I have been babysitting since I was 10-years-old. That’s over half of my life, people. And I’m not talking, watch a kid for an hour every couple of weeks. I’m talking, if I were to sit down and calculate how many hours of my life were spent doing what, the care, keeping, and feeding of mass amounts of other peoples children would probably be second only to amount-of-time-spent-sweating-my-arse-off-in-ballet-studios.
I’ve babysat for 10+ children at a time (in the same sibling group). With rousing success. I have been peed on. Pooed on. Had my glasses smashed. But I prevail. I don’t mean to toot my own horn here, but I’m kind of skilled. I don’t even LIKE kids that much. I like my siblings. I like my lovely godsiblings. I like my two nanny charges. That’s about it. But I have a gift.
Last night, however?
I declared defeat, for the first time in my life.
The frantic-phone-call-to-the-parents-please-come-home-now kind of defeat.
I’m one of the go-to people in an agency I work with for child care involving behavioral special needs or issues related to adoption/foster care. I was keeping for one such family that I’ve worked with multiple times last night. We have a pretty good routine worked out. The kids have pajamas on, teeth brushed, etc. just before I get there, so we read stories, sing a few songs, and then I tuck them in for the night. Once they fall asleep I just catch up with friends, read, work on homework, etc. until 1 or 2 am when the parents get home.
Last night started out no differently. The lovely Calah called, and we chatted for a bit. It was after I hung up with her that things went a little…haywire.
One of the older children had gotten up a few times, which is really uncharacteristic for him. I sat in there with him for a few minutes, and just as he started to drift back to sleep a certain PTSD trigger for him occurred down the street. He jolted awake and HE. WAS. ANGRY. I took a deep breath, tried to talk him down a little, but he started launching remote control cars at my head.
With alarming force and accuracy.
And then one of the other siblings joined in.
Adding things like shoes.
And butter knives.
And furniture to the arsenal.
And waking the baby up.
I walked in to check on the baby and shut the door behind me, taking a minute to gather myself so I didn’t start yelling profanities at the kids, picked the baby up to calm him down, and he fell right back to sleep.
Except, the other kids busted the door open and started throwing things at me again. And one kicked me in the knees, and I had to fall. Holding the baby up at a truly bizarre angle to keep him from hitting the floor.
And I crunched something in my foot in the process.
It’s now swollen and nasty and painful. But the colors are kind of cool. I could probably take a picture and sell it as abstract art.
And I woke up this morning with a fever and what felt like a baseball lodged between my brain and my sinus cavity. My voice, which isn’t the most feminine of voices in the first place, sounds like a chain-smoking whiskey-shooting woman named Leroy. I tried to get ready for mass but ended up wailing in the shower floor instead.
Oh, let me tell you. It was ATTRACTIVE.
So, I am unashamed to admit that I hobbled to the kitchen, took gratuitous amounts of hot tea and ibuprofen, and went back to bed. Yeah, on a feast day. You’re right. I shouldn’t apply for martyrdom anytime soon.
So. . .happy Sunday!
. . .and unless you’re Kimberlie I’m not available to babysit anytime soon.