I actually secretly love it when my nephews call me Mom by accident: "Hey Mom, I mean, Betty..." It makes me feel needed.
Taking care of kids is a great mystery to me, and each time I do it I am left with many good reasons why I want to be a mother, and many good reasons I'm glad I'm not.
My favorite parts, in no particular order:
1. T. (9) kissing me goodnight. I'm pretty sure I'm not very good at tucking in, but he doesn't seem to mind.
2. D. (11) displaying beautiful little acts of kindness that he thinks no one sees.
3. Laughing in the backyard with T. as Izzy (the dog with the nice blue eyes) digs in a muddy hole, turning her normally-white fur to brown. Cleaning her off afterwards was a different story.
4. The random questions--T. asked two good ones today:
-"If you gathered all the saliva your mouth made every day of your entire life, do you think it would be enough to fill a bathtub, a pool, or an ocean?" (I told him that was a disgusting question, but I guessed a pool and D. guessed an ocean; it was apparently a question from Kadoo, and T. didn't know the answer.)
-"What makes the oxygen and gravity stay in the earth?" (I explained about the atmosphere and ozone, then about how the earth was so big and spinning so fast that it had a gravitational field--I hope I gave the right answers. I think I did, because he then said, "So we're always being pulled towards the center of the earth, but this is as far as we go?")
I really wasn't expecting to answer those questions when I got up this morning.
5. The moments of uproarious laughter. I still maintain that D. has the best and most contagious laugh I have ever heard.
6. The sneaky cleverness. Aside from both of them taking full advantage of me not knowing every single rule of the house (and me mostly being okay with that), D. wanted five more dollars to buy a game, and kept asking if he could do something to earn it. I suggested he take care of the dishes, and he toyed with the idea for some time, but when he learned that I meant even the dishes piled up in the sink with the bits of leftover food stuck on them he said, "but that's disgusting!" Hmm, ya think? I also suggested vacuuming, and he actually got the vacuum out, but he never progressed further to the actual performing of the task.
7. The religious moments. I love reading and explaining the scriptures to kids because no matter how crazy it gets during the day, when you start talking about the gospel they settle down and pay attention.
8. The great times when they are just playing together and are smiling and having a good time.