Sobrinas (Nieces)

After a chaotic game of Hundir La Flota (Battleship) against the 12 year old, which I narrowly won, (I was so close to cheating) Lola left to take the 9 year old to ballet class.


“I’ll be back in 20 minutes. You gonna be OK with these two?” She motioned to the 12 year old and the 7 year old. They were sitting at our dining room table drawing and coloring and humming to themselves.

“It’s all under control.”

“Dejad de hablar en guachi-guachi,” (“Stop speaking in English,”)  said the 7 year old. 

“He entendido todo,” (“I understood everything,”)  said the 12 year old smugly.

I grabbed a book and flopped down on the sofa.

Thirty seconds later: “¡Oye! ¡Eso es mío!” (“Hey! That’s mine!”) The 12 year old started grabbing up all the colored pencils.

“Julia, deja tu hermana pequeña en paz.” (“Julia, leave your little sister alone.”)

Things calmed back down and I thought, This is gonna be a piece of cake. I could do this… I could be a father.

Then the 7 year old proclaimed, “¡Tengo que hacer pis!” (“I have to pee!”) and ran to the bathroom.

Not five seconds later she yelled, “Uh-oh!”

The 12 year old walked over and opened the bathroom door. “¡¿Pero, qué has hecho?!” (“But, what have you done?!”)

She ran into the living room and shouted, “¡Tío Kris, tienes que ver esto!” (“Uncle Kris, you have to see this!”)

I went over, opened the bathroom door, and there was the 7 year old, absolutely covered in pee. She didn’t make it to the toilet before her bladder decided enough was enough. The wet spot had defied gravity and the front of her dress, nearly up to her neck, was soaked.

I said, “¡No te muevas!” (“Don’t move!”) and did what any responsible uncle would do in that situation: I sent the 12 year old next door to ask her grandmother what the hell we should do.

Of course, the 12 year old is a 12 year old. So, from her grandmother’s front door to her grandmother’s living room she got distracted. Her attention was redirected to whatever was happening on the television, plus the fact that there were some cookies on a tray, and she forgot why she was sent over there in the first place.

After a couple of minutes her grandmother asked, “¿No deberías estar con tío Kris?” (“Aren’t you supposed to be next door with uncle Kris?”)

Then she remembered, “¡Pilu se ha hecho pis encima!” (“Pilu peed all over herself!”)

When she eventually came back over to our place I asked, “¿Qué ha dicho la abuela?” (“What did your grandmother say?”)

The 12 year old just shrugged and asked, “¿Por qué no tenéis tele o galletas en vuestra casa?” (“Why don’t you have a TV or cookies in your house?”)

“Así no venis a visitarnos.” (“So you kids won’t come over to visit us.”)

She stuck her tongue out at me and resumed drawing pictures at the dining room table.

I opened the bathroom door again. The 7 year old was sitting on the floor, naked, singing to herself. She looked up at me and made a goofy face.

“¿Me regalas esto?” (“Can I have this?”) She held up an old toothbrush that an overnight guest had left under the sink a couple of years ago.

“Todo tuya.” (“It’s all yours.”)

“¡Gracias!”  She was delighted.

I pointed my finger at her mock sternly. “¡No te muevas!”


best gift ever

I grabbed my phone and called Lola. She said she’d stop by her sister’s place and pick up some fresh clothes for the 7 year old on her way home. (Everything is within 10 minutes walking distance in this town. It’s great.)

Just as I was hanging up, my sister-in-law, Ana, arrived. She looks after the little mutants on a regular basis so she knew what to do. She wrapped the 7 year old in a big towel, threw the wet clothes in a plastic bag, and took the two of them next door to abuelita’s apartment where they could zombie out in front of the TV and eat junk food until their mother arrived. Meanwhile, I hit the sofa and got stuck back into my book, Gold Rush: The Journals, Drawings, & Other Papers of J. Goldsborough Bruff.

Moral of the story: Don’t leave your kids with tío Kris. He’s completely useless.


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