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Jewish Journal

Surrounded by Kids

by Elliot Steingart

June 25, 2013 | 9:36 am

Jake pre-bed time

I was surrounded by kids for an entire day. In a span of eight hours, I was kicked in the groin and nearly run over by a Fisher Price bicycle. All proof that the first day of summer is the longest day of the year.

These kids were more combative than a street gang out of “Warriors.” Before I could celebrate  Aunt Barb and Uncle Larry's 65th birthday party, I would need to get past 6 year cousin Quaydu—who told me he was 7--lecturing 4 year old Zoe about “good behavior.” This coming from the little boy wearing a Darth Vader Helmet. While becoming acquainted with the chips and salsa I heard a loud shriek.

“Mommy! Mommy!” cried Zoe as she laid on the grass.

The slide fell. Quaydu blamed the mechanics.

“Quaydu pushed me,” blamed Zoe.

I wanted to believe Quaydu but he was the one who ran down the steps charging me with a plastic sword. When I checked in on Quaydu upstairs he and 3 year old cousin Tyler were jumping around on the couch. When I tried to apprehend Quaydu, he escaped from my arms climbed from the top rope and lunged at me like Diamond Dallas Page extending his elbow down to my nether regions. I flipped Quaydu over my head and onto the couch. Then another little boy who I didn't know jumped on my back.

“At least introduce yourself before you put me in a sleeper hold.” I yelled to him.

Tyler now joined his older cousin Quaydu on the top rope in a tag team scenario. Roughhousing Ari and Josh's boys is more acceptable than me spear chucking the child of someone of no relation. I gently shoved him off the couch.

Wiping off sweat, in rushed in Zoe. “Mommy! Mommy!”

“Yes?” asked Laurie, her mother.

“Quaydu gave me chocolate.”

Smooth move by Quaydu. That's only a move you can get away with when you are 6 (turning 7). If you are a grown man you can not rough up a lady than give her a piece of chocolate and expect things to be okay.

I was glad to hear Josh's voice summoning me from the pool up to the balcony saving me the swarm of baby boomers dancing poolside. Josh's boys Tyler and Jake were drag racing tricycles. Trying to have a conversation with my older cousin Josh put me in a game of chicken with his boys. Tyler, at 3 years old, gave me a big hug. That's all he could do after I blocked him en route to the jacuzzi. 2 year old Jake veered past me. Tyler set the pick and Jake rolled until he got stuck near the jacuzzi and I had to let him free.

“I don't want to go back to Boulder,” Tyler confessed.

The sweet hearted cyclist now posed for a picture with his young brother, Jake.

Jake doesn't quite now how to talk, but he mumbles well enough to get by. Of all his words throughout the day, the only one I could make out was “fireman.” He and Tyler are both obsessed with firemen. Aunt Barb and Uncle Larry's friend, Joe whose arm was held by a sling, is a fire chief.

“Jake. Tyler. You see, Joe?” said Abby, Josh's wife. “Joe, is a fireman.”

Jake and Tyler looked up to Fireman Joe how at the age of 14 I looked up at Chris Rock when I met him at Stand Up New York. He was a real life hero.

“Do you know where to find the hose?” asked Tyler.

“Yes, and next time you are in town I will take you on the fire truck.” said Joe.

Joe would have really proved himself a hero if he could put these kids to bed. Quaydu and Zoe wanted to watch “A Bugs Life.” Tyler claimed he wasn't tired. Jake cried. It was a group effort to convince these kids it was bed time. Ari took Quaydu and Zoe into the other room. My dad read a bedtime story to Tyler. And Abby put Jake's bed in the bathroom. Everything worked except putting Jake's bed in the bathroom. He continued to cry. I can't blame him. I would cry too if I had to sleep in the bathroom.

Once the kids were put to bed Aunt Barb opened presents. The kids tired us out until I heard that Aunt Barb and Uncle Larry received a gift card from Leslie and Shlomo! I started laughing like a child.

"I need a friend named Shlomo to buy me a gift card."  I said.

I was then put in the bathroom.

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