This sets the scene:
There are two kids who are two and five years old, two young very energetic cats and one fish. I am at my daughter’s house at the coast, in Lotus Land where the climate is perfect and the sun shines smartly and the fog drifts from the sea over God’s Lucky Sun Tanned People.
I am baby-sitting for fifteen days while my daughter Summer and her husband are in Australia.
DAY 1, Wednesday:
Lexi who is five, screams and screams and clutches her mother as she and her dad are leaving to catch the plane.
“No matter what happens!” she chokes out, “no matter what happens, I will always, always love you. No matter what happens!”
Summer and I exchange looks over Lexi’s head. Summer has had anxieties about the long trip and the long time away from her kids. She has mentioned that two year old Loch has told her over and over how much he loves her, which he has never done before.
I have told her to take a Xanax and relax but she hasn’t and is leaving ‘cold turkey.’
The back yard is torn up and has been for months. Summer has told the handsome, young contractor who formally worked for my sister Candy, that he must have everything completed and set back to rights by Friday “as my mother is an older grandmother and she has anxieties. If you doubt that, just ask her sister.” !
When I strenuously object to this verbal picture of me, she says, “Oh Mom, I just want to make sure that he cleans up everything like he said he would.”
Later, Lexi sleeps with me in the big bed and the two new cats race over us all night, only pausing to bite our toes and grab out legs with their claws.
DAY 2, Thursday:
Loch has had diarrhea ‘like water’ for a number of days and thank heaven, it finally slows. Both kids eat all day long like wild horses.
Summer arrives in Australia and emails, “We’re having a wonderful, relaxing time. I should have used that Xanax you gave me when I really needed it.”
Aside from the cats keeping us up much of the night, Lexi is still demanding that I wear pajamas and not wear a nightgown to bed.
I wear the nightgown.
“BaBa, do you have underpants on under that?”
“Then, I can’t sleep with you! You know how I am! I will have to sleep on top of the covers!”
“Fine. Do that.”
DAY 3, Friday: Loch comes up to me and announces, “I have a big poop.”
Indeed he does. The diarrhea is entirely finished. His mother will be so pleased with The Big Poop News.
There is much screaming and loose ‘fits’ by the kids all day and refusals to eat the foods we have in the house.
There is much excitement for Loch in the early morning when the ‘Big Cement Truck’ comes to pour concrete in parts of the back yard. Loch notes over and over, “All the hard working men!”
At lunch, he refuses to eat “The Man Soup,” I offer him. I realize later he has misheard ‘minestrone soup.’
I am trying to get a bit of rest from the constant chaos when Lexi tells me she has accidently locked us out of the office where I have my computer which is my link to her mother, in Australia.
I hunt for and find every key in the house. The last key unlocks the office door.
I step barefoot on one of Loch’s hard plastic spiky toys and fall against the couch. As I limp away, I teach Loch and Lexi a new word for their vocabulary.
Everyday is punctuated by constant storms of emotion by both children, and me. We are all trying to adjust.
My sister Polly is having a birthday party. Her birthday falls on 8-08-08 and it is a big, prosperity celebration. I am not there. It would be too hard to pull the kids all together between Loch’s nap, his dinner and bedtime and drive two hours, total. I am sitting at the table with two kids refusing to eat what I have made for dinner while cats careen around and over me.
My family calls from the party where I hear everyone laughing and shrieking with joy and they tell me what a fabulous time they are having. The kids are crying and I start to cry.
DAY 4, Saturday:
I escape with the kids to my home in the mountains!
We’re visiting my mother; sitting outside on her porch, drinking ice tea. Mom suddenly shouts and jumps in her chair. I look and there is a large, triangularly shaped, green beetle hanging off one of her eyebrows. I quick, brush it off her eyebrow and it flips into her white hair where it burrows and kicks around. There is much head flapping and shouting before the beetle disentangles itself and flies on.
Wheew. That was fun.
The kids, meanwhile are eating from a bag of chips that they have found on my mother’s kitchen table. I remark that eating chips is a treat for them.
Mom says, “Oh. I had that bag on the deck table here and the squirrels chewed a big hole in the bag and were burrowing inside it for and running off with the chips.”
I go and collect the bag from Loch and Lexi.
“We won’t be telling your mother about this,” I tell the kids.
DAYS 5 and 6 and 7:
We are back at the coast and I have decided not to bore you with the daily report. I think you get the drift.
I clean the cat box every day, fend off cats at night, I never get enough sleep, I listen to lots of screaming from both kids and big ‘NO’s’ from the two year old. I deal with poop and pee and wash lots of clothes, fix meals that no one approves of and try and keep the house cleaned up. We three sometimes go off and ‘do things’ in the big world, but that isn’t easy.
There are eight days left of the same.
Actually, I hope it will be the same. Everybody is healthy! We’re all falling into a routine. I am lucky to be spending time here with my grandkids and at the lovely coast. I know I will miss all of it when I am back, alone, in my own house! I will wish I could hear all the screaming and the complaints and the general fun of living with a two and five year old who are the most beautiful and the smartest and the most brilliant of any children I have ever known. Aside from their mother, of course.
WINNER OF THE RANDOM DRAWING FOR A FREE 15 MINUTE PHONE SESSION WITH VENUS: *Kathy Allison*
Offer good through Aug 14th, 2008. After that, null and void