My kids and I spent a week with my younger brother this summer. We flew out to New Orleans to see him, and all of us stayed in his little one bedroom, shotgun house. To some this might not sound like the ideal vacation, but everything worked out fine, and we all got along. It was one of the best vacations that I have had in a long time.
My brother Jim and I are very close, and he enjoys spending time with the kids and me. And he has been around the kids and active in their lives since the beginning.
But he is in his twenties, and he is single. Most of the time he lives a care-free, kid-free life, and this led to some funny moments and lively debates between the two of us during our vacation.
First there was the famous toilet paper incident. Towards the end of our stay with him he was shocked, and I mean SHOCKED, to find that all the toilet paper was gone. Jim just couldn’t believe that we had gone through two roles while we were there. Now think about this: there were five of us living at his house for a week (actually eight days), and he couldn’t believe that we would use two rolls of toilet paper in that time.
In all fairness, I was just as shocked that he was shocked. He was in such a state of disbelief that I decided to do a search on the internet for how much toilet paper a typical family of five uses in a week. After checking the facts (I love the internet for times like this), I found we were not toilet paper offenders, and we actually used less than most families of five. After a few minutes Jimmy and I laughed about the whole incident and chalked it up to him not having a family yet. It is now an inside joke between us and the kids, and he loved spending the rest of the trip telling the kids how he is only going to give each of his children one roll of toilet paper a month to use.
Another time during our visit with Jim we took a small road trip about three hours away. This long drive allowed my brother, the kids, and I to discuss and debate various topics. One topic we got on was booster seats. I am not sure what led to this discussion, but he had plenty to say about booster seats which led to car seats which led to children sitting in the front seat which somehow led to a talk about laws vs. personal happiness. It was a great debate that all the kids got involved in (even Decca via Deccanesse), and I got it all on video.
Here are a few excerpts:
I know I have said many things before I had kids that I wished I hadn’t. But the truth is you just don’t know much about parenting until you have kids. I am just glad no one was around to document all I said. Unfortunately for my brother that is not the case.