This past weekend, I went on a trip where I was served wonderful food, danced, helped heal a puppy, made crafts, built a base camp and fought a few battles.
And I did it all with a 7-year-old and a 3-year-old.
I went to visit my parents, but I mostly wanted to spend time with my sweet nephews, who are growing up too quickly.
My brother, who lives in the same town as my parents, was in a golf tournament, so he was busy all weekend, and he and my sister-in-law had a dinner to attend. I picked up the boys and took them to my mom and dad’s house.
Let the playing begin! And not on the iPad, I decreed.
Barrett, the 3-year-old, said, “Let’s play books.” My favorite pastime with children is to read to them.
We read a Sesame Street alphabet book first, which included the letter M for Moose, although Barrett argued the animal was a deer.
Next, it was on to Legos — one of my least favorite activities. I am not creative, and my designs are basically blocks stacked on blocks. Seb, the 7-year-old, is a master builder and could put together a Lego set before he could walk.
He built all the pieces for us — a fort and a jail — and gave me my team of men, one of whom had a laser gun. Seb’s men had a boat that was invisible in water. That put me at a distinct disadvantage, so he won most of the battles.
We went from one activity to another, because these are high-energy boys.
They love to dance, and so does their Aunt Tammy. Barrett wanted a song, and I could see a little light bulb come on. “Ask ’Lexa,” he said. My mom and dad recently got a new television and an Alexa device.
Barrett wanted Alexa to play “Michael Jackson ‘Bad,’” but bless his heart, she couldn’t understand him. I ordered it, and we all danced. Barrett and Seb have some moves, let me tell you. There was flossing, the robot and their own unique moves, which included jumping from a chair to the couch and dancing on the coffee table (this is Grandmomma and Paw Paw’s house, remember).
Seb requested an Imagine Dragons song and said, “Don’t worry — it’s not inappropriate. My brother and me danced to it before.”
At one point, the boys cooked for Mom and me using Barrett’s play kitchen. Breakfast was eggs, bacon and fruit, followed immediately by a lunch of hot dogs and a big carrot, followed seconds later by a dinner of spaghetti and meatballs and mashed potatoes. Seb told me my choices for dessert were a smoothie with “lots of good stuff in it,” chocolate cake or lemon cake. I had them all — why not? Pretend food has no calories.
While Grandmomma and Barrett took a nap, Seb and I watered her geraniums. He made a rainbow with the water hose, watered trees and the sidewalk and tried to reach a bird flying overhead.
Later, Barrett got out his daddy’s old Pound Puppy, which Barrett said had hurt its leg.
“I’m a doctor and you’re a doctor,” he said. He covered the puppy with a quilt and gave it lots of imaginary Band-Aids. “He needs a cast,” Barrett said. He also checked the puppy’s ears with a flashlight, something he’s seen his daddy — the ear, nose and throat doctor — do many times to him and other family members.
Barrett decided that I had a boo-boo on my leg, and he started putting Band-Aids, which were stickers, on it.
I also got lots of hugs, kisses and I love yous from both boys, which will cure anything in the world.
Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or firstname.lastname@example.org.