Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Babysitter's Chronicles: Trials of a Twelve Year Old

As I lay in my bed falling asleep last night, I pondered my many mishaps and misfortunes as a babysitting adolescent. Several very distinct instances came to mind while I gratefully recalled that these parts of my life were past. This lead me to an idea-- Why not start a mini-series on my blog? I'll call it The Babysitter's Chronicles! Yes, that is catchy...

When I was 12 years old, I took a class at the hospital to become a Certified Babysitter. The class was terrifying; it alerted me to the plethora of dangers that the children I would soon be caring for would get into, such as drinking toxic cleaning supplies, falling down the stairs, tying me to furniture, and needing to be taken to the hospital.

But that was not all, oh no. Not only did I have to make sure that they didn't light things on fire while I blinked, I had to make food for them (having never even fed myself), play all manner of inventive games with them (else they resort to aforementioned violence), and change the Dreaded Diaper.

Needless to say, I was not at all confident that the children I watched wouldn't spontaneously combust, and that the parents wouldn't sue me and have me sent to Guantanamo Bay. Yet babysit I did, and I soon started to grow almost comfortable with my role as substitute-caretaker.

Among my first handful of jobs was to babysit for my neighbors down the street. I had the charge of a six year old and a two year old.* The mother gave me all the important phone numbers, showed me where the juice boxes were kept, and assured me that I could watch whatever I wanted on television after the kids went to bed. One phone number was of particular interest, however...

"On rare occassions Suzie Lee** puts up a fight when you change her diaper. If you absolutely need to, call our next door neighbor and she can help you."

She vaguely gestured toward the paper with the other phone numbers, moved on to other businesses, and soon left.

The kids and I ate pizza, watched a movie, and then had story time. Before long, however, it became evident that Suzie Lee needed to have a diaper change. I put her on the changing table, held my breath, removed The Diaper, and quickly shoved it into the waste basket.

The moment I had looked away to rid of the diaper, however, Suzie Lee had streaked from the changing table and down the hallway. For the next twenty minutes I chased her and tried to coerce her back to the changing table. Even brute force didn't work. (Admittedly, I was a scrawny twelve year old).

Finally I remembered that their neighbor could help me. I rushed to the list and searched for the number next to "Godsent Savior from Heaven." But try as I might (I even turned the paper over) I could not find any number other than the parents' and the pizza place.

Out of desperation I did one of the stupidest things I could have done: I left the two kids in the house and ran next door to frantically ring the doorbell. As I stood on the porch I tried not to imagine all the terrible things that they could be getting up to right at that moment. Finally she answered the door and I explained myself, trying not to sound hysterical.

The situation after that was easily sorted. The next door neighbor was magically able to subdue Suzie Lee and successfully change her diaper. I thanked her profusely as she walked back out the door, then promptly put the kids to bed (it being past time, what with all the uproar).

When the parents got home, I received the standard question: How were the kids? I thought about asking whether or not their youngest was trained to run as soon as her diaper was removed, or whether they had hidden the number for their neighbor purposefully. But of course, being my quiet, small 12 year old self, I just smiled and said that they had been very good, although Suzie Lee had been the tiniest bit difficult when I tried to change her diaper, but it was no huge problem, really.

With agedness,

*These ages are only theorized. I don't actually know how old they were, but that should be about right.

**Child's name is made up for protective purposes moste sekretive.


  1. #sekrits

    I enjoyed this post immensely! Yay, Babysitter Chronicles! I'd love to read more. :)

  2. This was fantastic. I've never had a babysitting venture so terrifying, but I'm afraid I will every time I accept the opportunity to supervise children.