Sunday Morning Soliloquy - Musings of an Urbanite: Adventures in Babysitting

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Adventures in Babysitting

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About a week and a half ago, I received a call from my friend Charles. Charles was in Australia en route to Bali, en route to Singapore, en route to Paris for an annual conference. This time around, Charles was to be on the road for three consecutive weeks; this is not out of the ordinary. What he told me next was out of the ordinary.

Charles is married to Erica. They've been together for over a decade and they have four children (9, 6, 2.5, 1.5). Unlike Charles, Erica rarely travels, she is a stay at home mom. Charles explained to me that he was to fly Erica out to Paris for a week but they needed someone to help the nanny out with the kids. I said, "Say no more, I am your woman."

Anyone who has ever met me knows that I do not like children - most children. I often refer to children as mosquitoes. I find children to be horribly annoying, always buzzing in your ear. You swat them away and they come right back.

I agreed to watch Charles & Erica's lovely kids for a few reasons.
  • I like Charles & Erica and they deserve some time alone (I believe this is their first "real" vacation without the kids)
  • I love Charles & Erica's four kids. I have been close with the oldest since she was born but I don't know the other kids as well.
  • Their nanny is going to be present the WHOLE time, I am just there to help with dinner, homework and bed time.
  • Quite frankly, the last reason is selfish. I do not have children and at times I wonder what it would be like to have babies stuck to my side

After agreeing to help out Monday through Friday, I get a second phone call, this time from Erica. Erica informs me that Charles' meetings were canceled on Monday and that she is going to fly out a day early to spend the day with him on Monday. What does this mean for Leyla? It means, Leyla's services are required ONE day early.... and, Leyla is to fly solo on Sunday night and take the kids to school Monday morning.

Is It Friday Yet?
I arrived at my friends' loft in the west loop at 7p on Sunday night. The nanny was there finishing up with the evening bedtime activities. The kids go to bed between 6:45p and 8:30p. The nanny showed me around a bit and then she took off. I stayed up with the oldest for another hour or so and then I was alone. The house was quiet, it was sort of sad without the cheerful voices which normally guide the household. 10p seemed like 2am.

Sunday night was filled with paranoia (for me). I was instructed to wake each child between 10p and 11p and make them go to the washroom so no one has an accident. This was tough because waking a sleeping child just seems wrong but I am an extreme follower of the rules so I did exactly as I was instructed. I checked the baby 3X and his diaper was dry, I finally went to sleep as soon as the Oscars were over.

I woke up several times throughout the night; I thought I heard crying babies. My friends live in nearly a 5000 square foot loft and the kids bedrooms are far from their bedroom (where I was sleeping). I got up at 1am and 2am, walked to the upstairs bedrooms to check on the two older kids and then to the back bedrooms to check on the two younger kids. No crying. It was all in my head. Finally, I fell back asleep.

600a came very quickly. The oldest insisted that I wake her, she wanted to assist me with breakfast for the kids. We got everyone's breakfast ready, packed their "snacks" into their backpacks and then woke everyone up.


After breakfast, I cleaned a very poopie diaper. I think I used 72 baby wipes and had poop under my long finger nails (don't worry, I washed my hands THOROUGHLY).

School time, I had to get the two older kids to school. I put shoes on the 2 year old and grabbed the baby (no socks or shoes, I ran out of time) and headed for the garage. Thank god for the 9 year old, without her, I would've been lost! Literally.

The kids took me to the car, they told me how to get out of the garage. I almost crashed the car coming out of the garage and I said the "S" word very loudly, multiple times as I tried really hard to steer the car away from a big yellow pole. I suck at driving. I then almost crashed again coming out of the garage - but I made it. I apologized to the kids for using profanity.

The second nanny showed up at 9a and I was relieved. My responsibilities lighten for the rest of the week as nanny #2 will be there 24 hours a day.

Highlights of my adventures in babysitting:

  • Homework with the 6 year old where we read for a half hour and then played hangman for 2 hours and then drew pictures of dinosaurs on his chalkboard.
  • On day 2, I was 15 mins late, the 6 year old says to me: "Don't worry, we all make mistakes" when I walk in the door
  • Tonight, after bath time, the 6 year old "shaved". Apparently, he has a platic shave kit in his bathroom with real shaving cream. After his bath, I watched him cover his ENTIRE face with shaving cream and then scrape it off with his fake, plastic razor.
  • The 2.5 year old only wears princess dresses
  • The 1.5 year old is a big chunk of joy
  • Homework is really boring
  • Watching kids is REALLY, REALLY tiring. I slept 10 hours last night!

Me and the six year old and our dinosaur drawings!


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Unknown said...

Well your post about babysitting made my day. You are a riot. I am sure that the kids had a wonderful time with you. You are so thoroughly YOU and that is pretenses....kind of what you see is what you get. I see that in your writing and I felt it in person. That is an admirable I strive for. The kids were lucky to have had a week of Leyla time. And good for you for being such a great friend.