Most of you don’t know this, but lately I’ve been providing Monday through Friday child care for my two young nephews. J. is 5 years old and A is 1 ½ . The half, it appears, is super important when you’re only one. Anyway, thus far it’s been great, although it has had some impact on my blogging duties. Yesterday, when I was trying to write, I looked up and A. had clearly eaten something blue. I looked around and the only blue thing I could find that looked at all chewed on was the wing of a jet plane. It was then that I learned that blogging and babysitting are somewhat incompatible. So, instead of writing, I’ve been building forts, and pretending to be the bad guy in all our games. We went to Pluto on Tuesday (with a pit stop at Mars because the booster rocket fell off of our Lego space ship and we had to crawl under the couch to find it) and J. killed mean aliens (me) with a lava gun. Then he killed the good aliens, too, (they said “Meep, meep.”) because in a child’s mind it’s evidently a damned shame not to use a perfectly good lava gun.We also went to lunch.
Taking two children anywhere makes everything super complicated. We have to start leaving the house an hour before we actually need to depart in order to be at our destination on time. It takes that long to: wrap up games, find shoes, put on shoes, take off shoes, throw shoes at Auntie, put on shoes again, find the car seats, strap the amazingly complicated, pokey and finger pinching seats into the car, extract the baby from whatever he’s gotten into, clean up that mess, change a diaper, finally get the kids TO the car, try to keep one kid from getting squished while you get the other kid locked down, get the other kid strapped in while the first kid attempts to escape, re-strap in the first kid, close the door AGAIN for the second kid, listen to complaints about how hot the car is and how we need to listen to “Kids Rock” RIGHT NOW, put the car in gear, and go. So we started the process of trying to get to the McDonald’s at 10:30am. My brother had suggested that morning, wearing his most innocent face, that it would be a good idea to take the boys there because they had a Play Place that the kids love. I said, “Sure! Sounds fun!” I am dumb. Sooo dumb.
At 11:45 we rolled into the parking lot, and spent the requisite ten minutes getting everyone unloaded. I marched my little proxy brood into the restaurant, and stood in line, waiting to order the horrible fried-sugared-salt-fat (with TOY) that the boys so craved. We got our pseudo-food, and I hauled it to a table near the giant mutant hamster maze that McDonald’s so disingenuously calls a “Play Place,” while balancing A. on my hip. This is when I made newbie error #1: do not attempt to feed the children before allowing them to play. The other kids were running around, and screaming, while I was trying to cram 4 chicken nuggets a piece into my highly distracted nephews. J. had informed me several times that, “We PLAY first, then we eat,” but I didn’t listen. I told him he was correct about food/fun order, and he said, “It’s okay, Auntie, sometimes we can do it this way.” He’s a good egg.
They finally finished their meals to my satisfaction, (“FINE, just go”). Other families had their food neatly contained on their trays, whereas we had managed to spread mangled french fries, chicken nugget crusts, chocolate milk, and half eaten apple slices all the way down the very long, bar-like table we were eating at. I felt the need to clean it up, but immediately spotted that I needed to watch the kids on the massive hamster death trap. No other care provider was watching any of the 20 other kids playing – at least not from a position where they could, say, catch a kid if he/she fell. I figured this was okay, and that I’d just watch the boys. We played well for a little while. I had to force A. to frolic on the smaller section of Rodent Hell, which was still pretty big for him. He figured out how to go down the slide when J. helped him, and even attempted to take turns with other kids. This was UNTIL little red shirt kid showed up. The first thing little red shirt kid did was slap J. J. immediately told on him, and I said, “Hey, little red shirt kid, don’t hit!” shot him the mean Mom glare, and gave him the pointy index finger.
He turned his back on me. A few minutes later, there was a kid traffic jam in the green slide, and I looked in to try to figure out what was wrong, and caught the little red shirted bastard preparing to bite my nephew on the whang. I grabbed J. by the ankle, hauled him out of the slide and said, “Hey, red shirt kid, NO BITING.” He ran right past me, and got ready to go down the slide again. Then, a woman that I assume was his grandmother walked up and said to me: “Oh, that’s just Lukie. You tell him to stop and he’ll listen to you! He’s got some behavioral problems. Isn’t he adorable?” Lukie looked at me around the finger he had shoved two knuckles deep in his left nostril as if to say, “Heh, fuck you, lady” and then attempted to push A. down the stairs. I caught the baby, while Lukie’s grandmother tittered and said, “Oh Lukie, don’t play so rough.” I grabbed our kids and left. I felt like it was my only choice, as hanging Lukie upside down by his ankle and shaking him until he got some sense didn’t seem like a viable option. Neither did punching his overindulgent grandma.
Once we finally got into the car and got on our way, I heard a little voice in the back seat saying, “That was a MEAN kid, Auntie.”
“Yep, J. he sure was.”
“Let’s not play with him anymore.”
“But let’s go back to the Play Place.”
Damn it. So close.
Stay tuned for: the RCS’ brand new comic strip which will be about the adventures of a kid based on that little whang biter, Lukie. I’m tentatively calling it, “Hey, Your Kid’s A Dick.” Also, we have a new line of super amazing schwag coming out, featuring t-shirts that deal with childhood disappointments, like Hot Wheels racing tracks and the game Mousetrap.