Home Sweet Home Becomes Lord of the Flies
    by Christian Livemore

Sit down. I said sit down! Stop talking. Shh, quiet! Go outside and play! Close the door!
Don't spill that! Stop hitting your brother! Do you want to go to your room? Do you? Don't make me come in there!

Oh, sorry. I didn't mean to yell, but I'm in a zone. I'm in a zone where I yell the same disciplinary epithets 24 hours a day.
Why am I in this zone? Because all of a sudden, there are children in my house.

My sister just moved here from Connecticut with her three kids -- Joey, 7, Tati, 6 and Christopher, 5.
And while they are looking for an apartment, they are all staying in my house. Ha ha!

I don't have kids. I made a decision not to have kids. Kids require care. I've just recently learned how to take care of myself.
You think  I can handle kids? Ha ha!

It's been a long time since I've had young children around. Since my 16-year-old sister moved out, we're an adults-only house.
We watch movies where parental guidance is suggested and stay up until 4 in the morning and juggle knives. These are not
considered acceptable activities for pre-schoolers. My house is not child-proof. You can tell this because these children
managed to get into the house. No, seriously, all those plastic covers on the electrical outlets and locks on the cabinet doors
and not shooting guns indoors, we're not used to that.

We used to sleep late on Saturdays. We used to wake up at about 10 and make coffee and sit on the porch enjoying
the peace and the quiet and  the wind in the trees. Ha ha!

Now we wake up at 6 a.m. to the sound of "Cartoon Cartoons" on the  t.v. A little girl runs through her average everyday
house and then she goes down an elevator and winds up in some Batman-like laboratory and you see she's really a pint-sized
superhero. Then Joey, Tati and Christopher re-enact the entire cartoon in my house, mostly by standing over my bed and
screaming, "Come out of there, you evil mutant scientist, or I'll blast ya'!"

Our kitchen used to be relatively clean. Now every surface is  covered with some unidentifiable sticky substance.
We don't know what it is, but we notice that the children leave a trail of it wherever they go, like snails.

Our floors used to be uncluttered. Now there are approximately 752,000 crayons spread across them at any given time.
We leap our way across them from room to room like loggers on logs floating downriver. And we hardly ever fall. Ha ha!

We used to say things only once in my house. "Could you please hand me the remote?" And people responded.
Not anymore. Now we say things ten times before getting the desired result. "Get off the chair! Get off the chair!
Get off! Off, off, off, off, off, off, off!" This new reality has given me more respect for my grandmother. Lucky for her
I listened to her the first time, because basically she had nothing. If I hadn't taken her threats seriously, she would have
had to move out of the house.

We used to drink iced tea and lemonade and the occasional adult beverage in my house. Not anymore.
Now we drink juice out of little plastic containers with pictures of baby bears on them, and names like
Teenage Mutant Ninja Sponges with Square Pants who Fight Crime with their Powder Puff Girlfriends
While Leaving a Trail of Sticky Stuff Wherever We Go. You try understanding that when a five-year-old
asks you for it through a mouthful of Teenage Mutant Ninja Honey Comb or whatever.

And hey, has anybody considered that maybe there?s too much sugar  in kids' cereals? Just asking.
Instead of a toy surprise, maybe they ought to start including a needle and supply of insulin with every box.

I'm a professional journalist. I don't have time for this nonsense.
I have serious articles to write, articles with headlines such as "Cubans Try to Sail to Freedom in '51 Chevy."

The only peace we have now in my house is at the end of the night  when the kids have run all the sugar
out of their systems and fall asleep where they sit down.

The night he got here Christopher fell asleep in my lap. That was kind of nice. He was just kind of lying there peacefully,
breathing  rhythmically, his wispy blond hair quivering when he exhaled. Then my sister came into the room and picked him up.
I said, "He's all right, just let him sleep." And she said, "I don't want him to pee on you."
"No, I don't want that, either," I agreed and I let her take him. So much for that Hallmark moment.

Now every night the adults in my house hide out on the porch as long as possible, savoring a few precious moments of freedom
while inside, the demon children are momentarily distracted by Sponge Bob Square Pants, who lives in a pineapple under the sea
and flips burgers at the Crusty Crab. Until the three little faces appear at the window, their little noses pressed against the pane
and leaving a trail of slime on the glass. Then we let out a deep breath, rise slowly, and march inside to meet our terrible fate.

But every night when I come inside, Christopher says to me, "Auntie Chrissy, are you going to sit in the chair?"
So I sit in the chair and  he crawls up into my lap and falls asleep, and he?s just a sleeping child weary from
the days' adventures, and all is forgiven.

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