“Mommy, we’re going to play in here. You stay out!” orders Julius, my five-year old with my four year-old niece Layla, standing behind him like muscle in a pink tutu.
They are in my seven year-old son’s bedroom looking extremely cute and extremely suspicious.
“Hey, not so fast Bubs. What’s going on?”
“Nothing, Stinky Pants.” My niece pipes up with the softest, sweetest voice. Think Snow White on helium.
“We’re just playing puppies, Mommy. Now go way!”
He almost pushes me out the door and then those extremely cute little rats move to shut the door in my face. Well, that’s not going to happen. I place a firm hand, stopping it. “Puppies, the door stays open. No shutting the door. Okay?”
“Okay!” They are just a few years short of rolling their eyes, but their “okay” is dripping in barely concealed superiority and irritation.
I give them a warning look, but it holds no bite, they are just so damn cute.
I leave them to play and walk into my bedroom to fold laundry. Giggling and hushed voices are my music. I fold a few shirts but their giggling is so giggly, I can’t concentrate. I sneak over and peer into the other room.
They are rolling around, like puppies, I guess. Or maybe like dogs in heat? I don’t know. They are innocent babies but still, it doesn’t look good. Yeah, we need to break this party up.
“Knock knock, little puppies!” I call out and walk into the room. “What’s going on here?”
Julius comes over, looking a little sheepish, but I’m not sure if it’s because I’m ruining the game or because I’m ruining his game, if you know what I mean. “We’re just playing puppies.” There’s a sheesh that doesn’t verbally come out, but I hear it.
“Okay, but no more rolling over each other. I don’t want any puppies to get hurt.”
“Okay.” They nod, their curls bobbing up and down in unison.
I head back to fold the laundry, but I’ve got my ear on the other room. There’s some pounding and running round. There’s a bunch of laughing and then nothing. Quiet. Too quiet. I realize I’ve paired three pairs of socks and I haven’t heard a peep from them. Time for a check in. I pad my way over.
Layla is laying on the carpet immobile, her shirt is somewhat lifted and Julius has his hand on her belly.
“Puppies!” I call out a little too loudly. “What is going on here?”
Julius is quick to explain, “She got hurt and needed to go to the puppy doctor.”
Of course. I mean come on, they’re in nursery, but still, I was beginning to feel a little uncomfortable. We’re a close family, but we’re not into kissing cousins.
“Listen pups, how bout we head downstairs and I get you guys a snack. You must be very hungry puppies. Maybe I’ll make s’mores?”
That did it. Both puppies were up, wagging their tails and bouncing over. Once again, sugar saves the day.
Later, Layla is back home and my older pups come bounding in from the bus.
“Mom!” Michael, my second grader yells, dropping his backpack and heading straight for the phone, “I made a play date with Sarah and Gillian.”
“Both of them?” I ask, although I shouldn’t be surprised. Michael loves the ladies.
“Yep, they’re coming over.”
And they do. Two adorable, sweet and shy seven year-old girls.
Immediately, the three of them pound up the stairs to his room. Boom boom boom. Slam.
Sigh. Here we go again. With three boys, I’m sensing big trouble in the future.
I walk the steps slowly, preparing for my second intervention of the day. There’s that cute giggling again. And it looks like the lights are out in his room.
“Who wants s’mores?” I call out and open the door.
Well, at least they’re not related.