The Fack Family
My family in August 2007

Noel and I said “yes” to Brian and Darcie.

For those of you who don’t know, my Dad and Mom have a company of manufacturers’ representatives. That company consists of my Dad, my Mom, my brother Brian, my sister-in-law Darcie and my brother Jeremy.

Now, today, they had a meeting with a woman named Brenda from one of the companies they represent. She flew in to show them different basic bits and pieces about lamps they sell.

So, Darcie and Brian asked Noel and me if we could watch Gavin, their 2-year-old-in-December son. Of course, we said yes, not thinking it’s been about 20 years since I’ve changed a diaper.

A few days prior, Noel and I went shopping with Grandma and Mom at Woodfield Mall and found some Duplo Legos, those big for-2-and-up Lego blocks. One was a fire truck with a flashing light and siren, the other a box of assorted Legos. So we bought those for him, and thank God we did, because that kept him busy for a few hours.

Unfortunately, children his age get tired. And crabby. Real fast. So I tried to put him to sleep with no avail. He cried and pouted and screamed and I thought that it would be best to let him stay up to tire himself out. Not the right thing to do!

He only got more crabby and more rambunctious and whatever either Noel or I tried to do to settle him down only distracted him for a few minutes.

In the end, Brian came out of the meeting to put Gavin into the crib. I felt totally awful that he had to do that because I was such a crap babysitter that I couldn’t plonk Gavin into the crib and walk away.

Gavin cried. He screamed. “Mama! Dada!” And he went on and on for about 15 minutes until a period of silence between crying and yelling ensued. Then another. And then the silence was more than the screaming and he fell asleep.

I, more than Noel, was relieved. And the nap lasted extremely long… about 2 hours, I think. Of course, I was worried — it is my brother’s child after all — and Noel was probably laughing at me about it. But… I’d rather be safe than sorry.

We got Gavin out of bed when he woke up — he kicks the wall when he wakes up — and Noel said, “I think you need to change his diaper”. There was pee on the back of his shorts, and when I got the diaper off, it weighed more than Gavin (Yes, I did check it before he went to bed. Yes, it was dry then). Lesson being never give a boy 2 juice boxes before he goes to take a nap.

The meeting ran over by about 2 hours. Noel and I were at a loss as what to do. I took Gavin out for a few minutes to find, to my delight, a construction crew working on a burst pipe at the intersection. We walked down there, his sticky hand (from his ring pop) grabbing mine. He was mesmerized. Digger trucks. Dump trucks. Construction workers.

I thought Noel might be getting worried so I tried to get Gavin back to the house so we could get Noel, but Gavin kept stopping to watch the construction. I thought, we have a winner here.

We got Noel quickly and got Gavin’s stroller and walked down to a shady part (as it was extremely hot) to watch the Village Public Works fix the pipe. And Gavin was enthralled. 45 minutes of the best free entertainment you could get.

In the end, we took a walk. He enjoyed that, and we enjoyed watching him. I think Gavin is more fond of Noel but I could be wrong. He is such a sweet kid!

Darcie asked me if babysitting Gavin has made me reconsider having children of our own after the disastrous Jamie fiasco. I’m absolutely stuffed, as I’m sure Noel is. Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t know!

Not an Old Fogey

Okay, I think my life is getting stranger as I get older.

Years ago, as a teenager, my parents annoyed me at times. They would repeat themselves and I’d get around to doing that when I had the time. God forbid they overhear my conversation on the phone; it wasn’t top secret but they were adults… they couldn’t possibly remember being my age. That pile of clothes on the floor would get cleaned up soon but I knew where everything was so why change the status quo? Yeah, my Mom would nag me if I had done something, repeating herself every time I saw her, i.e. “Did you speak to Mrs Smith about the wrong mark on your algebra test?”

I just didn’t think they understood.

Now, about 16 years later, I feel like I’m in the same role as my parents.

For those of you who don’t know, Noel’s nephew Jamie is living with us part-time, i.e. weekends although this week he has been with us from last Friday to this Sunday (of course he is more than welcome to stay as long as he likes). He’s 16, very well brought up and very well mannered. Unlike some teenage boys, Jamie answers questions and doesn’t grunt them: in my book, a big plus. He’s a really nice guy, and I have plenty of time for him.

Today, I was folding laundry in our bedroom and I got the giggles. Jamie was in his room, door firmly closed, talking to one of his friends on the phone. I thought, “Boy does Fate or God or whoever or whatever have a good sense of humour or what?”

I’ve been nagging him about his locker at school. Has he got it yet? No? Why not?

“I didn’t go through the pile of clothes on your floor to see if you had any more laundry because I didn’t want to pry.”

“Make your bed in the morning.”

“Help me with the dishes.”

And then it occurred to me.

Holy God, I so sound like my parents when I was Jamie’s age. Should I be scared? Am I an old fogey? Is it funny? Will it get worse? Will I lose my patience? Will I overstep the line? Where is the line? Will he tell me, get stuffed, you’re not my dad or mum?

(Well, on that last note, he would not say that. He’s too well brought up to say that.)

It’s scary. I don’t know how far to go. And then I realise, is this how my parents felt as I pushed into the teenage years? Should my parents be nominated for sainthood?

So I wrote my parents today to say…