Babysitting is always an adventure. Once or twice a month I am called on by a sweet couple I met to watch their two and four-year old boys for a few hours. Progressively each time I had fallen more and more in love with them, especially the innocent toddler whose infectious laugh makes me melt inside. But tonight we've crossed a certain threshold where all of the sudden these sweet boys are TOO comfortable around me that they won't physically leave me alone. One or both were attached to my body at all times, often with a hand in the face or legs somewhere up around my shoulders. No longer is the infectious laugh cute when it results from repeatedly smacking me with a pillow while the other attempts to conquer my person like King Kong and the Empire State Building.
Were their parents secretly keeping them locked up all day so all their energy could be released all on me, or is there really that much sugar in two tubes of gogurt? Two and four-year olds may be able to repeat the words please and thank you, demonstrating that they can pretend to have manners when you remind them, but neither age group knows the meaning of the word "no." As in, no you may not jump on my stomach just because I lied down on the floor for 5 seconds, and no you may not keep climbing onto the railing and almost killing yourselves falling down, and no you may not keep eating all the food in your fridge even though I know you can't still be hungry.
Everytime I see this family, the two year old has learned new words, and the ones that showed up most tonight were very centered around some common themes. No way could I have not understood that "nack" with a point to the cupboard obviously meant "feed me now." No way did I underestimate the importance little M laid on how much he wanted to climb on my shoulders, when the sequence of vocabulary went from "move" to "back" to "stand up."
No clearer have any commands been from this almost three year old who's graduating from his crib soon. I do not look forward to the day when I get to put him to sleep only to hear him crawl right out and go back to playing with his toys. This is not just annoying, but very worrisome, as he is nicknamed El Destructo for his superhuman ability to get into anything and cause a ruckus. Just today he scared me half to death whenever he attempted to climb on his toy box to turn off the light and fall in. I know I may have some extra padding around my gluteus maximus area, but if I were him, I wouldn't be so thrilled about landing on so many hard, plastic items. I do have to hand it to the kid, though, for being such a daredevil and not even crying the many times he's fallen off the couch or taken a buzz lightyear to the butt.
If all this is making me sound like a horrible caretaker, you'll be even more delighted to know I let them watch Cops on TV. It was the only thing that made them sit still for 5 minutes, and I was NOT going to give that up. Besides, they're too young to know what any of it means, so I don't think any harm was done. But really, I'm actually doing a pretty dang good job of watching them, since no phone calls to the parents have been made, let alone tears shed by either of the boys from an injury. That in and of itself is an accomplishment to be noted.
Despite the boys being super hyper and good at not listening to me tonight, I still presently enjoy the few occasions I get to see them. Babysitting not only puts a pleasing amount of cash in my wallet, but it's fun because their smiles delight me so. Plus, being around kids is almost an instant boost of self confidence, since you don't have to worry one bit about them thinking your hair is greasy or you don't sing as well as Carrie Underwood. As long as you're giving them attention, you will be loved, and that love is a nice thing to feel.