracknell was another formidable fictional auntie. How about 'The Agathan Association of Auntly Activity'?
posted by mippy at 3:13 PM on January 30, 2013 [8 favorites]

Something like that last one would be great, and you could fake up a logo based on that of AAA, the American Automobile Association. They have a simple trio of red A's in an oval, orbited by a partial ring of blue. As long as you don't start handing out the cards, nobody will know that you've stolen their logo. As you are in the UK, as is I presume your 8 years-old non-driving non-American niece, she will not have seen it, and won't see it for a while yet.

When you sign the back, sign it as she addresses you, Aunt[ie] Paduasoy or whatnot.

Next time you're out driving, point out the local HQ as well.

Also, add a magnetic fake magstripe on the back if you need to fill space.
posted by Sunburnt at 3:25 PM on January 30, 2013

Do you guys do crafty things together? Can you be somehow endorsed by the Ministry of Glitter?
posted by ersatzkat at 3:25 PM on January 30, 2013 [13 favorites]

This card certifies that paduasoy is a licensed class B aunt with all of the privileges and obligations that entails, including but not limited to ...

You could also include a list of special certifications/endorsements on the back.
posted by ckape at 3:27 PM on January 30, 2013 [3 favorites]

Aunthood License
International Sisterhood of Aunts, Local 27
Expires: Never

Your Name
Phone Number

Wise Female

Eye Color:
Playful Blue (Or Funny Brown. Just include some fun adjectives with the color.)

Not worried about it

Standing Tall, Chin up

Several Fabulous Moons Ago

C-Licensed to operate Lunches, DVDs, Music and Ice Cream (or something special y'all do together)

Qualified to donate hugs, tickles and good times. (or something more personal)

Well, now that you have a card, don't you think she should get one too? Change the info above to fit her personality and awesomeness.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:27 PM on January 30, 2013 [12 favorites]

If you really want to go all out for this license idea, have a friend stop by (that your niece doesn't know). Your friend would be wearing a 'uniform' and they'll give you a 'ticket' that you need to talk yourself out of.
posted by Green With You at 3:28 PM on January 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Licensed by Authority of
the Ministry of Aunthood
to perform the following Acts
for Nieces and Nephews:
Fun Planning, Trip Undertaking, Bus Catching, Homework Helping,
Sweet Giving, Secret Keeping, Face Pulling, Game Playing

"More Fun than Mother"

Should this Card be lost please hand it in to your nearest Aunt Registration Office.
To report an Aunt acting in a way unpertaining to her Auntyness please ring 01584 549292 immediately.
Fraudulent Use of this Card by an unlicensed Individual is punishable by a Fine of up to £1,000.

posted by Jehan at 3:28 PM on January 30, 2013 [32 favorites] could also refer to your international status as Aunt, Tante, Tia, Thea, Doda, Amay, Zia, Bibi, any other language that has a word for Aunt. You could be licensed by some crufty old Latin-named thing - wiki says Aunt comes from "amita", which is father's sister.
posted by ersatzkat at 3:29 PM on January 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

I love Jehan's text, and I would like to also suggest that you include a very impressive and shiny badge, in one of those folders, like this. The badge will dazzle her immediately, then the text can sink in over time.
posted by looli at 3:32 PM on January 30, 2013

this is a great idea :-)
"sticking things to other things" could be "advanced mucilage deployment" if you want to go all fancy on the wording
posted by tuesdayschild at 3:34 PM on January 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

As the official "bad aunt" in my family, I might add a line to the effect of, "whereupon the niece/nephew reaches an appropriate age, the bearer of this card is responsible for the teaching of any and all swear words, curses, and unbearable puns."
posted by blurker at 3:58 PM on January 30, 2013 [4 favorites]

It would be a bit of work, but it would be fun to make it extremely long and in fine print. When you take it out of your wallet it flutters and unfolds out to three feet in length.

Possible padding:

"The bearer of this licence is obligated to protect the human rights of her niece/nephew."

Full text, UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Full text, Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (or your local equivalent)

It could be a teachable moment.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 4:38 PM on January 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

It may interest you to know that there actually is an organization for licensing aunts.
posted by feral_goldfish at 4:47 PM on January 30, 2013 [5 favorites]

More padding:

The Bearer of this License is fully qualified to:
Visit Zoos
Observe Puppet Shows
Play With Dolls
Tell Stories
Help Read Books
Build Sandcastles
Fix Barrettes
Tie Shoelaces and Re-adjust Velcro Fasteners
Assist in all Drawing, Coloring and Painting Endeavors

I think I need to get me one of these cards, too!
posted by easily confused at 5:22 PM on January 30, 2013

I wonder if the Aunts Licensing Board has different rules about auntly duties for different aged children? Yearly renewals. Keeping up standards.

You need either a list of forbidden activities or a rule that you'd be contravening with the puddle jumping...

You could make the licensing board look super-serious? eg:

"An Aunt must at all times uphold the presentability of her niece or nephew, making sure the hair is neatly combed, the shoes are on the right feet, and the young person's reputation remains spotless."
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:00 PM on January 30, 2013

An Aunt pledges always to return her niece or nephew in substantially usable condition, excepting normal wear and tear. A returned child should never be wet, excessively dirty, tattered, spindled or in more pieces than when the Aunt collected him or her.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:04 PM on January 30, 2013 [10 favorites]

Hmm, in case that last is darker than desired, other ways children should not be returned:

-more than 75% full of ice cream
-with an unexpected pet
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:15 PM on January 30, 2013 [8 favorites]

I recently convinced my niece that aunties had special cell phones that could call Santa. She asked if she could borrow my phone... But I told her we had a special code we put in. So maybe add a Santa ID Code?
posted by marylynn at 7:50 PM on January 30, 2013

Could there be a signature from the Auntie General, please?
posted by chapps at 8:57 PM on January 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Interesting idea. I think you should grant yourself the powers to override moms and dads. My mother, as grandmother to my kids used to break all our rules except the sleep schedule. She would give the kids milkshakes for breakfast, dessert first at dinner, etc, saying that it is a grandmother's privilege to make sure grandkids have fun, but once back at mom and dad's they had to obey the rules of the house.

So sorta like Superman:

Has ability to override rules in a single decision. Can ignore all common sense in an effort at fun and relaxation. Can declare martial auntie law at any time.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:33 PM on January 30, 2013

I would like to know what welly-fettling is as soon as possible, please.
posted by medusa at 10:01 PM on January 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

I think an organ donor sticker would be awesome, but it should be a sticker with a picture of a pipe organ. And you can explain that if you ever find or receive a pipe organ that you don't need, you have promised to donate it to a good home.
posted by pompelmo at 10:55 PM on January 30, 2013 [3 favorites]

Also, I like chapps' suggestion about the signature from the Auntie General. I think this clearly goes to Auntie Mame.
posted by pompelmo at 10:57 PM on January 30, 2013

As much as I love the creativity and fun in this idea, I have one caveat (speaking as a mom of a VERY literal and anxious child)...

just make sure your niece knows that you'll always be her aunt and this your license can't ever get revoked. And I would definitely never say the license could be revoked because she didn't do something you told her to do.

I'm sure you know your niece well enough to know that she knows you'll always be her auntie, but I also know that if my sister ever said that to one of my kids, my kid would be terrified to upset her aunt and lose her forever.
posted by kinetic at 4:02 AM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]

what a fantastic idea! If she behaves, you could also license her as a niece
posted by ouke at 4:09 AM on January 31, 2013

I love Jehan's idea, but you will, of course, have to have some things that are forbidden, if you want explicit cover for your puddle-jumping prohibition. At the very least, something like "licensed to perform the following acts (within the bounds of parental rules and basic hygeine maintenance):"

But really, want you want is some tall rubber boots, so that you can be the aunt who specifically takes her for puddle-jumping expeditions! We've been doing that with my daughter (in boots or water shoes ONLY) for years, and get many envious looks from kids being told to go around...

posted by acm at 7:54 AM on January 31, 2013

Absolutely, as still_wears_a_hat suggests, you should come up with a chance to use the word "materteral", either in the name of the licensing organization or in some part of the language describing the rights and responsibilites. It's less well known than its male version, "avuncular", but it's a great word.
posted by jackbishop at 9:47 AM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

All these suggestions look way too big to fit on a card, so you might want to make a certificate or a booklet with lots of detail, and have the card just be the membership notification.
posted by CathyG at 11:24 AM on January 31, 2013

Hmm, my driver's license, pistol permit, and state-issued engineering license are all pretty sparse documents in terms of what are allowed, so I'd be tempted to stick with a format like that. I'd put picture, name, address, and the name of the license on the front, and on the back have some legalese. I'd also list "endorsements - all" on the front, and on the back have a list of said endorsements, e.g.:

A - apple picking
B - water ballooning
C - chasing

You are a awesome auntie.
posted by disconnect at 12:29 PM on January 31, 2013

I say leave it blank except for the words: "I will always have gum."
posted by ND¢ at 1:02 PM on January 31, 2013

Fettling is a word which is used in several different senses. Most of the uses of the word relate to cleaning, polishing, and maintaining systems so that they will be functional or will remain functional. The word itself is derived from a root word referring to “condition,” as seen in the phrase “in fine fettle,” which is meant to convey that the person or object being described is in good condition, shape, or health. via

I would consider printing a little pamphlet/booklet, separate from the card, outlining the endorsements, regulation, frequency of re-certification, etc.
posted by kmennie at 1:04 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you for all these great ideas! I will try to put something together over the weekend and come back to you. I may also need actually to set up the AAA ...
posted by paduasoy at 11:41 PM on February 1, 2013

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