I got to babysit for my brother last night. He has 2 children - Hunter (7) and Jordyn (1 week shy of turning 5). It is always refreshing to hang out with the kids for an evening. Kids let you just be who you are and take you at face value. They just want to know that you care about them.
Our rousing evening started off with playing a few rounds of Pokemon. It was a first for me and I have no idea of that the rules are or if we used any of the official rules, but you have to trust a 7 year old to know how to play Pokemon. (It is kind of curious that he has a deck that has a lot of high valued cards and kicked our butts in every game. Hmmmm.) I can knock "Play Pokemon" off my life's to-do-before-I-die list.
We followed the Pokemon game with dinner. Noting that my brother is a Le Cordon Bleu certified chef, you'd think there'd be something good to eat in his house. Nope. Don't go to his house to babysit and expect a gourmet meal. The Kraft Mac and Cheese was supplanted by Chef Boyardee - Spaghetti and Meatballs (nephew ate almost the entire can by himself) and princess Spaghetti-O's. I'm so grateful I ate before going. I think I'm too old to cheerfully ingest Spaghetti-O's - even with/for the kids.
Go Fish and Crazy 8's finished our card games. We had decks of kiddy cards. Jordyn is good recognizing 1-10, but 11 and 12 seem to still be hazy in her knowledge base. My family has a long history of playing card games. Grandpa Dewey loved to play cards and it has flowed down the generations. (No poker, though.) A new generation of card players is in the making. A Go Fish disaster was averted when I pointed out that we all had the same number of matches, so we all win! Kids are so easy to work sometimes.
I was introduced to "Fat Booger, the Blanket Monster." I'm pretty sure "Fat Booger" doesn't get to show up when Mom and Dad are around. I'm just the aunt, so I don't have to be as strict about them abusing the house and it's furnishings as the parents. As my brother said once, "I don't want to know."
I also got invited to a tea party. I haven't been to a tea party since I was the one throwing it. Mormon kids hosting tea parties- anyone else see the slight irony? Soon enough she'll be throwing watery kool-aid parties. (Another tradition passed through the generations. I guess as a people, we've mastered jello salads, but not the appropriate kool-aid to water ratio.) It all sounds so boring when you aren't there, but as you know, when you are with kids, it's fun to see their little personalities and hear their thoughts. They don't hold back and they don't edit. It's instant, honest feedback and a lot of fun.
I AM GRATEFUL FOR BLANKET MONSTERS AND TEA PARTIES AND WHATEVER RANDOM FANTASY PLAY GOOFY KIDS LET ME PARTICIPATE IN.