Marco in the Park

by Nick Brady

Part 26

We went back into the kitchen and sat down to make our dinner from the leftover macaroni and cheese.

"You are a natural born Daddy," I said to Marco.

He shrugged. "I hope so. I am really taken with those little guys."

"They seem to be very comfortable with you. I bet you seem like family to them. Maybe you look like their daddy."

"Maybe I do. I wish we knew more about their real mom and dad. Do you think Susan could find out something about them?" Marco wondered.

"We can ask her. Surely we can find that out somewhere, maybe even check with the newspaper. An accident like that should have been in the paper," I suggested.

"Whoever they were, they were good parents. Those boys have been raised by somebody who loved them. They knew how to potty and seem pretty well adjusted. They are really pretty cool little guys," Marco observed. "I hope we can do as well."

"Right now, they seem to be more comfortable with you. I think they will be OK with me eventually, but maybe you should be the primary parent at first," I told him.

Marco smiled. "That's OK with me, but they will warm up to you soon enough Marty. This is a team effort. I will tell you the truth though, I never expected to fall in love with a couple of little boys so quickly."

We agreed that we were about worn out after such a busy day. We slipped into the shower and did our usual dance as quietly as possible. After we toweled off we both peeked in at the boys who were curled up together sound asleep. We tiptoed into bed.

"I think I'm going to sleep in shorts and a T-shirt," Marco said. "They might need to be looked after during the night."

I was a little disappointed but agreed. "Yeah, me too. Let's see how things go, but that's probably a good idea at first."

We crawled into bed, did a subdued mambo and ended up with a minimum of clothing before we fell asleep.

About 3:00 AM I was awakened by Marco jumping out of bed and quickly grabbing his shorts. I heard the sound of crying and followed him into the boy's bedroom.

"Hey what's up guys?" I could hear him asking in a quiet voice. Then he called to me, "Are there any of those training pants in their clothes box? They look like thick underpants."

I found some and brought them to Marco who then sent me for a wet washcloth, a towel, and a clean bed sheet. We got them clean and dry then put a fresh sheet on the bed. Marco tucked them in again and cooed a little song to them as they snuggled together and fell back asleep. I went into our bed and waited until he returned.

"What happened?" I asked.

"They peed the bed," he explained. "I don't know if they can't hold it all night or just didn't know where to go. Maybe we need to put a potty seat in their bedroom and make sure they know where the bathroom is. This is all new to them you know. They might have been scared to be in a strange place."

"Sure, this is new to all of us," I said.

Marco crawled in bed and hugged me. "Are you having second thoughts?"

I hugged him back. "No not at all. I just feel kind of helpless. You are the one who seems to know what to do. Have you been around little kids before?"

"No, not really. But I can imagine how they feel and it doesn't seem strange to me," Marco explained.

"Do you think this will happen every night?" I wondered.

"I don't think so. I think they will get used to us and to this place. It will be OK," Marco yawned and put his head on my shoulder. "We will figure this all out."

Around 7:00 we felt the mattress shake and looked to see two pairs of brown eyes peering over the edge of the bed.

Marco raised up and said to them. "Good morning boys. Want to come up here with us?"

They didn't reply but stood still while Marco leaned over and pulled first one and then the other up to sit between us.

I fluffed a pillow up behind my head and smiled at them. "Good morning guys."

I got a pair of shy grins but they snuggled over next to Marco who flipped the covers over them and let them cuddle up.

Marco rubbed their heads and asked them, "You guys hungry? Hmm? What some breakfast?" he rubbed his tummy and smiled. They looked interested.

"See if you can get them to pee in the potty and I'll start some breakfast," he instructed.

I ushered them into the bathroom and emptied my bladder while pointing at the little kiddie potty. They stood side by side and mostly peed in the potty although their aim could have been better.

I bragged on them then led them into the kitchen where Marco was scrambling eggs. I put them each into a high chair and pushed them up to the table. Marco poured orange juice into their tippy cups and put them in front of the little boys. They seemed to know how to handle that. In a few minutes they were presented with a small plate of scrambled eggs and a piece of buttered toast cut into strips. They were offered forks but ignored them to stuff handfuls of egg into their mouths.

"They're hungry," Marco grinned.

"Yeah they are," I agreed. "Your pups are eager eaters."

Except for what was pushed off onto the table they cleaned their plates. Marco tempted them with strips of toast that had been drizzled with a little honey and that went well. They drank most of their orange juice and then looked restless.

Marco looked thoughtful. "Grant had a little dog. He said that as soon as you feed a puppy you should put him outside to poop. I bet these guys need to go."

"Let's try it," I said.

We each herded a boy into the bathroom and sat them down on a potty seat. They scowled but knew what to do. The sounds and smells of poop were evidence of success.

"Hey it works," I said.

"Yeah it does," Marco agreed. "We may get this figured out yet. They're just like puppies. They eat, they poop, then they want to play and take a nap."

We took them into the pile of toys and sat them down to inspect the cars and trucks. They looked pretty happy.

We sat and watched them, wondering how we managed to get ourselves into this situation, but very pleased that we had.

Marco looked at me. "Well it's Sunday morning. Do we take them to church?"

I shrugged. "Why not? We might as well start off right."

Marco grinned. "I want to show them to Father Hoover."

"Right," I agreed. What's in their clothes box?"

I watched them play while Marco plundered the box of clothing. He returned with two little pairs of khaki shorts and two T-shirts, one red and one blue.

"The blue one goes on Benjamin," he instructed. "As long as Benjamin wears blue I think we can keep them straight."

"Or let them run naked," I laughed.

Marco grinned. "Maybe not at church."

We took turns watching the boys and getting ourselves dressed. We did a final potty trip then were off to St. Jerome's. We got there before the second service and went looking for Father Hoover. He was talking to several people during the break between the services and we stood quietly, each with a small boy in our arms. Suddenly he turned and caught sight of us.

"Oh! Here you are!" He rushed over to us with a big smile on his face. "Oh what beautiful boys. And what are their names?"

Marco pointed at one and then the other. "Samuel is in the red shirt and Benjamin is in the blue shirt. Until we get better at telling them apart we plan for Benjamin to be the boy in blue," he grinned.

Father Hoover looked like he wanted to take them both in his arms but when they leaned back against us he thought better of it.

"Well, we will be great pals soon enough. How was your first night?" he asked us.

"Interesting," I said.

"It went great actually," Marco answered. I think they are going to be just fine once we work out the details."

"Oh, splendid," Father Hoover clapped his hands together. "You do know we have a nursery during the service, and a day nursery during the week."

"Really? I didn't know that. Can we leave them here while we are at work or in school?" I asked.

"Well, that's the idea of course," Father Hoover smiled.

We were much relieved. Things had happened so quickly that we had not thought through a lot of things. If we could safely leave them with the church day nursery we could be sure they were safe and loved while we took care of more adult business. While we were not familiar with St. Jerome's Day Nursery, it was part of our community and existed under Father Hoover's ever watchful eye. It had to be good.

Father Hoover admired Samuel and Benjamin for a minute then excused himself. "The second service is about to begin. Why don't you bring these little ones in with you so we can all meet them? You can take them to the nursery for the rest of the service."

We did as he suggested and sat in our usual place behind David and Wayne. Their reaction was a comical mixture of amazement and delight. We realized that we had not spoken with them for some time and the little guys apparently caught them by surprise.

The organ began to play, the choir sang and the procession of candles, servers, and clergy started to make its way up the center aisle. At the sound of the organ the wiggling toddlers stopped their squirming and looked to see where the music was coming from. We stood with them in our arms and tried to join in the singing. This caused the boys to look at us with interest. Marco smiled at the sight.

Before beginning the service Father Hoover occasionally would make a special announcement. This was one of those occasions.

"Good morning!" he boomed out.

"Good morning!" the congregation responded.

"Before we begin this morning, I want you to meet the newest members of our family. Marco and Marty, would you please introduce us to Samuel and Benjamin?"

We stood and with the aid of the color coded T-shirts correctly introduced our new boys to the congregation. The response was a mixture of Ooos, Ahhs and laughter followed immediately by applause. We smiled in acknowledgment then retreated to the nursery.

"That was cool," I remarked as we deposited the boys with the nursery attendants.

"I don't know what we would do without this church," Marco agreed.

The boys were uncertain about being left in a new place but the nursery lady soon got them interested in a floppy bunny and they were distracted long enough for us to make a hasty retreat.

We quietly took our place in the sanctuary and felt lifted up by the service. As soon as the service was over we fetched our new boys and carried them into the parish hall to see if they liked cookies. It appeared that they did.

We were quickly surrounded by admirers. The boys were somewhat intimidated by the attention of people who were strangers to them, but Marco and I were gratified that they hid their faces in our necks and saw us as a source of protection and comfort. They were quickly becoming our boys.

After church we stopped by our favorite Walmart for some supplies. We added a few grocery items then went looking for shorts, T-shirts and underpants. The few items in Susan's clothes box were a start but they would soon need to be laundered. The shirts were all some variety of red or blue. We found some sneakers that fit our squirming toddlers and grabbed some socks as well. This would get us by for now.

There was a McDonald's in the Walmart and we decided to go with a proven winner. We picked up Chicken McNuggets and fries for the boys and a couple of Quarter-Pounders for ourselves then located some high chairs and tucked into our lunch. Samuel and Benjamin basically fed themselves the finger food and we helped them with their milk. We took advantage of the opportunity to do some planning.

"I think the first thing tomorrow I will take the boys to the church and get them settled into the nursery," Marco suggested.

"That may become your chore since I need to be at work earlier than you need to be in class," I agreed.

Marco nodded. "My schedule is a lot more flexible than yours."

"When will we need to pick them up? I don't usually get off work until after 5:00," I reminded him.

"That's OK. I can pick them up after class. School is about out for the summer anyway," Marco said. "I don't plan to take any classes this summer."

"I thought you were going to take lessons from Peter this summer," I recalled.

"I was thinking about that, but plans can change," Marco smiled at the twins who were busy gnawing on their fries. "I'll talk to Peter."

I looked at the two beautiful little boys that had so recently invaded us. "This is our first day with these guys. What should we do with them?" I asked Marco.

"There is a little park on Riverside that has stuff for little kids. Let's take them to play," he suggested.

We wiped off their faces and ran them through the bathroom, then out to the car and into the car seats. They were fairly cooperative but very wiggly. Clearly our days of free time and casual travel were over.

There were a variety of kids at the park, some even younger than ours. We each took a boy and began to try out the swings and slides. We assumed that we would have to keep hands on for safety but the boys had other ideas. They climbed, crawled and slid on everything within reach. We quickly decided that in order for them to be happy, our best strategy was to let them go and be prepared to catch them if they fell. Probably not a bad strategy overall.

They had a good time and so did we. Other than a little dirt and a few minor tumbles, no damage was done. Marco pulled out a sketch pad and sat down to watch while I herded kids. This was a team effort and was to be a frequent practice. Most of the parents were women, either mothers or grandmothers. There were a few dads tagging along but we were the only pair of males with little kids. If that raised any eyebrows it was not apparent.

We let the boys play until they started looking droopy then went back to the house for a nap. They peed, drank some juice and conked out pretty quickly. It was the first time all day that we had a chance to talk.

"How's it going partner?" I asked Marco.

"Actually, I think we did OK for starters. No blood anyway."

"They seem to be doing pretty alright. I like that they play well together. But I am a little concerned about one thing," I observed. "I have not heard either one of them say anything."

Marco nodded. "They aren't very verbal are they?"

"Have you heard them speak?" I asked.

"Just that one time when I called Samuel by the wrong name and Benjamin said 'no' and pointed at himself. I guess they understand us."

"Should we be concerned about that?" I wondered.

"I don't know," Marco acknowledged. "Maybe we are talking to each other and not really engaging them in the conversation. I think there is a Richard Scarry book in those things that Susan gave us."

"What's that?"

It is like a picture book of all kinds of things in it. The idea is to teach a kid the names of things," he explained. "You point at something and ask them to name it. Maybe that's a way to get things going."

When the boys woke up from their nap we ran them by the potty again and then sat down on the floor with them and pulled out the book. They were interested in the pictures.

We looked through it together then I pointed at a picture of a little dog. "What's that?" I asked them. No reply.

Marco pointed to the picture. "Doggy." he said then asked the boys, "Can you say doggy?" No response but they looked interested.

We did this with cats, chickens and ducks. No response.

Then Samuel pointed to the picture of a tippy cup. "Cup," he said.

"Yes, cup!" we were enthusiastic and bragged on him. "That's right, good job!"

They seemed to get the idea and we got them to name a number of things. I was so excited that I called Benjamin by Samuel's name. He frowned and told me. "My name is Ben."

"Wow, a complete sentence even. Good job Benjamin!" They both laughed. We had figured out how to play the game.

We got them to name a number of things before they got tired of playing this and went to their familiar toy cars. We decided to let well enough alone. After this we started asking them questions instead of assuming they were hungry, thirsty or needing to go potty, waiting for a reply and occasionally getting it. It was a start.

Somehow we got through that first day. Marco kept it simple and did peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for supper and then we read to them and put them to bed early. As long as they were allowed to sleep together and Marco waited for them to fall asleep before easing himself out of the bed, it seemed to work. Once they were asleep we sat down and evaluated our success so far.

"There is more to this than meets the eye," I chuckled. "What's the plan for tomorrow?"

Marco smiled. "I think we can do this. These are basically two pretty nice little guys. If we can figure out where they are coming from I think we can make it work. If you can help me get them up and dressed in the morning, I can take them to the nursery and then work on some things. If they are happy with that we might get into a workable routine. I would like to continue to work with Peter this summer but will have time to look after them for part of the day at least."

"Not to borrow trouble, but what happens after the summer when your classes start back up?" I wondered.

Marco looked thoughtful. "We are going to have to sort of play this a day at a time, but as you have reminded me, I have plenty of time for school. I might take a break until we get these guys settled in."

"This is putting a lot of the responsibility on you," I observed. "I am getting off kind of easy so far."

Marco looked at me and smiled. "Maybe this is what I am supposed to do. So far a lot of what we have done has been about what I need and my plans. Maybe it is time for me to be more about giving and not so much about taking. Can you think of anything I can do right now that is more important than Sam and Ben?"

"I love you Marco. Maybe you have found your calling," I told him.

"Here I am Lord," Marco said. "I can work with Peter part of the time and paint at home. I can still manage to do what is most important to me. Sam and Ben are already getting much more comfortable with you. I have the feeling that this is going to work out for us."

Marco took a deep breath. "I think I need to get over my obsession with being financially independent. You can provide us with a steady income and I can sell enough art to supplement that. These boys have made me realize that while we are a marriage, they make it a family. My degree can wait. What I want most is for us to be together, and to be good parents for these little guys. I think that's enough for right now."

It did work out. The boys soon grew comfortable with both of us although Marco remained the primary caregiver. I was tempted to refer to him as their mother but knew that was not right. We were like a pair of dads. They named us Marky and Arty which we liked very much. We didn't feel like we needed to be Daddy 1 and Daddy 2. This was sort of a non-standard arrangement and whatever worked for them was just fine with us.

The church day nursery was a very good thing. It gave Marco time to continue to work with Peter and his painting continued to improve in quality. It also gave Ben and Sam some little friends to play with, both boys and girls. They enjoyed the nursery and looked forward to going there.

The attendants were all female. The lady that ran the nursery was an older grandmotherly woman and the others were young girls who were very sweet with all the children. They soon made pets out of the two little Indians who turned out to play well with the other little ones their age. We decided that since they had grown up sharing toys and playing with each other, it was natural for them to play with others. Our love and admiration for them grew and grew.

We took the boys in to meet Peter one Wednesday afternoon and he was absolutely enchanted with them. It was a challenge to keep their busy little hands out of the paints and brushes.

Peter looked at the boys and told Marco, "You need to be painting these little ones. They will make wonderful models if you can get them to hold still," he laughed.

"The only time they are still is when they sleep," Marco told him.

"Well then paint them sleeping, or take some photos and work from those," Peter said. "There is nothing wrong with that. Remember your buffaloes. You used a photograph for part of that. And the hawks you did from memory, yes?"

"That's true," Marco admitted. "And from some pictures I found on the internet to get the details right."

Peter laughed. "That's not cheating Marco. We all do that now. Use the tools that are available to you."

Now Marco began to carry his cell phone with him and took lots of pictures of the twins as they played, slept and bathed. From these and from his observations, he began sketching the boys and experimenting with ways to convert those into interesting arrangements.

Of course he did a lot of that at home since he was with them a good bit of the time. He showed me several small watercolors in the quick style he had used so successfully when he first started to paint. The difference that was apparent to me was in the sureness of the quick drawings. His skill was improving both from his work with Peter and with practice. His only problem working at home was that Sam and Ben were fascinated by the paints and could not keep their busy little fingers to themselves.

"I think I know what I want to get them for their birthday," he said. "These guys need to do some painting."

Their birthday is just a week away," I agreed. "We need to think about a party or something."

"Their friends are the other kids at the day care. Maybe we can do a party for them there." Marco suggested.

I grinned, "That could be fun, let's do that."

The next afternoon Marco told me, "I talked to the day nursery lady and she said that a birthday party is a great idea but we have to bring the cake and stuff. Want to do this?"

"Make it so," I agreed.

On July 12 we both took Sam and Ben to the nursery along with a nice birthday cake and a gallon of vanilla ice cream, party hats and a roll of paper towels. It was a hoot. At the sight of the cake it was clear that the celebration was to be the first order of business.

We put the little conical hats on their heads, securing them with the attached rubber bands. Most of them wore the hats, a few pulled at them until they were under their chins. We put the cake on a coffee table, lit the four little candles and tried to lead them in singing the Happy Birthday song. The older children did pretty well but the younger ones had to be restrained from grabbing handfuls of cake. The twins were delighted. The girls cut squares of cake, added a scoop of ice cream, sat the paper plates on the table and basically stood back and watched as the carnage ensued. Within minutes the treats had been devoured and the girls went to work with the paper towels. They were sticky but happy.

We had a few presents for the boys but decided that for the safety of all we would save those for when we were back home. Marco stood back and took photos with his cell phone while I tried to help the nursery attendants maintain some sort of order. It was messy but a lot of fun. After the kids were restored to some semblance of order we left them to it. Marco stuck around to help and I went back to work.

By the time I returned home at the end of the day, Marco had the boys bathed and busy with some toys in the middle of the living room floor.

"Arty!" they called to me when I walked in. Both boys were still excited and looking at the small amount of leftover cake that was placed on a table hopefully out of their reach. I sat down on the floor to receive their hugs of greeting. They seemed to know that something good was still forthcoming.

"OK guys. Let's open your presents," Marco pulled a shopping bag out of the hall closet and withdrew a stash of boxes covered with brightly colored wrapping paper.

We managed to get them to sit down and handed them each a package. It took them roughly a millisecond to figure out that they were to tear off the paper to see what was inside. Marco stood back to take yet more photographs while Sam and Ben plundered the packages. For Sam it was a red metal pickup truck, for Ben a blue tractor. This was the good stuff, durable Tonka toys with heavy rubber tires. It would take time and effort to destroy these things.

It was hard to pull them away from the cars but we had several things for them to open. The next round was a couple nice knit shirts and matching shorts for them to wear to church. They opened those up, checked them out quickly and returned to the trucks. They had their priorities straight.

The last present was the same for both boys. We bought them both a set of brightly colored jars of finger-paints and a large pad of newsprint. Now they could join Marco when he painted, hopefully staying out of his paints and using their own. The finger-paints were washable of course and nothing that would survive a trip through the bathtub. They looked them over and probably didn't quite understand what a delightful mess they could make with jars of paint and returned their attention to the trucks.

We pried the new Tonka toys away from them long enough to get them to eat some supper and another piece of birthday cake, then put them to bed. Marco read them a story while they held onto their new treasures then slept with them all night.

We stood at the door of their room looking at two small boys sleeping with their heads together and their new toys held to their chests. We reckoned it had been a nice birthday. When the summer ended they would be ready to be enrolled in pre-school. The great adventure was just beginning.

Marco and I took a nice long shower then curled up together in our bed and made sweet love.

The game was afoot.

If encouraged, the adventures of Marco, Marty and the twins will resume as a new series after the author takes a short break. Please let me know if you are interested in a continuation of this story.

As this becomes somewhat less an erotic story and more the tale of a gay couple raising a pair of rambunctious toddlers I am concerned that it will continue to be of interest here.

Marco and Marty will continue to love each other, and to make love when the opportunity presents itself. Inquisitive small children do present a special challenge to the sexual activity of their parents. The twins will discover themselves as all little boys do, and with all the possibilities that will suggest, but there will not be any sexual play between adults and children. It will continue or not depending on your response. Thank you for reading and I hope to hear from you, especially if you have had the experience of raising a family.

Thank you for reading. Nick

I wish to thank Matr Dontelli who patiently edits this story.

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