These kids are something else, thought Alexis. Sitting on her queen-sized bed half-submerged in the covers she listened for the sounds of the little feet scampering down the hall. They’d been home from trick or treating for thirty minutes and she still couldn’t coax the twins out of their Halloween costumes. They were so hopped up on candy it would be a time getting them to sleep tonight. Alexis had given up for the moment and retired to the comfort of her favorite down comforter. Her twins Shannon and Simon were just about to turn three years old and they were a handful. They had distinctly different personalities but played off of each other. This year they had been a princess and iron man for Halloween. She already knew she’d have to pry the princess gown off of Shannon while she slept or there would be no peace in the how tonight. Alexis thought back to her youth, how she’d loved dressing up for Halloween and how much fun she’d had growing up with her sister and trick or treating together. She was happy that her kids were having as much fun as she’d had growing up but that had been a different time. There were crazy people around now. People that didn’t have any gumption about hurting kids so they only went to the houses of the people she knew in the neighborhood. Every other year her friend Janet threw a kid's Halloween party in her backyard and set up trick or treat stall manned by the other parents so the kids could all trick or treat in one area. Unfortunately, this was not one of those years so Alexis had to load up the kids and walk the neighborhood. Her two oldest could barely be bothered to dress up anymore, they were teenagers now but at least they helped with the kids. She knew she had two extra sets of eyes to keep watch for the rambunctious toddlers. After they’d come home from trick or treating the two older kids left to meet their friends and Alexis took a moment to relax in bed. That is until it got quiet. Normally you would think that silence was a welcome treat with toddlers but this early before bedtime silence meant mischief. Alexis roused herself from her comfy bed and walked down the hall. “Shannon, Simon…where are you?” she asked to no response. Her bedroom was on the second floor adjacent to the twin's room. Walking in she saw that they had been jumping on the bed but neither child was anywhere to be seen. She ran and checked their sibling's rooms but they were not there either. All the bathrooms on the floor were also clear and the only place left was the laundry closet that housed the washer and dryer. It was a double door closet that had a small table where she could fold clothes and shelves that kept the clean towels. It was also where she had hidden the rest of the Halloween candy! Alexis had given the twins five pieces each to ration the amount of sugar they consumed tonight. It would be hard enough getting them to sleep with the excitement of the night she didn’t need them on a sugar high as well. The thought of them pounding handfuls of sugar was terrifying. She ran to the closet and immediately heard a definitive giggle that she knew to be Simon’s. Opening the door she found both children sitting on the bottom shelf with chocolate smeared on their faces. “Oh. My. God. How did you even get to the candy, it was on the top shelf hidden behind towels.”
“We saw you, mama,” giggled Shannon.
“I climb,” said Simon as he laughed out loud.
“Give it here,” said Alexis. She was too tired to be angry. Looking into the basket that contained the candy it looked like they had just gotten started so maybe she could still get them to sleep at a regular time. “That was very naughty of you. Santa will take notice and put you on his list,” said Alexis.
A look of abject horror crossed Shannon’s face as she started to weep, “I’m sorry mama.”
Simon on the other hand smirked and said, “I’m still a good boy, look I share,” as he handed a hard candy to his mom.
She tried her hardest not to smile before taking the basket from them and leading the twins to the bathroom to clean them up. “It is bath time, you are covered in chocolate,” In truth, Shannon only had chocolate on her face, somehow she’d not gotten a smear of candy anywhere on her princess gown. Simon, on the other hand, looked like he’d rolled around on the floor of a chocolate factory. It looked like he’d gotten more on him than in his mouth. He clenched both fists and yelled, “BATH TIME!” Simon was a good kid, he was excited about life and emphatically charged into every situation. Shannon was the more reserved one. She was intelligent and cautious. She took her time to think things through. Simon was naked and waiting for the bubbles in five seconds while Shannon wouldn’t part from her princess gown. “I’m a Princess, mommy,” she said.
“I know baby but even princesses have to take a bath. First bath time then since you did such a good job keeping your dress clean you can put it right back on, ok?” replied Alexis.
“Ok, mommy,” said Shannon.
After coaxing Shannon out of the princess dress Alexis tested the temperature of the running water to make sure it wasn’t too hot. Simon already had an armful of bath toys while Shannon held a single rubber duck. When she was satisfied the water was the right temperature and not too high a level, Alexis helped each child into the tub and began to scrub them one by one. Shannon played with her duck, allowing it to swim among the bubbles while Alexis cleaned her brother. Once he was sufficiently clean and Alexis moved on to wash Shannon, Simon proceeded to have a battle for dominion between his two ships and the armada of floaty toys. He splashed and made shooting noises as the fleet sunk beneath the waves of bubbles. Once both children were clean Alexis rinsed them off and dried them, Shannon immediately climbing back into her gown and Simon staying still just long enough to put on underoos and a tee-shirt before darting out of the bathroom and running to his mom’s room.
“Let’s follow your brother,” she said to Shannon. “YOU BETTER NOT BE JUMPING-ON THAT BED!” yelled Alexis from down the hall. Listening, she heard the bed relax after her threat.
Walking into the bedroom she found Simon standing still on the bed. “Mommy, please one more candy. It’s How-ween,” he said.
“It’s Hal - lo - ween, Simon,” she replied. He tried again but said the same thing. “Ok, it's still early but just one more piece.” Holding out the basket to both children they took a piece from the stash but Alexis noticed a funny wrapper on the one that Simon held. “Simon, let me see that piece,” she said. Taking the candy she huffed and said, “Who hands out cough drops for Halloween?” Alexis tried to place it in her pocket but Simon whined, “Mine,”
“It is not candy, honey, I will get you another piece,” said Alexis.
“Not fair, mine” he whimpered.
“Ok, fine. Here you go but don’t say I didn’t warn you,” she said as she unwrapped the menthol cough drop and gave it to her son.
Simon took the prize with glee and plopped it in his mouth. At first, he made a face because he’d never tasted the minty flavor and she could tell it immediately cleared his sinuses but then he smiled with glee at the experience. That is my weird little kid but I love him, thought Alexis. An hour and a half later after three-bed time stories, twenty questions, two pee-pee trips and a little bribery (possibly chocolate for breakfast) the twins were finally down and Alexis could relax for herself. In bed and drowsy she relaxed once she heard the older kids come in, finally she drifting off to sleep. Exhausted she thought to herself, I wouldn’t have it any other way.