Babysitting the Nieces

I spent the past few days in Arizona babysitting my sister’s two daughters. My sister and brother-in-law went to Boston for a wedding that he was in. Their original plan had been to take the kids so they could play with their cousins, but thanks to all the snow Boston got this winter the cousins were still in school. Instead of having to make the cross-country flight with two small kids for no good reason they instead offered to pay for my plane ticket to come out there and watch the girls while they were gone.

I flew into Phoenix on Thursday and picked up my sister’s car at the airport where she left it when she caught her flight out. I then made the drive to Tucson. When I got there my eldest niece was at camp and my youngest niece was just going down for her nap. Right after all they had swimming lessons. My parents live nearby so my dad came along to show me where the swimming lessons were located and to help out wrangling the kids. After that we met up with my mom for dinner at a nearby restaurant. Once we got home it was pretty much time to get the kids bathed and ready for bed, so I really didn’t even see much of them on Thursday.

Friday the 6 year old had camp again and I had to get the 3 year old out of the house while my sister’s house cleaners were there. Normally they go over to my parents house to hang out, but my mom had just gotten over a stomach bug and I was too paranoid about catching it to go over there. A new children’s museum recently opened around the corner from where my sister lives, so I figured it would be a good time to check it out. Based on what I had seen online it seemed like it was aimed at toddlers and that the  6 year old would be bored. It worked out perfectly that she was at camp and I could just take the 3 year old since my assessment was correct. We spent a couple of hours playing with things there, though I’m pretty sure her favorite thing was the sticky hand she got as a prize from a game about shapes that they had. She was obsessed with it for the next 2 days. The first thing she said to me when she woke up on Saturday morning was “Where’s my sticky hand”?

Friday afternoon we swam in their pool and played other games around the house. There was a steady rotation of games for the rest of the weekend. Monster Attack in which I just chase them around the house in a circle, wicked witch which is similar but involves people being locked in the closet as a trap and then escaping while the witch is asleep, Barbies (I hate Barbies), various card games and match games (I am awful at match games. Even the 3 year old beat me), and magic carpet rides in which I dragged them around the tile floor on blankets.

Saturday we met up with my parents for breakfast at Panera bread. They usually all meet at Starbucks on Saturday mornings, but my parents don’t care for Starbucks so said since my sister and brother-in-law weren’t there they weren’t going and we could go to Panera instead. The 3 year old did not get the concept of Panera for breakfast since she is used to going there for lunch. She kept telling me on the way there that she was going to eat mac and cheese and I was telling her they didn’t have mac and cheese at breakfast. Habit trumps everything when you’re three I guess because she refused to eat the cinnamon roll I got her despite her major sweet tooth (the kid only ever wants to eat junk food) and insisted she needed bread and butter like she always eats, so I had to go beg the person to get us one of their lunch rolls like normally comes with the mac and cheese.

The rest of Saturday was pretty much just more of the games we played on Friday and another swim in the pool. Since they are learning to dive for things in swim class and all their pool toys float we took a trip to Target to some diving toys to play with as well. I had a few hours on Sunday to play with them before my parents came over to watch them when I headed out to the airport. We did the reverse hand off of the car. My sister’s flight got in about an hour before my flight left so I actually got to say a quick hello and goodbye to them in the airport.

I usually only get to see them a couple of times a year. Usually once at Christmas and then around this time. I’ve gone out to Arizona in June several years when I’ve been on that side of the country already for conferences, and last year I met up with my family in San Diego in June. This year it didn’t look like I was going to make it out, but my nieces were asking when I was going to come visit again so it worked out well that I was able to go out and babysit for them. Now I just have to wait another six months or so to see them again.

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