Sunday, May 21, 2006

24 Hours

My parents have spent the last few months pretty much raising my 4 year old nephew and his 5 month old sister, Mom needed a break this weekend, so she asked me to take them for the weekend. Somehow, my 9 year old and 15 year old nieces got into the mix, and the baby ended up being taken by a friend of her mothers---good and bad---I was kind of looking forward to having a baby around, but not looking forward to having a baby around---- who was not used to my household or really me for that matter.

I learned a few things this weekend that were I suppose small eyeopeners.

I learned that with the addition of a 4 year old and a 9 year old in my house that old instincts very easily reassert themselves.

I was a stay-at-home mom for 13 years, once I returned to work, and my children reached their teen years some of my habits changed. When the children were younger, feeding them was a top priority, getting those 3 healthy meals on the table on a regular basis seemed very important. Once they became older and more self-sufficient, I stopped making family breakfasts, and lunches, they were/are able to do that on their own, oh I still do the Sunday morning brunch, with an occasional Saturday one thrown in, but I don't worry about their meals anymore except for dinner each night, and that chore is shared depending on how late I work.

But this weekend, it was suddenly as if I was that person I used to be, slipping right back into the role of making sure all were fed at a decent time, with decent food. Making sure they were all bathed, were happy and content with their little world.

It surprised me, I was up and out of bed at an early hour, got those first 2 cups of coffee under my belt and was cooking up a storm....then just doing all of the other little things I used to do, when it suddenly hit me how abnormal that was, all of my other nieces and nephews are teenagers now, so I just have to make sure the refridgerator and snack cabinets are full, they do the rest. But with the younger ones in the house the old me popped out from somewhere. I suppose the nurturing part of us never leaves, it just changes direction.

I was also worried about keeping the younger ones entertained, didn't really want them just watching TV, and I was fairly certain the two teens were not going to want to spend their time playing with them. In a sense I was wrong about that, I had to remind them a few times to keep their language appropriate, although come to think of it, the 9yr. old had to remind ME to watch my own language in one instance. Otherwise the two teens seemed quite content to be kids themselves, still have the old play house and monkey bars, and they had to prove to themselves they could still do all the stuff they used to (they couldn't, neither could I for that matter). Thank god I saved all of my son's legos, they do come in handy with a house full of children. My four year old nephew was in lego heaven, seems he doesn't have many, and seeing our huge trunk of legos kept him busy for hours, just picking out the pieces he wanted. With a few flashlights thrown in, they were happy campers one and all, they always play flashlight tag, or hide and seek when here, guess it is the multitude of places to hide. Was very amusing and educational to watch the 4 year old though, the wide open spaces were rather frightening to him last night, but he was so cool, he came in because he was frightened, stayed for about 5 minutes, and then said, "I am not going to be scared anymore", and took off back outside, yelling for his partner, telling her he was scared, but still venturing out into the deepest darkest corners looking for her, I could hear the quaver in his voice, how it rose in pitch as he moved farther from the house, quietly calling for her, but he kept going, what a brave little soul. ( I was watching/listening at the door) *Sigh* I was not allowed to play, "because we have to play as partners mom, and you make it uneven."

The next thing I learned is that I now know why we parents think grandparents spoil our children when they keep them for us. I was quite tired after our play and hike today, nephew was exhausted (read cranky) and 9 yr old niece was MISS ATTITUDE, seat sharing was not going well for the ride home. I did not have the patience to be diplomatic, nor to do the correct thing, so I gave in to the crankiest member, the loudest, he got his way, which totally irked the older ones.....thus I "spoiled" him. Okay mom, I now understand, I told her. She of course just said, "I knew that your day would come, and you would see it my way." (Don't you hate it when you get a 'told you so" from your parents?)

It was great to introduce my 'big city' kids to the great park we have there, they are not used to being in the middle of the city, AND being surrounded by a forest, then again, I think it was the first time nephew was ever on a trail, he tripped on treeroots so many times, always yelling out "I'm okay!" before quickly picking himself up and taking off after the older ones.

They definitely wore me out, and wore out their older cousins, but it was fun, so much fun, I had forgotten how energizing a 4 year old can be, and also forgotten how much ENERGY a four year old has!

Their day on the trail.

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