In January, the two-year-old would announce he had to do wees or poos, and then he would stand, echoing the announcement, until someone told him to go to the toilet. If nobody was in the vicinity, he'd repeatedly scream, "I have to do wees," until someone replied. Once, I walked into the house to behold him standing in the kitchen screeching, "I have to go wees," on repeat.
"Go to the toilet, then!" I yelled back.
He ran to the bathroom trailing urine through his pants.
Another time, I heard him wailing, "I have to do wees." I was outside. When I entered the house a minute later, he had altered his declaration to, "I did wees." He screamingly restated, "I did wees," until I told him to stop yelling. He was standing in his own liquid waste.
In April, he turned three. By then, he was relieving himself in the bathroom, but rarely inside the toilet. His urine daily ornamented bathroom walls and floors. His secretions garnished any hanging hand towels. He would sit on the toilet seat and piss on the seat, but not inside the toilet bowl.
"You have to make sure your doodle aims into the bowl," I informed him, "Otherwise, your pee goes everywhere."
That was after I had walked into the bathroom because he was screaming my name. He was sitting on the toilet but couldn't control his penis and the direction it was spurting pee. A stream had attacked my legs. I smelled like I had intentionally bathed in urine.
The three-year-old considers himself a big boy. For seven months, he has told me, "I'm a big boy. My baby is a baby." He has a ten-month-old brother. This month, he realized that real big boys and real men pee standing up. Only little boys piss sitting down.
One afternoon when I picked him up from kindy - New Zealand's version of American pre-school - he whispered to me, "I did standing-up wees." His face looked like it had been injected with happy pills. His skin glowed. Five minutes later, I grasped that his face was just wet with pee from his roaming penis.
This morning, the three-year-old screamed, "I'm doing standing-up wees, I'm doing standing-up wees, I'm doing standing-up wees," as he sprinted for the bathroom. His mom was standing next to me. She looked like he had just confirmed that he had raped a sheep.
"Don't do wees standing up," she yelled, chasing him, "Don't do wees standing up."
I followed her, naturally.
We entered the bathroom to see his underwear and pants at his feet, marinating in piss. Pee eclipsed the bathroom. It looked like the atomic bomb of piss had exploded. Everywhere.
The mom sighed and said, "You're not big enough to do standing-up wees."
"My doodle's tiny," the three-year-old replied.
"Yes," his mom agreed. "Daddy says you have to wait until your doodle's longer before you do standing-up wees."
When I was young and fat, I sewed. I owned a sewing machine, but also mastered the hand sewing running and whip stitches. I would arm myself with a mayonnaise, Pringles, and American cheese sandwich, decline into pillows more cushioned than my stomach, turn on the television, and sew. I fashioned stuffed animals and pillows. I spawned Christmas ornaments and aprons. I haven't sewn in fifteen years.
I boomed into the house Sunday morning radiating booze and bad decisions. I smelled like an Irish pub after the last passed-out alcoholwhore has been rolled onto the sidewalk.
Upon glimpsing my existence at the door, a screaming chorus of, "Kara, let's make stuffed animals!" greeted me. The parents were in Australia. There were four children. I staggered to the refrigerator and shoved my head into the freezer.
When I emerged from freezer revival, I suggested watching a movie.
"We're sewing stuffed animals," the seven-year-old announced as she marched between the pantry and kitchen table, issuing thread, felt, and needles like an arts and crafts store on crack.
"Let's play hide-and-seek," I proposed.
"Stuffed animals," they yelled. The three-year-old clapped his hands.
"You don't want to jump on the trampoline?"
"Stuffed animals," they shrieked.
"We could go in the pool?"
"Stuffed animals," they howled.
"What about the sand pit? Or the monkey bars? We could go across the street to the playground?"
"Stuffed animals," they screeched. The five-year-old cried.
The seven-year-old declared that we were making stuffed animals, and everyone was now ready except for me.
I almost cried. Instead, I folded a white piece of paper in half and drew a teddy bear outline. I cut it out and then elevated it for approval from the little tyrants.
"The ears are too big," the five-year-old wailed like as if I had turned on the blender with her hand inside.
I made another.
"The arms have to be bigger," the seven-year-old demanded.
My brain sobbed. I popped four Advil.
Within twenty minutes I had cut eight teddy bear sides from four different colored felts. Twenty-one minutes later, the children got bored. My fingers were sewing with the speed of a ninety-year-old with severe ADD. The seven-year-old sighed that it was taking so long. I had only sewn one quarter of one bear. She decreed it was time for morning tea. They dragged the little kid table and chairs from the playroom to the living room. The table scratched the wooden floors. I distributed muffins and bottles of juice and water by tossing them across the room. I continued sewing. After tea time, the little terrorists launched a united destruction campaign. The seven-year-old brought the bunny into the house. The five-year-old retrieved her respective collections of dolls, fairies, My Littlest Pet Shop, and stuffed animals. She dispersed them around the living room. In attempts to hold his favorite movie, Cars, the three-year-old dislocated twenty other movies. They fell from the shelf onto his head. The baby sobbed when a toy car collided with his skull. I inhaled more Advil, hurled the baby into his crib, and then sewed.
Three hours later, I exhaled exhaustion and relief. I had sewn and stuffed four teddy bears. I interrupted the shrieking and crying ruptures to tell them their stuffed animals were ready. I presented the seven-year-old with a pen and her bear.
"You can draw a face or an outfit on your bear, whatever you want," I said.
I then shuffled into the adjoining room to pick up the toy explosion, DVD's, and bunny feces. I returned to the kitchen three minutes later. The seven-year-old had drawn in permanent pen on all four of the bears. She had drawn nipples and penises.
When I arrived in New Zealand in January, the seven-year-old I look after didn't like changing in public. At the beach, she requested I hold a towel around her while she changed. She called it a changing circuit. Simultaneously, her five-year-old sister dug a hole in the sand and pissed in it with hundreds of onlookers.
The seven-year-old was an innocent cherub. Now she's crafty and sexually curious. In the past week, she's mentioned penises to me. She's asked why I have smaller boobs than her daddy. She's said the word fuck. One of her relatives recently told me she's probably going to be a tramp in eight years.
Once a week, I drive the girls to swimming lessons. This week, they beseeched their mom to take them.
"All Kara does is read or sleep. She doesn't even watch us," they moaned.I don't watch them because, with my 20/400 vision, I can't tell which ones they are. The last time I smiled and made eye contact with one of the swimmers, it was with a particularly feminine boy. I thought it was one of the girls. The other reason I don't watch them is because watching arms and backs progress up and down lap pool lanes isn't fantastically captivating. I'd rather sleep at swimming to avoid falling asleep while driving home. I've crashed into a curb with the girls in the car before. I woke up to them screaming.
Their mom wanted to spend time with her son, the eldest child. Instead of going to the lesson, she supplied me with a camera and instructions to take photos. I took seven sweeping photos of the pool, encompassing every swim group in the place. I assume the girls were in some of them. I then fell asleep sitting up.
During the drive home, the five-year-old cried because the seven-year-old told her she couldn't be in a club that she had yet to create. The seven-year-old screamed because her sister took off her shoe and threw it at her. The five-year-old bawled when her sister said her best friend was their three-year-old brother. I gave them the camera to review the pictures I had taken. My brain waves then ceased conscious thought. I drifted into the awake yet detached state of being that has evolved over the past seven months of babysitting five children.
Five minutes later, when I again became responsive, I realized that the seven-year-old had been taking photos. Of her bare ass. When I confiscated the camera, the five-year-old shrieked that she hadn't had a picture taken of her posterior yet.
"It's not fair," she cried.
Before I returned the camera to the mom, I inspected and deleted the photos. The beginning ones were of the car's interior, then through the window shots of passing bicyclists, a tree, and the street, followed by the inside of their mouths, their baby breasts, and the seven-year-old's ass. One was of her vagina.
One of my friends has 20/10 vision. Last year, the US Navy recorded my eyesight at 20/400.
My eyes commenced their eventual decline into blindness when I was twelve. At thirteen, one of my teachers assembled a desk for me and stationed it four feet away from the blackboard. The desk was a cardboard box. I sat on the classroom floor. By nineteen, my friends rarely allowed me to drive my own car. My vision equates that of an inebriated mole. Anyone with superior optics than me is a driving legend. It's not hard to accomplish.
Upon my arrival in New Zealand as a laborer for a family with five children, the mom divulged that if I stayed a year, they would pay for LASIK eye surgery. The dad is one of the leading opthamologists in the country. They would give me the gift of sight. So, I stayed. I endured through vomit in my hair and clothes. I persisted after holding child excrement in my hands. I continued through screaming fights, punches, and kicks. I've been scratched and bitten. I wanted free corrective eye surgery.
Three years ago, an initial LASIK consult in California revealed that I wasn't a candidate. My corneas are too thin. The mom assured me that New Zealand has the leading LASIK technology in the world. The Eye Institute would fix my eyes.
I went to the consultation as hopeful as the time I returned home to find a new car in the driveway. With a bow. I was sixteen and my dad had called me back. My brother was filming. I shrieked the cry of a girl in ecstasy for five minutes. And then my dad told me it was a rental car while his car was at the mechanics.
During one of the many eye tests, I looked into a machine. Everything was black, except for a red laser light that attacked my eyes with mad-dog persistence. My eyes watered. Without stopping. For five minutes. The optometrist couldn't obtain a clear read. However, twenty minutes later, he announced that the combination of my corneas and eyesight rendered operation impossible. My corneas are too thin, and my eyesight too bad. He wouldn't operate on me for three million dollars. I'd probably be blind after the surgery.
I sighed and drove to the preschool to pick up the three-year-old.
When he saw me, he fired his arms around my neck and asked, "Are your eyes still broken?"
The following week at Mini Titans, the little boys jumped off the stage, tackled each other, and rocketed objects at each other's heads. After a ball collided with the three-year-old's temple, he lay prostrate on the floor. I was concerned for his brain and concussion possibility.
As I elevated myself from the bench to check the little boy for traumatic head injury, Coach screamed at him, "Are you a sissy? Are you a little girl?"
When the three-year-old didn't move, I began jogging towards his debilitated limbs.
Coach yelled, "You're a little girl who wears pink undies," and the three-year-old launched into the air.
"I am not," he cried. "They're stripeys!"
He nosedived his pants to the floor, revealing green and blue striped underwear.