Saturday, March 27, 2010

Adventures in Babysitting

Every once in a while there is a work thing that I don't have to go to but everyone else does. Normally this is not a crisis, but today Jeannie happened to need a sitter, and all of her regular people had to be at work with her. That left me as pretty much the only option, or so she claimed.

This isn't as scary or dangerous as it may have seemed to our friends, because I kind of have a secret: While I don't want kids and don't really enjoy being around them while they are awake, I pretty much babysat my way through high school. I took a Red Cross training course in babysitting and everything. It's just been kind of a long time since high school, and in between I've made it extremely clear that you don't want to leave your screaming, jam-hands kids with me because I might get bored with their noise and leave, or trade them to a wandering peddler for a Mint in Package Mego Supergirl and a handful of magic beans.

Jeannie was desperate, though, so I agreed, and it turns out that none of my rusty, long neglected babysitting skills were needed, because four of the five hours looked pretty much like this:

the babysitter

That kid loves standing right up next to the TV and gazing vacantly at it, and as long as he's quiet, I love letting him do that. I've said before that I'm not a nurturer, and the TV was already on when I got there. Who am I to come between a child and his television?

I did decide at some point that I should feed him breakfast, and Jeannie had left instructions and supplies for that:


I had to lure him away from the television by shaking the cereal bowl like a rattle, using it to lure him to the dining room, but things seemed to be going ok once I had him seated:

breakfast (1)

After about three bites of cereal, though, he tried to free himself from the chair to run back to the television, so I let him:

breakfast (2)

At some point the cartoons switched to that creepy Thomas the Tank Engine show:

thomas (1)

and Jeremy proved that he's a typical American kid by immediately running to his Thomas toys:

thomas (2)

Marketing executives everywhere will be thrilled at how ready he is to fall into the Gap or to be unable to believe that it's not butter.

After a while he fell into what I refer to as "coma time":


He just lay on the floor like that for about twenty minutes. When I went to check on him he was still breathing, so I figured he was fine, and eventually he got up and started moving again. For all I know, he does this all the time and it's totally normal.

Eventually, though, the thing I was dreading all morning reared its smelly head:

diaper changing supplies

Someone needed a diaper change.

I'm not going to get into this too much, except to say that based on the stench Jeannie apparently feeds her baby a steady diet of rotting vegetation and rancid fish. I don't know what he's been eating, but he eats a lot of it. A LOT. Like "Oh my God, I can't believe the diaper didn't explode" quantities. And the smell, dear Jesus, the smell.

I never changed a diaper so fast in my life, and I still felt like I needed to spend a few hours rocking back and forth fully clothed in a steaming shower stall while I rub my skin raw with a steel brush and sob.

Fortunately, Batman was waiting downstairs to soothe us both:

batman worship

And there was plenty of time to shower when I got home.


JMBower said...

I would have considered that a teachable moment. I'd bet nothing would motivate a child to potty train quite so much as having to deal with their own diaper.

Jeannie said...

You are incredibly sweet to babysit. Jeremy loves you and always has. For the record, Saturday morning cartoons on PBS is his favorite thing - clearly. He rarely watches TV other than that, and we do not allow him to stand that close.

And you should be thankful we did not feed him mandarin oranges or corn. Those come out whole in the diaper. *shudder*

Love you!!

Donna said...

Such a sweet Uncle Joel.

My 2 year old watched TV daily, and often that close. Don't worry -- it doesn't turn their brains to mush. I mean, look at you and I and how much TV we watch? We're fine...and any of our mush can be blamed on the vodka.


Bobbi said...

Joel- You had me at hello. Hector and I are rolling in laughter at your adventure's in babysitting. I have a secret for you, though. We do exactly the same with our kids, so you fall right in line with the rest of the parenting world out there!

strong cookie. said...

I just cried from laughing so hard.

thanks joel!