I am finishing up the last of my cup of morning coffee when I hear the first sound of life in this house. The soft thumping sound above tells me that my dear nephew is up and ready to get on with the day. It has suddenly gotten quiet when out of nowhere I hear a squeal followed by giggles and pounding footsteps."Help me!" I hear Jared yell as he continues running towards the stairs. " Jared, slow down before you get hurt." Lexi demands her footsteps not far behind. From the thumping footsteps on the stairs it seems like my nephew has no intention on listening to his mother. Quietly I walk to the entrance of the kitchen, waiting for the child to come closer. When he walks through the door I reach down and grab him, making him scream in surprise. " Auntie Allison! Hide me, mommy is coming for me!" He exclaims trying to wiggle free. " I don't know about that." I drag out slowly. " Please, she's trying to make me take a bath." Jared whispers making a face. " Is that so?" I ask him in mock surprise. " Yes! You have to save me." He declares still wiggling in my arms. " Nah, I think you need a bath, otherwise noone will want to play with you." I say trying to convince him. "Fine." He says giving in, allowing me to take him upstairs to his momma. " looking for an escape artist?" I ask my sister slight amused at the scene from earlier. " Uh, yeah. He needs a bath and I am running late for work." Lexi replies as she rummages through the dresser for clothes. " I could get him ready for you if you need to get going. I could even take him out for the day, keep him busy and have him worn out by bedtime if you want." I offer seeing the stress written all over my sister's face. "Are you sure? I mean I don't want to unload everything on you especially since you have only been here less than a day." She replies biting on her lip but relief showing. " Of course I'm sure. Maybe I could take him out for ice cream, the park, it'll let me have time to get to know him." I tell her. " Thank you, I owe you big time." Lexi says laying out the clothes she had chosen. " Jared, Aunt Allison is going to watch you today so be a good boy. I love you and I will see you tonight. And remember the rules ok." Lexi says at eye level with her son. " I promise mommy. I love you too." He replies hugging her. " Ok his clothes are on the bed, I already have a day bag packed with drinks and snacks and extra clothes. There's an extra booster seat in the hall closet. Thank you. Bye." Lexi explains hugging me then rushing out the door. "Jared, what are you doing?" I ask my nephew, amused. " I'm Santa Claus!" He exclaims bubbles all on his face making a mustache and beard. " Really now, aren't you a little early this year?" I ask him going along with his little game. " No! Silly, Santa needed a break." He exclaims, laughing excitedly. " Well Santa, I was thinking Jared and I might go out for ice cream and to the park. Do you think he's been a good boy and should be allowed to go?" I ask skeptically. " Of course he has. And his favorite flavor is raspberry white chocolate chip i cream." He yells out. " Well then I guess he should be getting out of the tub and dressed so we can be on our way." I say seriously. " Ok! I'm ready!" He screams stumbling as he jumps up. "Hold on, you need to get rid of all the bubbles first." I say laughing at him. "Auntie Allison?" Jared asks as we make our way down the street to the ice cream parlor one street over. " Yes Jared?" I ask looking both ways before have us cross the street. " Why have you never visited me afore?" He asks looking up at me. " Well, Something happened and it made me very sad. I left and just now came back." I reply trying to explain it in simple terms. " Are you still sad bout it?" He asks as we round the corner. " A little, but not too terribly. It was a long time ago." I tell him . " Ok." He replies dropping the subject. " Alright do you want to tell them your order?" I ask him as I open the door to the ice cream parlor. " Can I?" He asks his like poked out. " Sure, go on?" I tell him as I reach into his bad pulling out some money.
After ordering the ice cream, Jared and I make our way to the park. As he eats his ice cream which has started melting on his hands, he points out various places and people that he has come familiar with. Nearing the gate Jared hands me the empty ice cream cup and takes off into the park meeting up with a few kids his age leaving me alone. I head over to a bench and watch as he and the other children play.