Adventures in Babysitting, cont…


Today begins my first day of being on my own with the kids since Joe is typically up and out by 5:30 for work.  If I thought I was up early that last few days, I was proven wrong today with the help of a four year old.  At 6:00 a.m. sharp, I wake to hear Brett downstairs calling for his mother.  I muster up the energy, roll out of bed and head downstairs (I have now moved from sleeping in the basement playroom to the guest room previously occupied by other house guests here for the birthday).  After a few minutes of explaining to Brett why his mother was gone for the week and that’s I’m here, he’s settled down.  Time to begin the morning routine which goes something like this… Get woken by Brett, explain where mom is, have him go to the bathroom and brush his teeth.  Wake Adam and have him do the same…bathroom and brush teeth, in that order.  Once that’s done, it’s back to their room to get dressed in clothes which have already been set aside for the week in order by day, once dressed they head downstairs.  I get dressed myself, grab the baby’s outfit for the day, scoop him up from the crib and head downstairs.  After a quick wet diaper change, Shane is dressed and off like a bullet.  I toss the kids their shoes; Adam puts his on, while Brett enjoys tying his laces in knots before putting them on.  I put the babies shoes on, untie the knots in Brett’s laces and then help him out.  I grab the bottle bag, wallet, keys and more importantly the kids.  Strap them in the truck and it’s off to Minnieland (day care). 


After roaming Minnieland, I finally find each of the kid’s room, first Brett, followed by Adam and lastly Shane.  I must have looked like a bit of amateur since many of the staff was giggling before finally pointing me in the right direction.  While driving back to the house, I marvel in my accomplishment, proud of myself that I not only got all three to day care, but I got them there on time and in one piece!  I took the rest of morning easy, picking up toys, showering and watching some television.  At about 11:30, I figured it was time to wake Erica.  Once the sleepy teen is showered and dressed, we head to Starbucks, the store and lunch before heading back to the house to kill a couple hours until its time to pick up the kids. 


Erica joins me for the afternoon pick-up.  We arrive at Minnieland and head to Brett’s room only to find a different group of kids.  Seeing the puzzled look on my face, the staff once again giggles and points me in the right direction.  Apparently the kids don’t always start and end the day in the same room.  After finally finding Brett, we head to the school age kids room to get Adam and of coarse he’s not there.  Here we go again, queue the giggles from the staff and follow the pointed finger.  Now with two kids and a teen, I head to Shane’s room surprised to actually find him in the same room I left him.  With three kids and a teen safely accounted for I give myself a pat on the back and we head home.


We arrive to find Joe home from work, the kid’s excitement to see their dad last all of 30 seconds before they head downstairs to see what mischief and trouble awaits them.  Because the boys are proficient at amusing themselves after day care, it leaves Joe and me to fix dinner and watch Shane, who remains gated in the family room.  After dinner and more play time the boys are once again prepped and put to bed.  After getting Shane to bed Joe, Erica and I head for our respective rooms and turn in for the night.


Stay tuned…even though the routine stays the same, these boys have more tricks up their sleeves. And just when I thought I had the day care thing down…I’m proven wrong!

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Adventures in Babysitting

It’s day three of my eight days here in Virginia, where I’m helping my brother (Joe) with his three boys (6, 4 &1) while his wife, my sister-in-law is away for work.  Things have been good so far, but don’t get me wrong.  I of coarse have a few tales to share, but nothing to extreme.  Have no fear, the week is still early, and these boys are just getting started.


I arrived on Friday; Susan (sis-in-law) picked me up at the airport.  After a quick trip to Costco to pick up some formula, wipes and diapers (you should have seen the size of the box, how much does the child poop?!) we arrived at the house to find three energetic boys and a not so thrilled teenage (14) girl.  Oh, did I forget to mention that my oldest brother is off to England for two weeks, so it was decided that I would have my niece Erica as well?  Good times are just waiting to be had (note the sarcasm).  After eating some pizza, playing with the boys and catching up with my brothers, it’s off to bed.



After waking and taking care of morning business, its time to join the rest of the early morning risers and by early morning risers, I mean the three boys who are up with the speed of lightning by 7:00 a.m. daily.  Today is Shane’s birthday (the one year old).  On the agenda…a cookout along with some type of water slide activity in the backyard, all weather permitting of course.  From the looks and sounds of it, the weather isn’t looking to good so we tune into channel 27 only to have the Weather Channel confirm our suspicion, thunderstorms throughout the day!  This bit of news concerns Joe and Susan as they franticly run about the house making it suitable for company and impervious to small children.  After this task is complete, we learn our first lesson…never listen to the Weather Channel, the clouds break and it’s a beautiful day!  Company arrives and the party ensues.  As the children are playing and frolicking about, the adults take to the deck and family room, light up the BBQ and crack open an ice cold beer…ahhh good times!


After consuming massive amounts of delicious barbeque fixins its time for birthday cake, the moment I’ve been waiting for.  Not because I love cake, for those of you that know me know I’m not much of a sweets eater.  Joe and Susan have started their own little tradition when Adam, the oldest turned one.  The kids, on their first birthday, get their own small cake, to enjoy and do with as they please.  Imagine, if you will, a one year old  in front of an Elmo cake with about 2 inches of red and blue frosting…need I say more? Although I must admit, Shane was a bit of a let down compared to Adam, who on his first birthday started using his fingers then his hands, before cutting to the chase and diving face first into the cake!  Shane did me proud though by covering both hands his entire face and shortly his head in red and blue frosting.  Why my brother and his wife ever started this tradition, I’ll never know!



Another early morning, take care of business, big breath and head upstairs for more fun. We go out for breakfast; something the kids are use to, enjoy doing and more importantly know to behave themselves, for the fear of what Dad would do if they don’t is far greater than any bad behavior is worth.  Following breakfast we enjoy some quiet time at the house as the boys wreak havoc in the playroom.  Joe decides to take advantage of the two additional built in babysitters and takes to the garage to do whatever it is men do in garages.  A few hours and a light lunch later we decide to take the kids to the pool.


After 30 minutes of preparation, most of which I spend trying to lather the older two in sun-block (those two are slippery when they aren’t covered in lotion) we’re finally headed to the pool.  After staking our claim on a few shaded lounge chairs, we’re in the pool splashing around having a good time when along comes Matthew.  Matthew, a seemingly good natured child, who I also assume to be an only child, is swimming around looking for some friends.  I encourage the boys to befriend Matthew and welcome him into their pool fun.  I’ll admit I have motive behind this, if the boys befriend another child or two, it’s that much less I need to amuse them, throw them around, play shark and all those things they require of fun Uncle Mike.  Oddly, the boys don’t care much for Matthew, and I soon find out why.  Seems Matthew likes to play this game called….”do you know my name?”  After several (20 or so) rounds of this game, Matthew asks one last time…”do you know my name?”  Having less patience at this point, while still reminding myself, he’s only a child; I reply “I’m assuming it’s the same as it was the last twenty times you asked”.  Apparently I was no longer playing by the rules and Matthew made it abundantly clear as he began screaming and splashing me.  That ended my very brief friendship with Matthew!


After a couple hours of fun in the sun, we decide to dry the boys off and head home with a sleeping Shane in tote. As we were leaving I found it amusing as I spotted Matthews mother and father arguing over who would watch Matthew, Dad felt that it was more important to learn about his new iphone, while mom insisted she needed to catch up on her neighborhood gossip.  I suddenly felt bad for Matthew and realized his behavior was not his fault.


We get back to the house, the boys return to destruction mode in the playroom and Shane amuses himself in the family room while Erica and I keep a watchful eye.  Joe again retreats to the garage, followed by a trip to the hardware store and returns with dinner.  After dinner, the kids are allowed some additional playtime, before being prepped and put to bed.  I soon follow suit and turn in myself, knowing that tomorrow I am on my own.


Stay tuned, one can only assume it gets better… ;-)

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Kindness Still Exists…

I don’t exactly consider myself a “mean” person, I also wouldn’t say that I’m a generally “kind” person either. I would like to think that I’m polite and when it comes to my friends and family I’m a good person.  But I certainly don’t seek out people in the hopes of sharing the “uniqueness” that is me and by no means am I a shinning star among humanity…but those people do exist and they are out there, even in today’s society…shocking, I know! I encountered such a person yesterday as I was shopping at my local grocery store. I had decided to run to the store to pick-up a few things which I needed. I didn’t need much, just a few staples. My goal was to get in and out quickly and not spend allot, like most people, I too am on a budget.

So off I go with mental notes in my head of what to get. I managed to achieve most of my goal by being quick, but I did spend a little more than I had wanted. As the cashier was ringing up my items and I’m trying desperately to avoid exchanging pleasantries or casual conversation, I’m asked politely by the older gentleman bagging my items if I had clipped the coupon from the paper. Startled by the fact that my obvious intent to avoid being friendly did not work, offer the gentleman a look of…”do I look like I clip coupons?” He then removes a paper ad from my shopping cart and begins to clip a coupon for $5.00 off, hands it to the cashier, offers me a smile and continues bagging my items. Shocked by this random act of kindness, I smile in return, thank him, and with bags in hand leave the store. As I walked to my car I thought how this man who doesn’t know me, had no idea I was concerned about how much I was spending and with one simple gesture, he offered some relief, even if only for a moment.

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Nothing is NOT an option!

I truly enjoy using the term nothing as a reply to almost anything that I’m asked…”what are you doing?…Nothing,  “What do you wanna do?”…Nothing,  “What are you thinking?”…Nothing.  You get the jist.  It’s not that my head is actually this empty (at least I hope not).  I just truly despise such a broad question and where it could lead.   Sharing is simply not something I do.  Anyway, I am sure your asking where this is going…I know I am! 

Several days from now I’ll celebrate my 33rd Birthday.  Birthday’s are not something I’m fond of or choose to celebrate, it is after all just another day, and the more I have the more I realize…I’m getting older and have not accomplished as much in my life as I would have liked.  Back to the point.  A couple of friends asked what I wanted to do for my Birthday.  I tried to avert the topic, but my friends would not have this.  I got several colorful choice words from one friend, which included throwing a surprise party (gasp) and something about cutting me with a knife.  Neither of these options sound ideal.   Once again they asked “what do you wanna do for your birthday?” I reply NOTHING. I then received the response Nothing is NOT an option!

I still have not planned anything, and I am hoping that by some miracle they will all forget…Not likely. For that I am thankful for such friends! :-)

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