It’s been eight hours since I got here.  This is further proof that no good deed ever goes unpunished.

I have a cat and a dog who keep me much busier than I ever thought I could be.  I have no idea how you parents do it with even one child.  Today there were two.

As you might remember, I prefer quadrupeds – for good reason.

My nephews are two well-behaved boys, two and seven.  My wife and I are trying to lend a hand, as our sister-in-law is undergoing chemotherapy.  I don’t want to overstate my contribution: my job was to back up my wife and try to keep the younger child from dismembering my laptop.  On the surface, this wouldn’t seem like a formidable job.  In reality, however, it was exhausting.

His first discovery was, surprisingly enough, the cd/dvd tray.  He figured out how to open it, then shut it, then open it again.  This provoked squeals of delight for fifteen minutes.  Also completely enthralling was a really bad linux screensaver, featuring snowflakes.  He is the only person I have ever met who kept trying to make the screensaver come up and got mad when it went away.

My wife got smart a few hours into the job by developing a migraine.  I must be certain to work on this ability to see if I have any innate talent.  With my luck, I’m figuring no.

We took turns trying to divert the kids’ attention from Dad’s whereabouts, as the younger one’s favorite phrase is `where’s Dad?’  He also has the rare ability to locate potentially injurious objects, particularly knives, from across the room.  While I was cooking, he picked up a sharp knife from the counter and announced, “Knife.”

Yes it was.

The alarm announces whenever the front door opens.  This means `Daddy’, which was a shame because my wife goes outside for a cigarette too frequently.  And I’m a huge disappointment, as I’m just the guy who shows up with Favorite Aunt.  Both kids look virtually through me to see if their aunt is behind me.

I also learned that possession is nine-tenths of the choice.

DAD: Want a banana?

BABY: NO.

DAD: [putting banana in other hand]  Want a banana?

BABY: NO.

MOM: [now with banana]  Want a banana?

BABY: Yes.

The older child is not without his charms either.  He enjoys his WeeWee.  You know, the video game.  In fact, I suspect he’s got a bit of an issue with it, as he was mad at his friend for wasting his time watching a movie when he could be playing Wee.

Thou shalt not come between a child and his WeeWee Time.

As he danced merrily in front of the television, we realized that the apple did not fall far from the tree.  His father, my youngest brother, used to obscure the television and dance when he was little too.

It was frequently necessary to almost restrain my sister-in-law, who is not one to let a little cancer (and treatment) get in her way.  One can try to help but one doesn’t always succeed.

This will happen again next weekend.

I don’t know how you people do it, even without cancer.