Many, many years ago in my writing career, I wrote an article for a mommy-blog. Why? I don’t really remember why. I must have had a reason. More than likely that reason was too much free time.
Anyway, the mommy-blog that originally posted my article is no longer in operation. I now suspect this particular mommy-blog, like most mommy-blogs today, was really a front for some sort of illegal, international, sheep-cloning syndicate. Thus I can only assume it has since been shut-down after a massive sting operation involving the British Secret Service, two badgers, and a 40-foot taco. But I also didn’t get much sleep last night.
And now that I have you all excited to read about that sting operation, here is my mommy-blog article:
Let me first explain that I was a youngest child.
I mean, I still am. But I lost my youngest child innocence a long time ago.
Back in the good old days, I had never changed a diaper, mixed formula, or calmed a screaming baby. I’d held happy babies, but once they were no longer happy, I handed them off. The only baby living in our house was me.
Then my innocence was lost. I was hired as a babysitter.
A friend hired me to watch her two year old and twin ten-month olds for a whole day. Looking back now, I’m not sure what made this nice couple think I could handle it. Maybe with 3 small children, they’d become experts and had forgotten how hard it is to look after 1 small child all day, let alone 3. Or perhaps, with 3 small children, they were desperate.
I was determined to make a good impression. As soon as I walked in the door, the 2 year old latched onto me. We’d met once before, so we were now best friends (when you’re 2, you don’t get out much).
“We went to the zoo,” she told me.
“You went to the zoo?” I exclaimed, repeating her exact words in the form of an overexcited question in that way that you only do with small children and sarcastically with your boss (e.g.: “You’re moving up the deadline from next week to tomorrow?”)
Kid’s love this form of conversing (bosses, not so much), so the 2 year old answered with eagerness, “Yes!”
“What did you see at the zoo?”
“You saw lions?”
More excited, she answered, “Yeah! And monkeys.”
“You saw moneys?”
There’s so much excitement now, she’s attempting to hop. Being 2, both feet never quite made it off the ground at the same time. “Yeah! And cows!”
“You saw cows?” That time I was really asking. What kind of zoo was this?
“Yeah! And penguins!”
“You saw penguins?”
She stopped hopping. “No.”
I do love a good twist-ending to a story, and I’ll admit I didn’t see that one coming, but it confused me. So the penguins turned out to be kind of a conversation killer.
The mom showed me around, telling me everything I needed to know. Or so she claimed. Then she and the dad left.
As a youngest child, what happened over the course of the next six hours I witnessed with pure terror and disgust. I spent a majority of that day on the phone, making panicked calls to my mother.
Topics of these calls included:
-Only one of them will eat
-Now they all only want to eat what the child next to them is having, which is a problem because only one of them has sufficient teeth to eat a sandwich. Also, should a 2 year old have baby formula?
-One of them ate a sticker
-The 2 year old pooped in the toilet and wants me to look at it. Do I have to?
-THE 2 YEAR OLD’S POOP IS BLUE!! IS SHE DYING?!?
-The 2 year old isn’t dying. She ate a bag of colored animal crackers, the majority of which were blue.
-They’re all crying and they won’t stop.
-It’s been six hours and I haven’t gotten to eat, pee, or sit, and now I can’t stop crying.
My mom did not seem to appreciate the trauma I was experiencing. Even over the phone, I could tell she was stifling laughter.
Somehow I survived the day. When I got home, I made an immediate bee line to the shower. I had the 6 types of baby fluids (pee, runny poop, spit, tears, regurgitation, and food that went into their mouth, was chewed but never swallowed before it came out again) from 3 different babies all over my person. I was not sure how I was ever going to be clean again and I was pretty sure I was going to have to burn my clothes.
Seeing my distress only made my parents laugh all the harder. This wasn’t exactly their wish that I have a child just like me someday, but it was close.
I learned a lot that summer. I learned that I can handle a surprising amount of grossness. I learned my parents are a little vindictive. And I learned how to write a formal letter of complaint to a certain colored animal cracker company.
February 23, 2020 at 2:55 am
I love your tale. Yes, looking after children is very hard. No one can appreciate it until they’ve done it themselves.