Thursday, October 22, 2015


A couple of weeks ago, my brother so graciously agreed to watch the children while my wife ran errands and went to a meeting.  I asked if he would write about it and he came through in spades.  Enjoy.

My soul was dying one piece at a time when I got the call.  Could BadTwinUncle ditch cubeland in favor of watching his three nephews on Friday?  You're damn right he could!  I happen to own the most stubborn dog in the world who is now almost 16 and has a ton of issues.  How hard can three little boys be after that?
I arrived five minutes ahead of schedule and the dynamic duo were fast asleep, allegedly for the next few hours. BadTwinMom faded away like one of the baseball players in Field of Dreams and it was on.  Around that time, Jack informed me he had to tell me a secret. I swallowed hard, thinking it involved feces in some way.  He informed me the bat he'd made out of construction paper was named Madeline and I breathed a sigh of relief.
The next hour and fifteen minutes were a blur of building bridges and towers with wooden blocks, playing with Play Doh, and trying to play board games with half the pieces missing.  Things were going so smoothly I just knew we were heading for the "I just shot Marvin in the face" portion of the day.  Sure enough, one of the twins started crying.
After a few minutes, I went inside to quiet down the screamer. Both twins were awake and staring at me, perplexed. Jack handed Henry his pacifier, which had fallen on the floor and triggered the ruckus.  I slowly back out of the room and closed the door. Then both twins started crying.
I texted BadTwinDad. "Both are awake. Please advise."
"Get them out of there!" he responded.
I hoisted the little bruisers out of their cribs.  After checking to see if either of them left me any surprises, I turned them loose. They toddled around, still blessedly half asleep, looking like tiny drunks staggering around.  It was at this point when Jack informed me that he wished to build a rocket.  He intended on using two sheets of paper and a marker for this purpose.
"It needs buttons," he said.
I hastily drew two rows of buttons.
"I can't press those," Jack said.
My brow furrowed.  It was going to be a long afternoon.  I colored in the buttons and Jack was satisified.
"Now it needs a door," he said.
I drew a rectangular door beneath the two rows of buttons, complete with knob.  It wasn't authentic but Jack wasn't going for authenticity.
"It's locked," Jack said
I sighed and drew a key in the lock. Jack set the piece of paper on the floor and proceeded to do several countdowns before shouting blastoff. Then he got up and told me we were playing restaurant. The twins were getting more active, so I kept one eye on them and one on Jack's diner in the corner of the living room, which apparently resembled a pile of toys.
As Jack took my order, Henry and Oliver climbed the piano as if it were Mount Everest. I scooped them up and placed them on the floor, where they began running in big circles through the house. Damn you, open floorplan!
I coralled them under the kitchen table, where they proceeded to play peekaboo with me, their adorableness momentarily distracting me long enough for a plastic whistle to bounce off my forehead.
"That's your Happy Meal toy," Jack said.
I sighed and continued the peekaboo game until Oliver found the whistle. For a few minutes, his routine consisted of tooting on the whistle and giggling like a serial killer. Somewhere around this time, Jack informed me he wanted to watch Youtube videos and needed the bitty remote. I eventually deduced that he needed the remote for the Amazon Fire Stick and found it on top of the bookcase. I handed it to him and returned my gaze to the twins. They seemed fine, each with two pacifiers in his mouth, watching me in amusement.
Henry took out his pacificer and played his favorite game: picking things up and asking "What's this?"
After four or five items, I was growing tired of the game. Henry called me Mommy a couple times and I felt my Spider Sense tingling.
I turned around to see Jack about to buy some Amazon coins or somesuch. I eventually figured out how to work the remote and got Jack settled in with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. The three boys were enraptured.  Jack sang the theme song, Henry mumbled the song around his pacifier, and all three of them bobbed around. The identical savages clapped every time the audience clapped. Things were looking good.
"I'm so hot in these pants," Jack said.
"Keep them on," I said.
"Ok. Can I have some circle crackers?"
"Sure," I said.
I scoured the pantry and, now fluent in Jack-anese, found a box of round crackers. I counted out eight and handed them to him.
"I need some water in a circle cup. With ice."
I handed Jack the cup of ice water and took a look at my nephews.  They were all content suckling at the TV's glorious teat so I had a few precious seconds to myself.  I decided to draw Jack a picture of Batman.  I'd barely finished the basic lines of the face when I heard a clatter and saw ice and ice water all over the floor. Had he even had the cup in his hands for a full minute?
Once I settled Jack down and remedied the ice water catastrophe, Oliver decided to train for his future career as a mountain climber and Henry decided he really wanted to open and close the refridgerator door many times in rapid succession. I found the fridge lock, an ingenious U-shaped piece of metal and grabbed Oliver off the kitchen table.  It was at this point Jack felt the need to reiterate his dislike of pants.
"I hate wearing pants!" he said.
"We all do," I said.
Jack wriggled out of his pants like a snake shedding its skin and I said to hell with it and let him go.
"My tummy is so empty," he said. "I want some lunch."
"It's after 3. You'll get dinner soon."
Jack said "No" and I briefly wondered how much heat I would catch if my brother only had two kids when he returned. Life on the run seemed like a lot of work so I stayed my hand.
"Sit down and watch Muffin McStuffin or whatever that crap is. Your mom will be home soon."
God, I hoped so.  I imagined her drinking martini's with her co-workers. "My brother-in-law is such a sucker. We should have martini Fridays more often."
Other than the nephew in the grips of crabby starvation, things settled down. Oliver sat next to me on the couch and Henry lay on the floor, using Daniel the Tiger for a pillow. My mind drifted until I heard a car door!  Salvation!
Nope!  It was only the mailman.
Fortunately, BadTwinMom pulled into the driveway not long after and received a warm welcome from the boys.  I waited around for BadTwinDad to get home, punched him in the junk, and rode off into the sunset.

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