Last week, before the demon cold of Hades settled into my head, I had the distinct and exhausting privilege of babysitting my friend Melissa's two older boys. She and her hubby took their youngest boy out for a few hours and I jumped at the chance to watch the other two. They are four- and two-years old and are so ridiculously cute that I could suck the goodness right out of their cheeks.
Is that wrong?
I really hope not.
Anyway, these boys are two of my favorites and the minute I walked in the door I knew I was in for a very entertaining evening.
Within the first 30 minutes, I was a stegosaurus, an alligator and a princess. In all three circumstances, the boys responded by running. They ran away from me, ran towards me, ran over me, ran under me, and ran regardless of where I was in the house. They ran because I was scary. They ran because I was tall. They ran because I was an adult.
I do not understand all the running. Can someone explain this to me?
Next, we moved on to singing and dancing. Now this I can handle. It started off happy and peppy and the boys knew most of the words to their current favorite song, "I Am A Promise." However, after approximately 89.3 seconds of controlled singing, the younger of the two thought it would be a good idea to throw clothes on the floor and to wear underwear on his head. The older boy thought it would be wise to move furniture to the center of the room so they could run around it. Again with the running.
This lasted 23 minutes. With the same song on repeat.
Next, and most famously, we played horse. And no, not the kind with a basketball. We played the kind where Sarah lies down on the floor and becomes a jungle gym for two enthusiastic boys and then is asked to walk, run, jump and kick.
As an avid horse lover, I can completely appreciate their desire for an active horse. There is nothing more disappointing than riding a horse that doesn't move. But sometimes horses just need to lie down and think about life and their purpose for living. Is that too much to ask? I am going to be much more sensitive toward the poor horse I ride next.
SIDE NOTE: The next day, when asked what they enjoyed most about my time with them, the older one said that he liked playing horse with me because I came with a saddle. Um, what? Apparently I need to eat fewer pumpkin cookies.
Somewhere in the middle of the rodeo, the doorbell rang. The boys immediately ran to the couch, peered out the front window and began shouting at the stranger. The dog began to bark, sensing an opportunity to meet someone new. And I tried with all of my brain power to unlock the child-proof door. As I peered out the door window, I discovered that it was a political volunteer who was trying to talk to me through the window. With every word, the barking and shouting became louder. I looked at him and shook my head, pointing toward the pandemonium around me, trying to tell him that this was not a good time. He just stood there and kept talking to me, through the window. And all I could think of is "DO YOU NOT SEE THE CHAOS?" Finally, he left a flyer in the mailbox and went on his way.
By the end of the evening, we had moved on from horse to playing puzzles and reading books. I was trying to calm them down for their bedtime before their parents came home. As I was sitting on the couch, surrounded by books, I sensed the younger one staring at me. I turned to my left, almost bumping noses with him, his big, blue eyes looking intently on my face.
And then he whispered, "Can I touch your ear?"
"Um, sure, buddy."
Dear Jesus, please let this be a good decision.
I immediately felt a small, wet finger go straight into my left ear. He grinned and ran away.
And with that, my evening was complete.
Shortly after, his parents came home with their baby boy in tow. I was exhausted. And elated. And I loved every bit of my 109 minutes with them. And I realized I have no idea how Melissa does this on a daily basis. She, and every other mother out there, are superheroes (and horses and dinosaurs and princesses). I am amazed by you.
And I pray that naps may be in your immediate future.