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I just got back from watching after my two nieces ages 5 and 3. Because the weather happened to be warm when I packed, I arrived on a 20 degree day with a bag of tees and shorts. Guess I was a little over-enthusiastic for spring. Poor packing combined with my sister’s penchant for sub-zero temperatures indoors made for some very cold days wearing someone else’s giant pants.

Normally a run would have warmed me right up, but I don’t know how people squeeze runs in when they’re looking after young kids. Plus I was tired. I know there were only two of them, but I swear they were everywhere. When I closed my eyes it sounded like the house was crawling with them. When I retreated to the kitchen to make food hundreds of little footsteps came bounding up as soon as they heard the fridge open.

My sister returned home with her husband after a few days. They both had rosy cheeks and shiny hair. Clearly they’d slept uninterrupted by little furious fists. Did you know sleep punching is a thing? I, on the other hand, looked like one of those troll dolls with unbrushed hair and bulging feed-me eyes. There may have been a glob of peanut butter on my shirt somewhere.

I don’t know how parents do everything they manage to do every day. They probably start by not saying “yes” to everything and not entertaining kids’ every whim, I’m guessing. Still, hats off to parents. I asked my dad how he managed to have a life and career with four daughters and he laughed just like the survivors do at the end of horror movies.

As hard as it is to reign them in when we’re outside walking the dog and the 3-year-old goes running off to the playground and the 5-year-old starts practicing her cartwheels down a hill and I’m not sure who to go after first because my giant borrowed man pants are falling down, my nieces have me completely wrapped around their sticky fingers.

I just wish I had a few more tricks up my sleeve. We did have fun watching 80’s zombie movies at night. The little one is a mouthbreather so her zombie impressions are effortless.

Today was my first run in 4 days – the longest break I’ve taken in a while. Legs were super stiff and heavy, but cold rain that felt like tiny bits of hail provided some distraction. I already miss the little buggers, but I’m looking forward to small luxuries like brushing my hair, wearing my own pants and long, quiet runs.

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