3/15/07

Babysitting- Preparation For Motherhood And Part Of God's Plan

I have mentioned many times that I babysit. Not only is it a nice way to make a few extra dollars while being at home with my kids, it is also a great way to hone your parenting skills. You can learn so much by observing other people's children. Mostly, I learn things I don't ever want my kids to do, but I do learn.

Like many girls, I started babysitting early on in my teen years. I am the oldest of four girls, so my first guinea pigs 'sittees' were my sisters Mandy, Ea and Stacy. I have to say that most of our evenings were uneventful mainly because I can't remember one single incident form any of those times.

For the most part, I watched them after we had moved back to Ohio while Mom was out with our now Step dad, Ernie. Despite the fact that they had just been out for dinner, we'd cook food for them ( I remember a big bowl of rice in one case) and they'd be forced to chow down on additional carbs on an already full stomach.

In high school, I began babysitting in the summers for a lady downtown (and by downtown, I mean a block from the 4-way stop we called the square in our tiny burg). She had two boys. We'll call them Jim and Jack. Jim and Jack were 6 and 4 and they were VERY good at it!

Jim and Jack played well together and listened- for the most part. There were times I had to intervene and stop an argument over a toy and, although they were actually playing well with each other, times I had to make them quit tormenting the dog. Largely, though they were my teachers.

They taught me about the ingenuity of boys and the way their little minds work. Through the months that I watched these two, I learned valuable lessons such as:

Though a 4 year-old cannot lift a gallon pitcher full of orange juice by himself, he will try rather than ask you to pour it for him.

Boys will feed anything to a dog and said dog will eat it... even if it came from the bathroom trash can.

Two boys are sneakier than one.

Little boys LOVE to climb... especially on counter tops.

One particular incident springs to mind wherein Jim and Jack were supposed to clean their room. They had twin beds, one on each side of their room. I walked in to examine their progress and ALMOST tripped on the trip-wire Jack had rigged up between the beds with some handy- dandy kite string he had found while cleaning. They also had smashed a slice of cheese in the carpet... nice.

Another string incident involved me taking them to my Mom's house to jump on our trampoline. The trampoline-jumping was uneventful, but later that evening, my Step dad came in from mowing with a spool of thread all unraveled in his hand. Apparently, he all but got clotheslined off the mower from the thread that had been strung between two pine trees.

Later the second summer, the boys were yet again to clean their room before playing. I told them to throw all of their bed linens to the bottom of the stairs so I could put them in the laundry room. The door at the bottom of the stairway was blocked by a baby gate to prevent the dog from going up, so all of the comforters, sheets, etc. were caught behind it thus making a pile of softness all too tempting for little kids who have no knowledge of the force of gravity.

A quick trip into their step-brother's room to fetch his boogie board and they were soon well versed in that gravity thing I mentioned. CRASH! Little Jack came crashing through that gate like an Olympic bobsledder. He looked at me and I somehow mustered the strength not to laugh. You could tell it was fun for him, but I was in charge and had to give him a time-out.

When his Mom came home, I told the story to her and Jack hid behind his Mom to avoid another time out or a smack on the bottom. She burst out laughing and you've never seen a child so eager to retell an adventure once he realized Mom wasn't going to punish him right away. He told her how his hair- all of a buzz cut- was "flying back" as he slid down with such a grin and such excitement.

I think God knew what he was doing when he sent me to care for Jim and Jack those summers for He had plans to send me two little angels of my own and He knew I would need ample training for them.

2 comments:

Margaret said...

I babysat two boys for 2 weeks over one summer. Their mom had to be at work at 6am - which meant I had to be there at 5am. She told me to sleep on the couch till 7'ish when they woke up. I woke up at 6:15 to them giggling - and feeling an odd something on my leg. Yes, they had taken their pet turtles and had them crawling up my legs. Oh - and turtles bounce when you throw them. :)

delilah said...

Oh, I have babysitting stories. I used to babysit A LOT. I remember changing this one kids diaper. I was gagging so badly that I finally shoved tissues up each nostril so I could avoid the smell and get through it. Another kids dumped an entire thing of baby powder onto his baby sisters (who I was feeding at the time) exersaucer thing. Do you know how many cracks and crevices those things have???? Needless to say, when I was 16 I came home from babysitting and asked my mother if she would make an appointment to have my tubes tied! I was pretty serious. I NEVER wanted kids until I was in my late twenties.