Chapter 31: Built In Babysitter
“Your sister’s moving back to town,” Mrs. Moore said out of the blue one Monday afternoon.
“Really,” Joey replied, “Why?”
“Jameson has an internship at the hospital,” she replied. “Aren’t you glad that Michael’s moving back?”
“I guess,” Joey said. Michael had been gone for five years. When they were little, they always did stuff together. Joey had not heard from him in the past five years while his father, Jameson, was away at medical school. “He’s a sophomore, isn’t he?”
“I believe he’s a junior,” she replied. “I think he got bumped up a grade in middle school.”
“Great,” Joey said, Michael was his nephew and was two grades ahead of him. “How old are the girls now?”
“Let me see,” she paused, “Emma is 10, Jehn is 7, and Meghan is 5. I’m sure Miriam will need your help with her.”
A week later, Joey couldn’t believe he was sitting in Amarea’s living room with his niece.
“I can’t believe you agreed to baby-sit,” Joey said. His sister wanted a night out. Amarea was excited to see Meghan again, so she offered to help. Michael was watching the older girls, but Meghan was apparently a “handful” according to Miriam.
“Why?” Amarea replied. “She’s adorable.” She scooped Meghan into her lap and turned on the television.
“Can we watch CSI?” Meghan asked.
Amarea laughed, “That’s a big people’s show. What if we watched some cartoons?”
“Boring,” Meghan said rolling her eyes.
“Ok,” Amarea said, “How about Iron Chef America?”
“What’s that?” she asked.
“A show as exciting as watching paint dry,” Joey said.
“Cool,” she replied, “Let’s watch it!” Amarea laughed.
I like this kid, Amarea smiled.
You would. Joey rolled his eyes.
Halfway through the show, Meghan announced she was tired. Joey scooped her up and rocked her until she fell asleep. He put her on the love seat and covered her with a blanket. Powder jumped up and curled up beside her.
You’re good with kids, Amarea said.
I guess, Joey shrugged.
You’d make a great dad, Amarea said.
I don’t know about that, Joey blushed.
You would, Amarea blushed.
Whatever, Joey shrugged. Can we watch something else?
Sure. Amarea switched the channel, a grin breaking out across her face.
“Argh!” Joey said, “This is worse than paint drying.” The announcer stated the next few hours of Joey’s life would be spent watching reruns of Happy Days. “This show is so old!”
“It’s the best,” Amarea said.
Amarea fell asleep after the second episode. Joey dozed off somewhere after the fourth.
“Ahem,” Miriam said, startling both Joey and Amarea awake. Joey reached for Meghan, only to find she wasn’t there. “Ya’ll might need to take some tips on babysitting a five year old.”
“Where is she?” Joey asked, looking around groggily.
“In the kitchen,” she said. “Eating ice cream,” she paused, “And cookies, and ham, and cereal, and pudding.”
“What!” Joey and Amarea said together. They rushed to the kitchen. Meghan sat on the floor with a spoon in one hand and a cookie in the other. Powder sat beside her innocently licking his paw full of ice cream.
“I was hungry,” she said. Tears welled in her eyes when she saw her mother.
“Don’t even start,” Miriam said, “Let’s clean up this mess!” Meghan had managed to taste everything in the fridge. Several boxes of cereal had been opened. Meghan poured herself four big bowls with milk. The ham for Sunday’s dinner was on the floor.
“It was heavy,” Meghan admitted.
It took almost 45 minutes to clean up the kitchen. Amarea was surprised her parents had slept through the whole ordeal. That was until she saw the digital pictures printing on the printer as she headed off to bed. There were pictures of her sound asleep, of a sleeping Joey, and a play by play gallery of Meghan’s adventures in the kitchen.
Apparently, she needed some tips on babysitting a five year old.