“Everyone dreams of having a baby. Nobody dreams of having a two-year-old.”
– Thea Williams
"Aunt Linda, get up!"
I wake to Kyle’s excited screams. Kevin wails in the other room. Ted snores quietly beside me.
“What, Hon? Are you OK?” I ask my nephew.
“Yeah, I’m OK,” he answers. “But me and Kevie wanna go find our Easter baskets!”
Oh, no. He’s right. It’s Easter and I have no idea where or even if Emma has any candy, let alone Easter grass and baskets. That was the last thing on anybody’s mind in the middle of the night.
“Oh, OK, Honey. Yeah, your baskets.”
I sit up reluctantly and shake Ted.
“Uh, wake up, Uncle Teddy. It’s Easter morning, and the kids wanna check out their baskets. Where do you suppose the Easter bunny would’ve hidden their candy, Uncle Ted?”
If I’m looking for support, I’ve come to the wrong man. Ted’s neither a dad nor a morning person. He sleeps heavy to begin with, and last night we bedded down with a fidgety four-year-old.
He grunts and rolls over.
“Come on, Uncle Teddy. The boys are excited about Easter. We need to figure out where the bunny left their candy!” I say with greater urgency.
My husband’s a sweet man, but when he’s sleep-deprived, he’s about as pliable as Mount Rushmore.
In the meantime, Kevin climbs out of his crib. He comes screaming into our room with a diaper practically down to his knees. When he realizes his parents aren’t here, he goes into hysterics. I pick him up and try to soothe him, telling him Mommy and Daddy are at the hospital getting ready to meet his new baby brother.
He’s having none of it.
I take him over to the rocking chair in the corner of Em’s room, and try to calm him with a song. He not only doesn’t cotton to my voice, but promptly underscores his dissatisfaction by letting loose a warm, yellow liquid all over my lap.
I decide then and there that Ted needs to accept his share of the misery.
“Ted Genovese, I need you up and I need you up now!” I shriek with the restraint of a drunk at a wine tasting.
“Huh? I’m up, I’m up!” he cries apologetically. “Whaddaya need me to do?”
“OK, find me a diaper for Kev. Oh, and don’t forget wipes. He peed all over me. Then try to text Tom and see if he knows anything about the Easter bunny’s plans,” I say in a conspiring whisper. Then I buy us some time.
“Kyle, I know you wanna get downstairs, but first we have to get Kevie cleaned up and both of you have to get dressed. And the bunny says you have to eat breakfast before you have any candy.”
Remembering I promised him Cocoa Puffs for breakfast, I realize we’re in for the sugar high of the century. Oh, well. I give up on any semblance of sanity for the day, and mentally prepare for the chaos.
When all is said and done, we have two dressed children but no return text from Tom. I put Ted to work scrounging through cabinets to see if he can find a candy stash, and try to delay the inevitable.
How could they forget to do Easter for their kids? Are they that obsessed with the new baby’s problems? How ’bout taking care of the ones they already have?
I mentally chastise myself, realizing I have no clue what they’re going through. Still, if it were me…
“Hey, guys, look outside. Look at all those branches that came down last night! How ’bout we go outside and play pick up sticks for real?”
The guys think this is a great idea, and it keeps them busy until Kevin decides it’s fun to stab his brother in the neck with a saber-shaped stick. His giggles come close to drowning out Kyle’s squalls of pain. I’m about ready to cry myself, when Ted comes outside and declares he’s going to the store “on bunny business.” This announcement prompts pleas from both kids to go along. I have to think fast to come up with a plan that will keep them distracted and home.
It’s a funny thing. I’ve always intended to parent without letting my kids get sucked into the vortex of some video screen. I revise my thinking while popping the disk into the DVD player, and heave a sigh of relief.