This week I spent 58.5 hours with BIL 1 and Twin Nephs. Sister 1 had surgery on Monday and then went to our parents’ house to recover a little before re-entering the world of four-year-old boys, and since my days off are during the week, I was glad things worked out so that I could help on the days BIL 1 had to be in the office. Fortunately, he doesn’t own a gun, because he says he’s pretty sure he would have shot me when I let myself into the house around 12:45am after driving straight from work. He knew I was coming, and I always let myself in, but he leapt out of bed with his eyes still half-shut, yelling something that must have meant “hello?!” and then staggering head-first into the hallway in the dark. He might have tackled me if I hadn’t figured out a quiet way to say “It’s me!” while just steps from Twin Nephs’ bedroom.
BIL 1 is kind of hilarious when he’s half-asleep.
This gig meant getting up wayyyy earlier than my childless, long-commuting, night-working self usually gets up. But that’s part of the deal, and I accept it willingly. I mean, when the boys were infants, I got up and fed them in the middle of the night during frequent visits, which, while terrible for brain circuitry, was great for bonding. But when a four-year-old comes into your room sometime a few seconds after official dawn and says he has to talk to you and it’s vewwy important, you’re pretty much never going to sleep again. Invariably, what he has to talk to you about are things like socks, and going potty, and the babysitter, and the differences between the ceiling fan in this room and the one in his room, and what color the dog is, and how his brother poked him in the eye “the last day” (aka yesterday).
He will grab your face and force you to listen intently while he speaks of these things. And that’s cute and all, and I do cherish these moments because some day these darling boys will be 13-year-old punks who will barely speak to anyone, and I need them to love me so they’ll take care of me, but… Auntie is tired. This faux-mother-and-homeowner thing is pretty exhausting. I’ve always given parents props for doing the job. I am actually very patient with kids, but while I was sitting in a rocking chair in Twin Nephs’ bedroom at something like 10:20pm one night trying to get them to actually go to sleep after spending the day cooking, cleaning and doing laundry, I remembered that I would in all likelihood become the crazy, bedraggled, snippy creature I often see dragging ass around a store with toddlers in tow if I had kids.
On Thursday evening, BIL 1 and I stood in the driveway and talked with a neighbor while her daughter played with Twin Nephs, drawing with sidewalk chalk and riding tricycles. Neph 2 managed to ride his directly into a shrub three townhouses down and get stuck. All I could see were his little feet on the little pedals, and the back wheels. He kept ringing the bell on the handlebars. Here I’d thought those bells were to warn others that they were about to be mowed down. But no; apparently, it’s a cute little distress signal. He kept ringing it and calling in a little speech-impeded voice, “Help! I ththtuck!” from somewhere in the depths of branches. After the rescue (and a protracted clean-up effort), we had dinner. And after that, we walked to get dessert at the ice cream shop.
It was all very suburban yuppie. In a sweet way.
Yesterday I was awakened at 6:46am by Neph 1, informing me of Somet’ing Vewwy Important and then climbing into my bed to not-sleep
with on me while complaining that I was too warm. Every minute brought a new declaration of the time according to the digital clock on the bedside table. Something like seventeen hours later (which was somehow the same morning), after a brief fit about not wanting to go to a little boy’s birthday party, Twin Nephs climbed into the car with Daddy and off they went. I finished some laundry, packed up and took the long road trip to work. Getting home at midnight, I climbed into bed and was out within minutes. Sister 1 is back home now, hopefully not getting pounced on. She’s minus a couple of organs and up a fresh supply of Percocet. It could go either way. I have a feeling that Percocet is going to be vewwy important.