Monday, September 18, 2006

Memory Monday - Adventures in Babysitting

I've been babysitting for a long, long time. Since I was 11, in fact, which makes the first kid I ever babysat a freshman in high school. Ouch. His name was Dakota, and he was 11 months old. Kid could walk, though, and darn well. Once, I had the front door open. He was right by my side, next to the kitchen. I turned around for a second, to attend to the incredibly important task of calling to request a song on the radio, and when I turned around again, to my horror, Dakota's right foot was dangling ominously over the top step of the outside stairwell. Yeah, he fell down the stairs. He was okay, though, no major damages. Except for that giant ding to my life span.

I had a few favorites. Aaron and Bailey come to mind. They were about 3 and 4 when I was about 13, so that makes them *gag* 16 and 17. (Right?) Aaron was this brown haired, blue eyed little sweetheart, and Bailey was an adorable, brown eyed, blonde haired angel. They were such good kids, and their mom's pantry was always PACKED.

The four brothers that lived across the street from me were some of my favorites, too. Although it was a long time ago that I babysat them, if I think real hard, their names were Jonathan, Clinton, Nathan, and Justin, all under the age of 11. You'd think, 13 year old girl, 4 boys... terror. Nah. They were actually really good kids. I did have to call my stepmom once or twice for backup. She's 6 feet tall and very dark and intimidating. 8 little eyes, widened in terror - she worked like a charm.

Then there were my not-so-favorites, although it was more the fault of the parents than the kids. Once, my stepmom called me from the bar she worked at and told me to leave the house I was babysitting at immediately, and no sooner. I was all, "but their mom's not home yet." "They'll be home soon, and I don't want you seeing what their dad's going to do to their mom when they do get home. Leave now." That was a little scary. I still don't know what happened. Stepmommy won't tell me.

And Jamie, Amanda, and Corey. CUTE kids, very loving. But... One morning after pulling an all nighter with these three, I was woken up by a knock on the door. It was the police, holding a very meek-looking Corey by his meek-looking scruff. Corey, it seems, at the age of 7-ish, had snuck out of the house, met his friends, and run down to the local elementary school with a can of spray paint and a very artistic mission. I still see that kid's imprint whenever I pass that school, and it's 10 years later.

Of course, I can't leave a post about babysitting without talking about the 4 amazing years I spent with my goddaughters. I babysat them several times a week, and once, for a week, while their parents went to Jamaica. At the time, they were 4 months, 1 year, and 2 years old. My experience with them, I know, has made me a good mom. I've only had to call my own mom for advice a few times. Without my experience with them, I think I'd be a nervous wreck.

Back in the day, I charged $5 per kid, per night. I charged a little more if I had to stay overnight, then upped my price to $7.50 per kid, per night, as my financial demands (ahem, Abercrombie and Fitch t-shirts) reached an all time high. Now I don't get paid. I do it for the cuddles.


cncz said...

dude I would pay you for some quality Ace cuddles. Oh. My. Gosh. Do you take Swiss Francs?

Melinda Barton said...

Got the birth announcement and I must say, I might have to pay for some Ace cuddles too. That's if you're allowing the sickly types near him now and if I can ever get my rotund bottom down to MS. OR if you can come to DC.

shiksa said...

Mom and Pop got the birth announcement and have it plastered on the fridge. I think you've gotten me out of grandchildren conversations for at least another year! And Frank now wants dibs on some Ace toe-nibbling.

cncz said...

My birth announcement is on my desk within my line of sight. I am sure it bothered Maternity Leave Can't Leave that I had somebody else's baby on "her" desk. Heh.

Drew said...

I'm glad the birth announcements have proved so useful to everyone :)