Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bunk Beds

I am a kid person.  Kids like me.  I have a background in children's theatre; I've babysat and taught dance classes.  I've even been the costumed character at Birthday parties.  (By the way, don't hire Ariel.  It's really really hard to run after your kids in that Little Mermaid tail!)  Kids are something I'm actually good at, like parallel parking and getting waiters to bring more bread.  I get them.  They get me.  My nephew even asked me this week if I was a grown-up or a child.  I told him I was really really old and that he should eat his vegetables so he can look like me when he's ninety.

So, being with little humans is not the problem.  Being with them for more than six hours is the problem.  I'm on day six of taking care of my nephews today and I think I might be losing my mind.  It's as if after the six hour mark, my kid-friendly self melts away and leaves some monster.  A couple of days ago, after the park, errands, a trampoline session, hours of playing Angry Birds and a movie (Dolphin Tale even!), I told a seven-year old that the reason he couldn't have McDonalds is that I didn't agree with their business practices.  I also told that same second grader that I couldn't play any more Angry Birds because I'm a supporter of green pig rights.  He said that the pigs ate the birds' eggs so it's okay to kill them and I shouldn't feel bad.  I pointed out that we humans eat the eggs of chickens all the time.  Should the chickens attack us?!  Nice, right?  And, in case you're thinking, that's not that bad, I've let his little brother eat his breakfast and dinner as a monkey every day since I've been here.  We're talking hanging off of chairs and stuff.

Oops.

The kids are fed and clean.  They are all in one piece, as far as I can tell.  But, I don't think I'm cut out for this gig.  It's really hard.  I don't know how parents do it.  I know, I know, "Dial-a-Cliche" and all of that, but, seriously, you guys.  This parenting shit is wack.

You want to know what I've been doing for the last half hour?  I've been changing the sheets on a bunk bed.  Yup.  I've seen bunk beds my whole life and never ever has it occurred to me how hard it must be to change those stupid sheets.  This particular set of bunk beds has a metal frame that goes up about a foot around the top bunk.  It's flush to the wall on two sides.  I spent a really really long time precariously perched on the top bunk trying to get the fitted sheet to stay put.  I'm still not even sure how I did it.   After I maneuvered the sheets into place using my will power and contortionist skills, I climbed back up to arrange the comforter and my nephew's eighteen stuffed animals just so.  Yes, that's right.  Eighteen stuffed animals, all of whom would be missed immediately if they were accidentally put on, say, his brother's bunk.

Sooo, on to that bunk.  It was somewhat easier.  I didn't fear falling six feet or the bed collapsing so that was cool.  Also, he only had seven stuffed animals and a flashlight so the arranging didn't take that long.  I finished the task and was proud of myself.  I thought maybe I should brush my hands together like a housewife in a Febreze commercial.  Well, until I realized I'd put his fitted sheet on upside down.  How can it be upside down, you might ask?  You see, to a particular six-year-old, a fitted sheet is upside down when Wall-E is standing on his head.  So, off with the comforter, the seven stuffed animals, the flashlight.  Back on with the everything.

And, then the thought:  My sister does this every week.  

I almost cried.

I'm the person you leave the kids with for an afternoon, guys.  A trip to the aquarium?  I'm your girl!  Museum?  Sure!  Roller skating?  Bring it on!  But, don't leave me in charge indefinitely.  Unless you want me to tell your four-year-old all the reasons to adopt a shelter dog and why I don't eat bacon.