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Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Monster Boy's Visit, or an Ode to Mothers

By Catherine Gayle

I wasn't really around these parts much last week. I'd like to say it was because I was so wrapped up in my WIP that I couldn't remember to come out and play (boy, do I need a week like that!), but it wasn't that.

It was something equally fun, though. :)

You see, my nephew (AKA the Monster Boy or the Nephew Monster) came to visit me in North Carolina.

For almost the first five years of his life, I lived all of 2 blocks away from him in Texas. But then six months ago, I moved 6 states away. It's been a big adjustment for both of us, so I was determined to make sure he had a good time while he was with me.

Our adventure began in the DFW airport, where of course, he found a McDonald's...one that had video games.

He's got a knack for finding the important things, this boy does.
 Our flight was only delayed a little bit, but he didn't care. This boy was going to go on an airplane, where he could look down and see "everything as itty as ants."

All strapped in and ready to go!

When we landed in North Carolina, Ava Stone was a good friend and picked us up at the airport, where she proceeded to lock her keys in her running car. But that is another story for another day.

Eventually, I took the Monster Boy to my apartment, where he proceeded to terrorize my cats as he is so very fond of doing.

Dakota tried to hide from him in the bag from his Lightning McQueen sleeping bag. Not sure it worked. That didn't stop her from trying.

Kiki wanted to avoid him...but she REALLY wanted his cupcake. Tough choices for this kitty.

It wasn't all bad for the cats, though. He gladly ran the laser light for them to chase until his thumb couldn't hold down the button anymore, and he helped to pick out a new toy for them at the pet store: a remote control mouse!

Hmmm...how can I play with this, WITHOUT the boy being involved?

When he wasn't driving my cats crazy, we were on the go non-stop. We went to see movies, went grocery shopping, found the Lego store and bought his first ever Lego set, played to his heart's content at the mall play area, went to the cupcakery where he could pick out his very own cupcake (nicely destroyed above), and so much more.

But that, dear friends, was far from the "bestest" thing we did all week. You see, Olivia Kelly invited us to go with her and Little Dude to the kids museum one day. The Monster Boy wasn't sure of this until I told him there would be lots of things to play with while we were there. He was still slightly uncertain...but then I got him a Batman lunch bag so we could pack his lunch, and he was sold. (Ah, the simple things.)

Here we are arriving on the bus he drove. Wait a minute...we didn't come on the bus. And he doesn't have  driver's license. Hmmm...
"Who needs those silly little Legos? I've got these giant ones!"

"Put me in, Coach. I've got a mean backhand shot."

Monster: "You're supposed to stand on it like this."
Little Dude: "Not until you paddle out to the waves."

"Just call me Captain Jack Sparrow. And feel free to fawn over me, ladies. I can take it."

We all live in a yellow submarine, a yellow submarine, a yellow submarine...
"Walking in flippers is hard work. How do those fish do it?"
On a different day, we met up with Tammy Falkner and her son, and joined them for gymnastics class. Somehow, the Monster Boy ended up even more exhausted after two hours of gymnastics than he did after five hours at the kids museum. (Lucky me! Haha!)

He's trying to sort out why they're stretching when the could be bouncing off the walls and jumping off the trampoline and climbing up to do a cannonball down the slide.
Every now and then, though, he needed a little time for a breather. That was when we would pop a movie into the DVD player or find a hockey game to watch, so he could have a little "chillin' and 'laxin' time," as he likes to call it.
Don't interrupt the Nephew Monster. He's watching Mater's Tall Tales.

After spending five days with his sole purpose being to exhaust me in every way conceivable, it was finally time for him to go home. I took him to the airport, put him on a plane, and waved goodbye though I'm sure he couldn't see me.


I managed to avoid crying until I got home. And saw THIS left behind.

Good grief, how does one little boy make this much mess???
Seriously, though, I only cried somewhat because of the mess. Okay, it was a lot because of the mess. But also because my Monster is growing up and can go on an airplane all by himself...without a hint of a tear.

I understand that he entertained the entire plane while they were in the air, too. And it seems he borrowed someone's iPad to play games? (Dude, your Nintendo was in your backpack!)

He went home home on Friday, and I still feel like I could sleep for a solid week without a problem. So my question is this: How do mothers do it? How on earth is it possible to keep up with one of these tiny humans without going insane, let alone more than one of them?

To all of you who have children, and you also have a job, and a husband, and maybe you somehow also find time to write...I salute you.

And I ask you this: Do you have any tips for me on how to survive the next time the Monster comes to town?

25 comments:

  1. Aww..it looks like you guys had so much fun!

    Tips? 1) Sleep when you can

    2) Give in--it's all about them at that age! :-)

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    1. Boy, did I ever give in. Lol. The sleeping part is one I'll have to work on. It was hard enough to find time to shower without worrying that he would bleach my TV in those five minutes alone.

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  2. I am so glad that I was able to give the Monster his first adventure in North Carolina. Now if only my son will let me live it down. ;)

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    1. Lol! Poor Ava. I thought we handled it pretty well, all things considered. I'll be sure to tell your son that next time I see him.

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  3. I'm sure he had the time of his life. :)

    It's different when your kids are with you all the time. There's no way to keep up that pace every day, at least not for me. When my kids were little, I would play with them for a while, but then they had to entertain themselves. My daughter was much better at it, but that's because she got into things she shouldn't. LOL. I couldn't turn my back on her. Fortunately, she loved to draw, cut, and paste, so I'd give her art supplies and set her up VERY CLOSE to me so I could keep an eye on her.

    They grow up fast! I know a lot of people really miss the days when kids are little. I look back at pictures and my heart melts, but I always enjoy the age my kids are at the time. I especially love the changes I see in my teen. He's so clever and funny. I enjoy picking him up after school and hearing all about what he found interesting that day.

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    1. I don't even know how I kept it up for five days. Lol. It is definitely fun watching them grow up though. Now that I live so much farther away, I notice the changes much more than before.

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  4. Aw, looks like it was a great time, Catherine! And I'm SO not surprised that Ava locked her keys in her running car!!! Hahahaha! Hilarious!

    To answer your question: I have no idea. LOL! I mean, I send my one kid to preschool most of the day AND I have someone who helps with the house. A lot of people might think I just sit around eating bon bons all day, but in reality, I'm usually running around like a chicken with my head cut off, trying to fit in writing (and all that entails), carting Eric to and from clients some days, groceries/meal planning (somehow I've added cooking to my list of to-dos lately. WTF?!?!),running errands, shopping/packing for whatever trip is coming up (because really, there's almost always a trip coming up)...the list goes on...but at 3:30, I have to switch to Mom Mode, and that's not terribly easy. My child can be exhausting.

    But it's rewarding (most of the time), and at the end of the day, I know it'll be gone too soon, and E and I will be empty-nesters before we know it. So, as the old saying goes, I'll sleep when I'm dead. LOL!

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    1. I am exhausted just from a two or three hour visit with my Monster, and the five days were insane. Even with help, that would be sooooo difficult.

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    2. Hey! Why are you NOT surprised I locked my keys in the car? Andris was so happy I finally locked my car. ;)

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  5. I would actually love to figure out how I did it the first time around so that I could use some of those tips for my five-year-old lol. But I couldn't tell you honestly how I managed. I just did. I think Deb's advice of sleep while you can is the best advice. And enjoy every second because they do grow so fast. My second oldest was my active child, while my oldest who is twenty now was my thoughtful child. The oldest could sit for hours and play by himself but the second boy had to have someone with him every second of the day, and now my third child is somewhere in between. So now that I've started over again, I have to re-learn how to balance mom, writing, wife and up until my last move a job. It's tough.

    It looks like you both had the time of your lives and he's adorable. So glad that he got the chance to visit you! Enjoy it!

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    1. Oh, Suzie. I wish he would sit quietly entertaining himself. Lol. When he gets quiet though, that's when I know I need to go find him. He's likely got a cat shut in the bathroom with him, peeing on her, or maybe he's pulling all the clothes in the closet off their hangers to wash them in the tub.

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  6. How do you lock your keys in a running car?? That is what enquiring minds want to know. :-)

    As for kids, you really can't keep up that pace of fun time. Which is why he is going to remember you for all time as the "fun" aunt and the one who entertained him constantly when Mommy always seemed too busy to play. And that's okay. Everyone should have a "fun" aunt.

    But it's exhausting being the fun aunt. :-)

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    1. Oh, Sabrina...you know how talented Ava is. Lol.

      It is great to be the fun aunt, for sure. And I have very strong, fond memories of my fun aunts, so I hope he does the same. But now, I think I'll take another nap.

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    2. I love how THIS is what some people are focusing on. ;) What happened was my trunk was locked (where the Monster's car seat was.) So I clicked the UNlock button on my key ring and got out to open the trunk. It was then that I realized I'd clicked the LOCK button instead. ;) It was only 28degrees out. No big deal. ;) Sheesh. LOL

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  7. I have no earthly idea how anyone keeps up with kids- even after an hour or two I'm exhausted! I'm so glad the two of you had such a brilliant time :))

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    1. Sugar. And caffeine. Many helpings of both in large quantities. (For me, not for him. AUGH! That would be a nightmare.)

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  8. Catherine,

    It sounds like you are one great aunt! I don't think any mother, with or without a full time job, can keep up with her kids all the time. I know my two sons exhaust me! By the time 8:00 rolls around during the week I'm turning off their lights for bed, so I can regroup and have a little down time. What advice would I give you for the next visit? Legos are great! That was a smart move on your part. Plan exhausting outings. The only problem with that is you might be exhausted too! Plan play dates so he can have a friend his age entertain him for a couple of hours instead of you. And just enjoy him, which I think you very much did!

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    1. The play date thing worked out very well. For his next trip, I think I'm going to try to arrange more of those. He had kids to run around with, and the moms and I could just watch and talk. :)

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  9. What a great Aunt, Catherine! I bet y'all slept GOOOD at night. :) Dude, I'm not sure how I kept up in the early baby days. I had a toddler and a new baby, and was operating on like 3 hours of sleep. Something that in college would have been easy-peasy. Ah,those child-free days of late sleepin'...

    But yeah, totally enjoy Monster when he's little or as my 5 YO still says wittle. I don't want to correct him on bit. As for WiT, yesterday she announced to her Grams that she was skipping 9 and going to straight to 10. Lord help me!

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    1. Ha! WiT wants to be a pre-teen already. Good times. I just want to know when our bodies suddenly shifted from being able to handle those sorts of nights in college, to not even coming close now. And we can't blame it on motherhood since I'm not a mother. LOL.

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  10. Well, that was really fun to read about you and your little "monster nephew". You're obviously a very doting Auntie, and he obviously thinks the world of you.

    You did really well keeping him entertained. The cats probably loved him chasing them, and probably miss him now he's gone home. Who cares about the mess, that can be cleaned up. But, he's gone home with really happy memories spent with his doting Auntie, which will stay with him for a long time.

    You did good Catherine, and I bet that you and your "girls" are missing him.

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    1. I know I am, but I wouldn't be so sure about my girls. LOL. When I came home from the airport after seeing him off, they raced through the apartment for five or ten minutes, checking to be sure he wasn't still there and hiding. And then as soon as they were satisfied that he was well and truly gone? They both planted themselves on me for an overdue cuddle session. Kiki had gotten so desperate for cuddling that during the last day he was here, she got on my lap and then hissed at him if he came too close. It was kind of sweet and kind of pathetic, all at once. :)

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  11. oh Wow, Catherine...hands down best aunt award goes to you! And thank you for the mommy shout out! : ) And you did exactly what I would tell anyone to do; fill your days with great activities, all day, until he's all plain tuckered out from fun! Then just hope you're not too tired to sit down and write! ; )

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    1. Write? WRITE???? You mean I wasn't supposed to get to take the whole week off from working? LOL. See, that's what I admire about all of you even more. After you get the kiddos in bed, or when you put them down for a nap, or when they are off to a few hours in daycare, you somehow find the mental fortitude to put your brain to work. Me? I stare off into space until I'm asleep (3.6 seconds after he's finally asleep!). I don't have a clue how you manage it. :)

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  12. Being an Aunt is the best! I lived 10 minutes from my 2 nephews and niece so we spent a lot of time together - but then they went home & I could rest. Now they are grown up and I even have a little great-nephew now. They all live hours away, but they are come to visit in another week (the niece) and two weeks (the nephew & great-nephew). You get to be the fun one - not the one that has to do all the hard-stuff of life. It's wonderful that you bonded with the little guy.

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