The Third Entry: Is it really babysitting if all you did was eat cookies?


Babysitting is a luxury job I never appreciated when I was twelve and snot-nosed – to me it was very hard work. A handful of sweaty restaurant jobs later – now I know that any job as laid back as babysitting, where you can sit down without getting fired and avoid a six-o’clock dinner rush, is golden.

I am sitting on the couch of an “employer” – a young couple new to Kansas City – and I have just put their darling son to bed. He is something else – a three-year-old savant. Today he learned the meaning behind the expression this too shall pass after I read him “Alexander’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.”  He picked it up like candy while it took me years to understand, telling me, “everyone has bad days Coco.”

He whispered this to me while we were lounging in a blue and red tent set up in the living room. We were splitting a plate of M&M cookies, freshly baked the hour before. I had milk in a glass, he had milk in a sippy cup. It was a good day.

Earlier, I had another babysitting gig out south for my two younger cousins. The day was spent in this order: Cinnamon french toast for breakfast, eating in front of the TV, Sponge Bob Square Pants, a wild hour of board games, followed by another hour of video games, lunch: PBJs and Cheese-Its, pool time, Popsicles and puppy play with Kiko, the neighbor’s newest pet.

And at the end of everything , I was paid for getting to live like a kid again. It made me wonder if that was perhaps one such twisted yet somehow understandable reason to want to be a mother – just to ride their children’s coattails through candyland.

But one day you get the kid from hell who makes you want to get your tubes tied.

"The Babysitter" by Norman Rockwell

He’s irritable and messy or she’s stubborn and sleepy but refuses to sleep. He throws his snacks on the floor or throws up for eating too many oreos and then looks at you and laughs. She sneaks out of bed twelve times to tell you she’s not tired and then when her parents finally roll in past midnight she runs to greet them at the door. He tells his mother your mean and she tells her mother about all the ice cream you let her have the night before.

Good or bad, babysitting is an experience worthy of motion picture money and here are a few of my favorites:

1. Mary Poppins (for the idealist babysitters)

2. Adventures in Babysitting (for all babysitters)

3. The Baby-Sitters Club (for the entrepreneurial babysitters)

4. Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead (for the irresponsible babysitters)

5. Mrs. Doubtfire (for the male babysitters)

6. Halloween (for  babysitter’s worst nightmare )

I’ve had my fair shake of things and I’m relieved to earn much needed cash this way before journeying south. I can even blog while I’m working if I have a computer with Internet access. But then again I run the risk of the parents walking in, finding me hunched in a corner typing furiously on their MacBook…

…I think I hear the garage door…got to go!