Being Judged by the Cover
“Lauren,” someone said shaking me gently, “Time for bed.”
“But I like it here,” I mumbled.
“Trust me, you’re gonna miss you bed after a few weeks on the road. And the baby’s already woken up and been fed tonight.” Patrick pulled me to my feet and led me down the hall.
The next morning I woke up with Collin and Alison, I told Patrick I could handle it and to go back to bed. He looked worn out. Once breakfast was out of the way and the kids were dressed, I woke Patrick up to watch the kids as they watched tv and I took a shower.
“Who wants to go to the playground?” I asked.
Alison was all over it. Could she bring her new jump rope? Could they go on the swings? Was Collin coming? How about Uncle Patrick and Andy?
“Why don’t you go ask Andy if he wants to go? He’s in that room right down the hall.” I said pointing to where Andy must have gone when the rest of the guys left.
She scampered down the hall as I went into the kitchen to pack a bag. The next thing I heard was a scream. I dropped the bag on the counter and ran down the hall, Patrick with Collin in his arms right behind me. There was Andy with Alison up in the air making her fly around the room.
“Oh my goodness that scared me,” I said after I realized what had actually happened.
“Me, too.” Patrick said.
“Time for the park?” Alison said as Andy put her down.
“Yes,” I said taking her hand, “Are you coming Andy?”
“Three minutes.” He said shooing us out.
Andy pushing the stroller and Alison hanging on to Patrick on one side and me on the other, we walked down the street to the town playground. Luckily all the teen girls were in school and none of the adults recognized Andy or Patrick. Me, on the other hand, I kept getting weird looks from a group of mothers, some I knew and some I didn’t. I chose to ignore it. Alison and I ran up and down the play structure and slid down the slide. After a while it was Andy’s turn. While they played on the monkey bars I went to go get a drink from the vending machine. On my way back, one of the mothers beckoned me over.
“Lauren Childs, is that you?” Mrs. Reino asked, I taught her daughters at dance camp.
“Yes ma’am.” I replied.
“Why, I wasn’t aware that you were married! Which one of those…young men is your husband.”
I was confused. “Neither one of them are.”
When she gave me a disapproving look, I realized what she meant. I burst out laughing. “Oh no…hahaha…” Once I regained composure I continued. “They aren’t my kids. My brother Evan? He’s a manager for this band, and one of the members recently gained custody of his niece and nephew, and they needed a nanny.”
“Oh thank heavens.” She replied, “I didn’t think you were that type of girl.”
“No ma’am,” I said trying to hide my smirk.
“I’ll see you around, Mrs. Reino.”
“Have a nice day, dear.”
I contained my laughter until I got back to the bench. I exploded. “What’s so funny?” Patrick asked. I explained to him the situation. He laughed.
After another hour or so of playing it was time to head back to the house for lunch. Then the baby took a nap while Andy played outside with Alison. I was going through my stuff and making a list of what I needed to buy when Krissy forced me to go shopping later. I then cleaned the kitchen up from lunch and ran the dishwasher. I had just sat down next to a sleeping Patrick on the couch when Collin started to cry.
I sighed and started to get up, only to be held down by Patrick’s arm. “I got it,” he said, “don’t worry about it.”
I sat back and closed my eyes. The baby stopped crying and Patrick brought him into the room. “Bottle,” I said opening my eyes. He nodded and set the baby down on the rug with a few toys.
“Um, Lauren?” Came his voice a few minutes later.
I picked up the baby and went into the kitchen. “What is it?”
He looked up at me with a bottle and no top. “Uh…I haven’t had to do this yet…”
I smiled and opened a new package of bottles. I handed him one with a top. “What do you think you do next, Mr. Mom?”
He looked wildly around the kitchen. “Formula?” he asked hopefully.
“And?” I asked, jiggling the baby on my hip as he started to fuss a little bit more.
“Right. The directions for how much is on the package. You have a six ounce bottle.”
He measured out the powder and mixed the bottle carefully. Then he stuck it into the microwave and read the package again and entered a time.
“Very good.” I smiled at him. Just then the house exploded with activity.
“UNCLE JOEY!!!!!!! UNCLE PETE!!!!!!!!!!!” Alison yelled as she ran through the back door and the front door opened. She collided with Pete and Joe.
“Hey little.” Joe said giving her a hug.
Pete picked her up and spun her around which caused her to squeal. Joe continued into the house so Evan and Krissy could come in.
Joe came into the kitchen and stole the baby from me who was now screaming because of all of the excitement. “Hey there.”
“Patrick made a bottle.” I said beaming and ruffling Patrick’s hair. “He’s all growed up.” Joe laughed and I left the room.
“Hey Ev, hey Kris.”
“Ready for shopping?” Krissy asked me excitedly.
“I guess,” I said smiling, “I made a list.”
“Uggh you and your lists.” She rolled her eyes. “Me too,” she laughed, “You ready to go?”
“Let me go say bye, then sure.” I went back into the kitchen and did just that.
In the car and we were off.
Remember my threat =) love love