Less than a month to go until school is out and my long-term babysitting gig with K. wraps up. I have learned a lot over the last eleven weeks of meeting his school bus, with these three lessons standing out:
- If you play with them the first day, they expect that you will play EVERY DAY. THE ENTIRE TIME YOU ARE THERE.
- Despite what my mind insists, my body is, in fact, nearly four decades old.
- I miss childhood more than I realized.
Remember when all you had to do was go to school, then play? “Youth is wasted on the young” comes to mind, but from what I’ve seen of K. over the past couple of months, the young have it all figured out.
He emerges from the school bus sweaty from whatever mass-transport adventures he and his friends have conjured in the last 30 minutes since leaving school. School bus drivers take notice – YOU are unsung heroes.
Barely halfway up the driveway, he is already pantomiming the sport that we will be playing within 10 minutes. He doesn’t miss a beat, as if he has just consulted his kid-Daytimer before getting off the bus.
“Okay, 2:35 – Exit Bus. 2:45 – Begin daily sports with The Aunt.”
The physical activity is so non-stop with K. that I need not have worried when I let my gym membership lapse three months ago. Over several blogs, I’ve covered board games, Wii, and outdoor play. Now I’m going to show you the tools I use to get through my afternoons with K.
Hiking Pants – Lightweight, freedom of movement, and the option to convert to shorts. Handy when the activity could be Wii in the meat-locker-temperature basement, or catch in the blazing sun.
“Aunt Terra, are you going to take off your legs now?”
Slipper Socks – See reference to basement above.
Garden Gloves – Actually, not for K. The garden gloves are for the daily ritual of removing the gnawed end of a Milkbone from Cocoa’s Kong toy. The very soggy, crumbly left over bit of biscuit that she has agonized over all day. Yeah, that’s my job, too.
Play Shoes – As an adult, I’ve managed to keep my sneakers nice through several years of wear, replacing them after 7 years or so only out of want instead of need. However, my usual activities don’t include chasing after T-balls or kicking rocks into muddy holes. Enter the third-string sneakers. A.K.A. my play shoes.
Shock Doctor Elbow Support – See Lesson # 2 above.
Baseball Glove – It boggles K.’s mind that my baseball glove is 30 years old. Frankly, it boggles my mind, too. It still works! (And I still really enjoy a long session of “catch.” – With elbow support now, of course.)
The question now is whether these items will be enough to get me through D-Day.
As in nephew D.
The Other One.
The Little One.
Dennis The Menace.
This week, I get him for a whole day while my sister and her husband help run a fundraising golf tournament for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
If convertible hiking pants and play shoes aren’t enough, there’s always K. getting off the school bus at 2:30 to save me.