Friday, July 13, 2007

adventures in babysitting ...

to the surprise of anyone who has ever been in my presense, i agreed to babysit tonite for t's 16-month-old child. actually, i volunteered. i overheard her asking people if they knew any responsible 12-year-olds and decided i fit the bill. you may wonder what was in it for me: this, being pro bono and all. it went like this.

me: i'll do it.
t: um. i've heard about your cat.
me: meh. a cats a cat. a person's a person.
t: hmm.
me: do you have wireless internet?
t: yes.
me: can i use your washing machine?
t: yes, i guess.
me: do you have cable?
t: yes. and a big tv.
me: okay. as long as you're home by 11:30 p.m. i can't stay later than that.
t: okay.
me: oh. wait. one more thing. i need to be able to document this on my blog. i will change the name of the innocent.
t: sighs.

so t and her husband are at pirates of the carribean and i am here. i left my laundry at home, though. thankfully, they didn't check my references:

ryan was an asshole. if you had told me when he was three that he would grow up to be a decent high school soccer player, i'd have snorted yeah, right and wondered if his mom was going to have to also tryout for the team, because there is no way this whiney runt was going to ever disengage from her leg long enough to contribute to the game. and no one wants a midfielder spewing snot and tears. during his toddler-hood he was only happy in a moving stroller and so i happily moved his stroller directly to my mom's house, where she could be held responsible for his tears.

his parents were cheap. years later, i ran into his father at a bar. he had the creepy ogle of a man who wants to play "i'm the dad, you're the babysitter, let me drive you home, my wife doesn't understand me, my you're blossoming into womanhood. nicely."

callie, as a five-year-old, enjoyed lounging in a beanbag and suntanning. her favorite videos on mtv included: janey's got a gun, talk dirty to me and jeremy by pearl jam. when i tried to treat her like a five-year-old, drink boxes and crayons, she rolled her eyes and seemed to be saying "please, woman. don't insult me." one day she wore to school long underware beneath a two-piece swim suit. she intimidated the crap out of me.

sometimes her dad was home and sleeping as i babysat. i always hated that. when the kids were napping, he would come into the basement and watch "yo mtv jams" with me, but never say a word.

michelle, michael and jonathon loved nothing more than jesus. their entire world was filtered through a very christian-centric filter. it wasn't that they did not want to fight, jesus didn't want them to fight. their favorite songs were hymns, which they performed together in a creepy cultlike singalong. soonafter they accused me of french-kissing my boyfriend, i was no longer asked to babysit. i can only assume they wanted no part of where my handbasket was headed.

while sean and michael were hockey players who championed mullets and liked to wrestle and swear, it was their three-year-old sister kristin who locked me in the family's laundry room. i stood inside the room, yanking on the doorknob. it wouldn't turn and she stood on the other side giggling manically like a freakish chucky doll. as i prepared in my head what i would tell their parents, i felt ... pathetic. not to mention weak. on a similar note, the fischer kids knocked the sliding door between the kitchen and living room off its roller. they were on the fun side. i was in the kitchen. through their back window i could see my boyfriend's parent's house. i watched them watch tv and ate potato chips and let the fischer kids do whatever the hell they wanted.

once while babysitting my cousin, i told him that if he didn't go to sleep something bad would happen. i also told him that if he took one of these pills [a cheerio] his knee would stop hurting. it didn't occur to me that these are both pretty terrible things to say to a kid. thank god his mom didn't get into a car accident that night. and thank god he didn't become a drug addict. yet.

my only positive babysitting experience was little matt. he wasn't that much younger than me. in fact, he did most of the actual monitoring of his siblings and i flirted with him and thought: i can't wait until we're both in high school and it won't be creepy if we date.

the last time i was charged with the care of a child, my neice mel was about three. i played the song "just like heaven" in the car, hoping she'd stun her parents pista with some "show me show me show me" lyrics before bedtime. we zipped through the burnsville mall doing wheelies with her stroller. i let her lay on the floor in the shoe department and dismantle a display. when we left the mall, i realized that parking lots are giant death traps for people under 3-feet tall. i put her on my shoulders and sprinted to the car and decided to never take a toddler in public ever again.


these days i don't see kids very often. and whether i like them or not is really case-by-case. for instance, the seven-year-old ninny who lives across the street from chuck sucks. not just because she did the universal and judgemental "pewy" waft when i walked past her with a cigarette. no. i loathed her the first time i heard her riding her bike up and down the street in 12 foot increments, singing some song with ridiculous and repetitious lyrics. clearly someone at some point told her she is cute and she continues to believe it. on the other hand, i like the three-year-old boy who lives about three doors down from chuck. i often stop at the window to watch his little mind whirl with busyness: i want to be in my pool. look, there's the dog! i need to get to the sandbox! hey! where'd i put my wheelbarrow? i'm going to put my dumptruck in the pool. is that an airplane? it's an airplane! HI AIRPLANE!

so. this has been a pretty seamless night. t's tot likes to be thrown in the air and she likes to hang upside down. she likes to mush crackers in her hand and then try to feed them to you. she can say "puppy" "kitty" "table" "baby" and "no." and really, i'm not sure anyone needs to know more than that.

i read her the same book 50 times and she laughed at all of my jokes. at one point, i got her drool in my eye. i also changed a diaper that was actually not yet dirty, and then realized that i'm not sure if i put this one on backward or forward.

i've eaten about six pieces of salt water taffy, nine pringles and one of their chicken kiev's. i'm hoping the fact that i've gone into t's tot's room every 10 minutes to make sure she is still breathing will make up for my gluttony in their eyes.


Miss Kate said...

Awww, Christa! You're going to make all your readers imagine you as a mom! How cute!

4 years ago I accidentally locked my niece (then 3) and nephew (then 1) in my sister's car at the cabin (I was loading them up for the drive home). On a sweltering 95 degree August day. In a rural area. With a sheriff's deputy 30 minutes away, who had to smash the glass in on the passenger side of my sister's Toyota. With the babies screaming in the car and with huge beads of sweat on my nephew's baking skull. So basically, if he can't pass the 5th grade, it's my fault. SO I'm not allowed to babysit anymore (and myabe someone should repo my ovaries too).

first mate said...

short time voyeur .. first time commenter..

B.sitting stories are the best. I once sat for these two boys who were the sons of my high school's favorite teacher. they were terrors. 4 and 6. I knew this was a one night gig when they wanted to show me the “squirrel dance”, which was running around me naked and signing .. for something like two hours. sigh

but if it weren't for babysitting I would have never heard of The Toxic Avenger. USA Up All Night .. I miss you.

signed .. fellow duluthian

Maurey Pierce said...

Nine Pringles doesn't seem to qualify as gluttony. Nine CANS, perhaps.

You are a brave woman.

Anonymous said...

You must have done something right. When tiny tot woke up this morning, the first thing she did was run to the living room and kitchen looking for you. Or maybe it was the good shaking you gave her brain throwing her up in the air. ;-) Thanks again.


Whiskeymarie said...

After my week, I need to not be around the toddler crowd for a while.
You seem to handle them better then I.
When I was 12, I baby sat for a neighbor of ours. Gosh it would have been nice if she had warned me that her autistic son liked to bang his head on the wall for hours. Oh, and that she was going to pay me mostly in change.
Yeah, that would have been nice.

some guy said...

you sound like a fun babysitter. when you visit FL you can babysit my and hank's kid together. or not.

christina said...

wait. you and hank have a kid? i mean, i knew you were kinda friends, but ...

hey first mate? can i be invited to read your site?

first mate said...

... my blog isn't really a blog or too fun to read. right now it's just my sister and i chatting with eachother as we take on this new fun thing called running ... ever heard of it?

right now she'd like to get rid of the knot in her calf... and i just rub in her face that i'm the faster sister .. neener neeener neeener.

andrea said...

The best thing about babysitting is eating someone else's food.