Because my swimming skills rival those of Michael Phelps, I will use a swimming analogy: for the past four days, I have been treading water.
Since last winter I have had it on my calendar. Watch Court’s kids for four days while he and Alyx are in San Diego at her friend’s wedding. For months, I would swallow the foreboding feeling that arose as I anticipated the event. As the date neared, I fought heart palpitations and nausea. Two-year-olds are scawwy.
Don’t get me wrong; you KNOW I love my grands. And I spend as much time as I can with them, and gladly so. But at the end of a busy day, they go back – filled full of sugar and content with a life with few boundaries – to their parents, who then have to deal with the after effects. It’s our revenge for the nights we laid awake listening for their car and all of the bad report cards.
But this time there would be no handing over of children, at least not for a number of days. Bill and I would be IT. Those three children would be our charges for FOUR SOLID DAYS.
We lived, and so did they, but I’m not too proud to say that I am very tired.
It’s rather a blur, I will admit. I had thought we would be doing all sorts of activities and taking field trips that would rival those of a Montessori school. I envisioned healthy snacks and cooking adventures. What I got was four days of keeping them alive, reasonably well-fed, a not-completely-horrifying bedtime hour, lots and lots and lots of laughter, and a few tears.
In the midst of all of the unanticipated chaos, I vaguely recall making several trips to Panda Express for orange chicken and McDonald’s for hotcakes (both for the same meal). At some point Cole fell off one of the kitchen chairs, hitting the back of his head on the ceramic tile below. I immediately began reaching into the depths of my brain to recall Court’s health insurance information. By the time I picked him up to comfort him, however, the tears had nearly stopped. He, my friends, is the toughest kid known to man. Probably comes from being the littlest in the family. He didn’t even have a bump.
Speaking of Cole, by Sunday afternoon, he was calling me Mommy. I guess he figured he could have done worse. Jen came Sunday for the day and spent the night. When I became Mommy she was promoted to Nana. Pecking order in the mind of a 2-year-old.
Bill, who like me, appreciates the predictable order of his days, showed great patience and restraint. He spent quite a bit of time in his office with the door closed. And he hardly grimaced at all when I told him Saturday night that the toilet was backing up. Kaiya and Mylee were a big help as they ran around holding their noses and squealing in horror. Too much toilet paper and it was fairly easily fixed. Says the woman who didn’t have to touch the plunger. I had a talk with the girls about just how much toilet paper is actually necessary in this first world country.
At various points of the past few days, the cousins stopped by as well. And this was much to Kaiya’s and Mylee’s delight. Cole finds the attention offputting. I’m just a normal boy, he seems to be saying to Dagny and Addie, both who want to smother him with love. Addie, sensing the kids needed something interesting to keep them busy (perhaps seeing the fear in my eyes), at one point set up a little outdoor classroom in which she demonstrated making a volcano using some of my kitchen supplies. I recall corn starch, vinegar and water leaving my pantry. The kids loved it…..
They also loved making slime. A simple activity involving nothing more than Elmer’s glue, Borax, food coloring, and water…..
Then there was the fashion show, featuring an enthusiastic Kaiya, Dagny, and Maggie Faith, and a less-than-enthusiastic Mylee, donning various scarves and other paraphernalia they gathered from my dress-up box. At some point, one of them happened upon my make-up bag and let me just tell you there was lipstick involved. And lots and lots of fragrance. Much fragrance. Fragrance that at some point becomes not fragrant.
But Monday night, I tucked Kaiya and Mylee and Cole into their own beds in their own bedrooms in their own house, kissed them goodnight and reminded them that when they woke up the next morning, Mommy and Daddy would be there.
I would do it again, my friends. Just let me catch up on my sleep and get the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme song out of my head. Oh, and finish cleaning up the slime that I still find in unexpected corners.