Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Adventures In Babysitting

I am thrilled Heather from TheSpohrsAreMultiplying agreed to guest post for me while I'm gone. I met Heather at a BlogHer party for LA Moms Blog and liked her instantly. Her blog is a delicious mixture of sentiment and humor and her daughter, Maddie, is well, stunning. If you haven't read Heather's guest post for Black Hockey Jesus, you must go there right now. She had me at "Hi, there." Enjoy.

I started babysitting when I was 11 years old. Apparently the
neighborhood parents found me trustworthy. And, really, I WAS
trustworthy. I didn't snoop through their stuff or invite my friends
over or anything like that. I was a good babysitter, too. The kids
loved me because I would play lots of games, let them braid stuff into
my hair, and eat as much ice cream as they wanted. You know, typical
babysitter stuff.

This isn't to say I was the perfect babysitter. I would often trick
the kids to get a little peace and quiet to do my homework or watch
TV. I was sitting for two little boys who were incredibly
rambunctious. They tired me out after two hours and I didn't know HOW
I would make it through another four until their parents came home. I
got them ready for bed right after dinner, and herded them into their
joint bedroom at 6:45.

"Bedtime!" I chirped.

"But, it's still light out!" said the four year old.

"Oh, that's because it's daylight savings!" I told the four year old.

"What's daylight savings?" asked the six year old.

"Oh, that's where all the time changes and you go to bed when the sun
is still up. You'll learn about it in school this year. Time for bed
now!"

The rest of the night I watched HBO and ate Doritos. It was glorious.

Another time I was watching a young girl that went to sleep at seven
pm. Once I got her down, I was desperate for something sweet. There
wasn't any ice cream, candy, or soda in the house. I opened up the
pantry, hoping to find some chocolate chips or something. I didn't
discover any chocolate (and seriously, I would have had baking
chocolate at that point), but I DID find some Lucky Charms cereal in
the back corner. I grabbed the box of cereal, and then proceeded to
eat every last marshmallow out of the box. Hope the parents enjoyed
the frosted cereal sans lucky charms.

One time I was sitting for four kids - three boys and a girl. To say
they were hellions would give innocent hellions everywhere a bad name.
They were the type of siblings that were always trying to one-up each
other. If they were eating, it was a competition to finish first.
Playing in the backyard was a constant contest - and the SHEER VOLUME
at which they talked made my ears bleed. I went over to their house
one night with a borderline migraine, and I was really scared it would
turn into a full-fledged vomit-inducing headache. The children were in
typical form, so as soon as the parents left, I suggested a new game.

"What's the game?!" the middle boy asked excitedly.

"It's a contest where the four of you lay down, and you close your
eyes and you have to be completely still and silent. It's called,
'Coma.'"

"How do you WIIIIIIIIIIIN?!" whined the girl.

"Well, whoever is quiet and still the longest is the winner. I'll be
the judge, but you'll all hear if one of you talks or makes a noise."

"What do we win as a prize?" asked the oldest boy.

"The winner....gets the BIGGEST piece of PIZZA!"

The kids were sold. They all laid on the various couches and cushions
in the family room.

"Feel free to grab blankets and stuff. Get REALLY comfortable. Coma is
a VERY hard game. I don't know if you four are old enough to be really
good at it."

Well, they all took my challenge as a personal affront. They assumed
their positions with renewed vigor, and after I encouraged them to
close their eyes,,,they all fell asleep. It was a trick I pulled out
repeatedly, always with success.

Now that I'm a mom, I sometimes think about the things I did as a
babysitter to get a moment's piece - and I know that I will dip into
my bag of tricks again. I mean, come on - "Coma" is genius.

19 Comments:

slouching mom said...

Heather! You're right! Coma IS genius! Too bad my kids are too old to fall for it.

Almost makes me want to have another kid...

Snicker.

Andrea's Sweet Life said...

GENIUS, pure and simple. If only my 4 year old had someone to compete with, maybe she'd let me have some peace and quiet once in awhile.

Mr Lady said...

You are my damn hero.

Kristin.... said...

I must try Coma with my older two! :) hehe

Jennifer, Playgroups Are No Place For Children said...

Coma!!!! Why didn't I think of that! I'm so using this.

Nanette said...

Freakin' hilarious!

One of my tricks was to play "movie theater." I'd make tickets and popcorn, have them wait in line and then watch a movie.

moosh in indy. said...

I always played Turtle.
What does a turtle say?
.
.
.
Damn right that's what a turtle says.

Mary Beth said...

Flashing back to my babysitting years - suffice it to say, not happy times. I think the statute of limitations has run out...

Jessie said...

I want Heather to babysit my children!

Kate said...

I have to say..."coma" really is genius.

I remember so well the feelings of affront when I would be looking for a snack and find nothing but health food. I swore that when I was a parent, I would always stock up on junk food when I planned to have a babysitter.

I definitely abused the TV as a source of entertainment when I was a babysitter (of course - not much has changed now that I'm a mother...)

blissfullycaffeinated said...

Can you come to my house every night around 8:00? We'll leave and then you and my kids can play a rousing game of Coma. They'll love it!

Nanny Goats In Panties said...

I remember only having one baby sitting job. I was in high school and I babysat for my track coach during the summer. His wife went to work and the coach slept all day because he did the graveyard shift as a county Sherrif. And they needed someone to watch the kids while Coach slept. Easy money, come to think of it. The kids HAD to be quiet and they had to behave, or else Daddy was right there if he got woken up.

Manic Mommy said...

I still can't get past the fact that you didn't snoop. Best finds: porn or pot. I never took either. I guess I was a pretty good babysitter, too.

Can you please publish your complete list of tricks? My 3yo is a master of double-reverse psychology. No matter how you play it, he's the loudest kid in the room.

Domestic Extraordinaire said...

Wow, that Coma game really rocks. I wonder if the Chicken is too old for it. I must try it sometime.

texasholly said...

Coma is genius.

JCK said...

Coma is genius?? Coma is friggin' BRILLIANT! God, these are good ideas. Can I just pretend I'm a babysitter now?

InTheFastLane said...

You might have been the best babysitter EVER! Thanks for the laugh.

AMomTwoBoys said...

I'm never going to ask you to babysit, because if you were to be coming up here, it would be to hang out with ME, not my kids.

K?

Maggie, Dammit said...

This makes me feel so much better. I thought I was the only one who would scour the cupboards immediately upon the parents' departure (fruit roll-ups were the pot of gold), the only one who didn't seem to have that patient babysitting gene the rest of my friends had. After the kids went to bed was my favorite, favorite time.

You know.... it's really not that different now that I'm a mom. I've even done that daylight savings trick. Hmmm.....

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