It’s from five or so years ago. Cass and I had been seeing each other for more or less six months when she had to go out of town for work. I volunteered to watch the boys. She, without a whole lot of other options, tentatively accepted. I took notes every day and turned them into little reports that I sent her, the whole of which you can read collected below.
I think you can obviously see the beginnings of this blog in what I wrote, especially since it captures me getting used to being in charge of two kids. Other long running themes pop up, like video games, rambling conversations, T1’s obsession with girls and T2’s obsession with his junk. It’s amazing to me that T1 was pretty much the same age then that T2 is now. Cass and the boys lived in a condo right down the street from me, so we mostly stayed the night at their place but went to my house for food and games.
Anyway, I got a kick out of rereading this and hope you, gentle reader, will too.
The document, presented to a concerned mother from the guy babysitting her children:
Brief Notes During Your Absence or My Adventures as a Single Mom
Day One- The CIA of Poop
So we dropped you off at the airport on Sunday and then went back to my house. We were all pretty sad about you being gone for a week.
Okay, I was pretty sad about it. In truth, T1&T2 were jazzed that they were going to get to play Lego Pirates of the Caribbean some more. They are good kids, but not long term strategic thinkers yet.
After a suitable and yet responsible amount of gaming time, during which the boys learned the value of co-operation and piracy, we grabbed Buck and went back to the condo. A short while later, T2 runs out of the bathroom immediately disavows all knowledge of anything that happened in there. It was like he became the CIA of poop.
“The toilet is clogged,” he proclaimed. “I just walked in and there was already poop in there! It wasn’t me that did it, it must have been T1! Like, earlier. Before we took mommy to the airport. Also, I didn’t shoot JFK and had a really great handle on the whole Osama Bin Laden thing pre-9/11.”
Okay, I added those last two things, but you get the point. We…resolved…the issue.
Dinner was Hamburger Helper made with turkey. I don’t care what anyone says, Hamburger Helper is fucking awesome. Honestly, it was only my love of you and sense of responsibility towards the boys that kept me from getting stoned and eating it all myself. Buck paced around and ate anything either boy dropped. They had showers, we read Fox in Socks (With funny voices. Also, my Fox in Socks performance is goddamned epic.) and then went to bed. Buck took up four times more space than you normally do and was, in no way, shape or form, as good as a bed partner. Not even close. Sorry Buck.
Day Two- Time Rabbits
Everyone got up early and got ready very well. We had breakfast and gathered our school stuff. We ended up with ten minutes to spare. This was almost our undoing.
I -naively- thought, “Hot damn. I’m good at this. Ten minutes to spare!” and so told the boys they could do whatever they wanted for ten minutes. As it turns out, we didn’t have ten minutes to spare. I mean…there were ten minutes until we had to leave for school but as you well know, and I now do, those ten minutes are precious, precious units of time measurement that need to be pounced on. They are like time rabbits and when you see a time rabbit casually messing around in your back yard you have to run then down, throw them into the air and devour them whole. But…we didn’t do that. As a result, about two minutes after we should have left for school T1 is standing by the door bitching while T2 runs around the house barefooted with socks on his hands dancing like a robot. We made it to school on time but just barely.
It ended up being a beautiful day so at 3:45 I went to Hawthorn and picked up T2. The place was packed as apparently I timed it just when all the kids who aren’t in CEP were getting picked up. No matter, I drove all sneaky, got in, bonded with Miss Jordan (we are buddies) and got T2. He got an S and a straight across face, which he had tried to doctor into a smiley face, a forgery that he confessed before I noticed or asked. He may not have a career as a master criminal,
We picked up T1, who came equipped with a soccer ball and a football and went to Seneca Park.
“Let’s take the soccer ball,” said T2, showing his normal Republican Party/six year old level of regard for what other people might want, “I can’t catch a football.”
We played soccer (which, through some byzantine scoring system devised by T2, I apparently lost 10-3). We swung on the swings. They ran up the slides. Many a little kid almost got kicked in the head by T2, not his fault, he was swinging and they weren’t looking. We walked the entire length of the main part of the park. We checked out the high school cross country girls who were doing sprint work
“They must be high school girls,” said T1, “because…well…look at them.”
This was an line of reasoning the T2 and I could find no fault with.
We went on a hike, through the woods, across a bridge the spanned the expressway, around the golf course and back. T2 insisted that he and I run, as we “needed to get some exercise.” Upon running he declared, “We are having more fun than T1.” Because everything has to be a competition. I can’t imagine where this mindset comes from.
T2 got a blister. As we walked back to the car the police had pulled someone over and both the cop and the offender had stopped right behind us. T2 loudly speculated on what offenses the man might have committed. I shrugged at the guy getting a ticket by way of apology (he didn’t look like “a robber” to me) and hustled them into the car.
I cooked dinner (mac and cheese with hot dogs) while the boys did homework. T1 had math homework in which he had to multiply fractions in such a way that completely confused both of us. I have no idea what they are trying to get them to do and why he can’t just…you know…multiply the fucking fractions. He eventually figured it out. Maybe. He then went on to get his current event done early and work on his reading log. T2 wrote a five sentence essay on his favorite animal at the zoo, the bat. Just FYI they suck your blood, can fly and eat fruit and bugs. His drawing was, no shit, spectacular.
After dinner both guys took showers as they had been playing outside. We all sat on the couch, the boys playing their DS’s, me reading, and Buck sleeping on T1. T2 delighted in the fact that my underwear matched his pajamas. This made us look like twins, according to him. I did a load of laundry, since T2 had managed to get grass stains pretty much everywhere. T2 and I read a Curious George book before bedtime. T1 and I talked to you.
As I laid in bed and wished you were curled up next to me I reflected on how, before the last few days, I never realized how much time I have to just sit around.
Buck took up less space this time.
Day Three- Madam Curie, Julia Child and Me
Everything was fine until we started towards the door to head out to the car to go to school. Then T1, T2 and Buck all lost their minds at the same time. T2 just stopped walking, the pain of his blister (the “worst boo-boo ever”) being too much for him to stand. T1 started in on T2, which just made T2 worse. Buck said, “fuck this” and just headed off towards Trevillian, apparently ready for an adventure of her own. I scooped up T2, told Buck and T1 to get their asses in the car and we finally headed out.
After dropping T1 off and after listening to T2 complain about his boo-boo I decided action must be taken. We went to my house, where he pathetically limped up the front stairs, into the living room and onto the couch. Civil War amputees didn’t move with so much pain and drama. Thankfully, I had the cure for both cannonball injuries and little blisters. Pirate band-aids. Neosporin and the application of a pirate band-aid produced the most wondrous effect on the young master’s health. I felt like I had discovered penicillin as he hopped from the couch, declared himself all better and announced he would show is band-aid to everyone he saw that day.
On the way to school T2 was in full dropping knowledge mode. Pointing at the radio he said, “This is Christine Aguilera. I don’t like her. She sings like a baby.” He then proceeded to do a very passable Aguilera impression that I had to admit did sound a lot like a baby wailing.
Later that afternoon, when I picked T2 up from school my new friend Miss Jordan made me happy by saying, “T2 did all his homework already. Lately he has been really, really good about doing it, almost eager.”
T1 had boy scouts so I made green beans and roasted a chicken and glazed it with a honey, teriyaki and butter mixture. I was pleased with the results but not as pleased as the boys. T2 had three helpings. T1 ate a piece of skin and declared “The skin…the skin is just so good.” The chicken ended up looking like it had been lowered into a piranha tank, which was gratifying.
We all took T1 to scouts. T2 broke me up when he sadly and solemnly intoned, “When T1 goes to boy scouts I am the loneliest kid.” We remedied that by going to get frozen yogurt (where he put on an impromptu dance recital to the delight of the workers and the teenagers on dates. I was concerned, a bit, because while I poured (or whatever the correct verb is) the yogurt for him, I turned away for about six seconds. In those six seconds he had managed to plle more or less everything there on the top of his dessert. Afterwards we went to my house to play Pirates of the Caribbean. He talked pretty much non-stop.
T2 is actually a font of knowledge. Below are some of the things he schooled poor, dumb me on today:
- If you change the “I” in the word “six” to an “e” and add a “y” at the end, you get the word “sexy.”
- His father had a meeting with the President where the President decided that you can’t start a car until all the kids have their seatbelts on.
- His father is a police officer who works at a college.
- His father doesn’t care what kind of grades he and T1 get.
- His father once won $10,000 on America’s Funniest Home Videos, for a video where he put Jack in a box and then dropped the box off a roof onto a trampoline.
- Jack is, of course, the king dog. He wears a crown and can tell other dogs what to do because he speaks the dog language. The dog language sounds like Spanish because Jack is a Spanish dog (so, logically, he has a Spanish accent). From Japan. By the Great Wall of China.
T2, Buck and I went to pick up T1 from scouts. It was raining, so we got there early and sat in the car. They both sat in the back seat. Neither of them smelled particularly good.
Back home. T1 got cleaned up and read. T2 and I read a book about Transformers and he realized, I think for the first time, that I was spending the night.
Day Four-I may be growing a second stomach specifically for the digestion of grass
Morning brought a long conversation with T2 about three of his five favorite subjects. His balls and pee-pee. Honestly, I think if he could get a beyblade in the shape of his balls that was called “Jack the King Dog” he would be the happiest person on earth. This morning his pee-pee was giving him trouble.
“It keeps going up,” he said, his hands down the front of his pants and an irritated look on his face,” I want it to go down.”
“Welcome to the world, kid,” I replied.
We all sat at the table and had breakfast. T1 opined that in gym class he had been kicking butt in badminton but he was concerned because he had previously been playing solo against teams because his partner was sick. He was pretty sure that when his partner showed back up he would lose because his partner was horrible. T2 asked me if I remembered watching Mamma Mia.
“Yeah,” I said. “That was just last week. Pretty good, huh?”
“Noooo!” he said. “Kissing!”
I cleaned the house during the day and left T1 a list of chores to do before Ms. Karen got there that night. Miraculously, he did them, and not in his usual half-assed way. I didn’t get home until 8:30 or so. T2 was in bed, having just finished a story. I rubbed his back and talked to him while he dozed off, which is ridiculously therapeutic. They should have Alzheimer’s patients do it.
T1 reported that his badminton partner had come back and that his partner was as terrible as he suspected.
I’ve had more milk in the last four days than in the last four years