My Family

Cousins

My sister’s kids – Alex’s cousins – Calvin and Natalie – are here this morning. They spent the night.

Right now they’re downstairs playing with Alex, which was the main activity for a good part of the night last night, too.

John was here as well, and he and Bill (mostly Bill) prepared dinner and I hung out in the kitchen with them while Calvin and Natalie and Alex played and shrieked with laughter downstairs for a couple of hours.

Calvin is eleven and Natalie is 8. Alex points from one to the other, saying “A-dat?!” – he hasn’t attempted to say their names yet, but he knows who is who.

Some day he will know they are his cousins. They are his first cousins, along with Bill’s nephews and niece – Ray, Ryan, Joe, and Lisa. But Calvin and Natalie are closest – of that tier of cousins – in age, as the others range from 21 to 17.

Of all the cousins, he currently knows Calvin and Natalie and Joe the best. Ray and Ryan are in Washington state with their parents, and Lisa lives in Florida with her parents. Joe is in the Air Guard, and when he’s home, he’s close by and stops in fairly often.

This morning Alex was awake at around 6:30. A bit too early for me – and I would have thought too early for Alex, too, considering he went to bed at least an hour or more past his normal bedtime. The rest of us were up even later. First Bill and John and I sat around the table talking while Calvin and Natalie hung out in the basement watching TV…then Natalie would appear silently, a slender little elf peeking around the edges of the doorways…and John would start discussing with Bill how tasty little girl brains were, and suggesting various ways of extracting them and cooking them…then he’d look over at Natalie and growl “brains!” and she’d shriek and disappear. But she kept coming back for more….

Then it was the requisite scary story time, which both kids demand, but Natalie always asks Bill to stop the story when it starts to become really scary. Bill and John tried to go into the ongoing saga of the “Madagascan Beast of Death” – a creature Bill created years ago – but Natalie of the extremely vivid imagination turned to me, her little face crumpled up in concern, and asked if what Bill and John were saying was true. I said to her “What do you think?” and her face relaxed. She knows Bill.

Yes, I know, I spoiled all the boys’ fun. But I have a pretty vivid imagination too, and I know that the Madagascan Beast of Death would linger in Natalie’s mind long after the lights went out….

So they turned, instead, to very very gross discussions of (pardon me) boogers and lugeys (I don’t know if that’s spelled right) and Bill did his imitation of the cat throwing up. It’s very accurate, unfortunately, and impressed the kids – and John – tremendously.

After John left, the final story of the night was a heartwarming tale of “Puke, the cat” – about a kitten who just wanted to find a place where she fit in. I won’t go into any more detail. It was pretty disgusting. But Calvin and Natalie loved it and went to bed happy.

This morning Alex was up at 6:30, as I mentioned, and we were in the kitchen around 6:45. Me trying to be quiet so as not to wake up the kids sleeping in the basement, and Alex loud and happy and playing with the regulation-sized soccer ball that John gave him as a Christmas present. It’s very loud when it bounces. And it’s heavier than the other balls in the collection. Alex took it to bed with him. I think his collection of plastic and rubber and nerf balls is his security blanket…..

Calvin appeared on the scene a little after 7 and kept Alex amused and entertained for about an hour, and now Natalie is awake too (it’s early for her) and they’re all downstairs watching “Looney Tunes.”

And now it is time for me to make breakfast. I’ve had requests for a scrambled egg sandwich and pancakes, so I’d better get moving.

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