Thursday, February 7, 2008

I'm not ready to be a mom.

Not ready at all. Not that I was planning on it happening any time soon anway but if ever you needed a measure as to how soon you might be ready to don the "mom" title or hone in on those maternal instincts... babysit a 7 year old (boy here to forth to be refered to as Thing1) and a 4 year old (girl here to forth to be refered to as Thing2) overnight for a few days... that will surely do the trick. Based on my "measurement" of recent... I've got about oh... 8 years to go? Which is fine, that'll give me plenty of time to get married (eventually and to whomever God intends), travel, pay off some student loans, buy a car that doesn't squeek... ya know... important things.

I agreed to watch the children of a couple of my coworkers while they were out on the road for camp recruiting the past couple days. I mean hey, they'll be at school pretty much all day, and I've babysat them before, no big deal. (insert laugh track here). First of all, there is a big difference to a child who knows that mom and dad will be home in a few hours and we get to play "Chutes and Ladders" with KJ for a little bit - and mom and dad are gone for a few days, so the person who will be making your breakfast, your dinner, taking you to practice, putting you to bed and signing your homework is not the same person who's been doing it the last 7 years. Now, before I go any further, please understand, I LOVE KIDS. I was an elementary education major in college. I work at a childrens summer camp that caters to ages 6 - 16. I've been babysitting since I was 12 years old and I have taken countless classes on child development and "how to reason with a child" and "discipline 101." I love kids. I love spending time with them, I love their ability to understand the simplist and most complex circumstances as pertaining to their own world. I love their candor. Working with and helping children is one of my strongest passions in life. So... with all that said, lets return to the tale.

I would call myself an average babysitter. But as far as what parents are probably looking for I am a Mary Poppins of sorts (not trying to toot my own horn, just giving you a mental picture). I actually do have a bag that I bring, I have face paint, colors and paper, I can juggle, and if you're lucky I'll bring along some balloons and my pump and can make balloon animals. Entertainment for the masses. I'm also fair, I will not let your child get away with things that you wouldn't let them get away with... I am patient and am CPR & Lifeguard certified and work for a place that does national background checks every year. C'mon.

All you moms are probably laughing right now because if you are a mom, or have babysat children for days at a time while their parents are away, you would realize that NONE OF THIS HELPS! Those kids could care less. Sure it works for a few hours, but after that they get over it and are ready for their world to fall back into place.

My first night we had gymnastics practice so I picked Thing2 up from daycare and brought Thing1 with me. Stopped at sonic per moms instructions and got food before practice and then sat and watched as Thing2 practiced her cartwheels and climbed all the way to the top of that rope to ring the bell. I had fun watching her, she's so funny! Thing1, while mostly disinterested and still a little perterbed that I insisted he get something other than cheese sticks for dinner, sat and played his nintendo DS. Practice is over, it's about 7pm and we head for home. Thing2 is supposed to be in bed by 7:30 so we get to the house and I tell Thing1 to start on his homework and when all his homework is done and his reading is done (insert info: I wanted him to bring his homework to gymnastics to do it there but mom said he could do it when he got home... fine whatever.) he could watch American Gladiator if there was still time before bed. He immediately walked over to the TV and turned it on because he knew his show (AG) was on. I turned around... almost aghast at his blatant disregard for my instructions... and walked over to the TV and turned it off. I looked at him and with a more firm voice said "I want you to go to the kitchen table and do your homework. When that is finished, we're going to do your reading. After that, if there is still time, I will let you watch American Gladiator before bed. Now please, go and do what I just asked." Thing1 looked at me for a moment and then got up and went to the kitchen. Good I thought, I've got this under control. I took Thing2 into her room to get pajamas and then we walked back towards the front of the house to the bathroom to get her teeth and hair brushed. I go and check on Thing1 and he's in the kitchen... PLAYING HIS NINTENDO! I walked over, stood next to him for a moment while he ignored me and said "Thing1, turn that off right now and start on your homework. Your attitude is very disrespectful and if you keep it up, you're not going to watch anything before you go to bed wether you have time or not." He turned it off, I took it up and he very forcefully unzipped his backpack to get his homework out. He was angrily slamming his books down and opening them with rage but I thought it best to ignore this particular part of his tantrum, and in fact didn't care if he was angry as long as he was doing what I said.

Thing2 and I then have a long dissagreement about brushing teeth. "I don't like that toothpaste" "yes you do, it's the same one you use every night" "it's gross" "well it'll only be for a min. and then you can spit it out and drink some water" "I don't need to brush my teeth" "yes you do need to brush your teeth" "hahahaha, I like your necklace" "Thing2 we have to brush your teeth" "why do you have that stuff on your lips" "it's lip gloss, I just like it, open your mouth"
Finally she complies and we get the pre-bed ritual finished with. I take her into her room and read her a story to calm her down and Thing1 comes into the room.... "I'm done" "ok, well as soon as she's down, we'll do your reading." he starts kicking a balloon around in her room and obviously this is not what I need while I'm trying to get her to calm down they begin to argue about who's balloon it is and I am starting to get frustrated... "Thing1 please stop, go into the kitchen, we'll be done in just a min." He rolls his eyes at me and huffs at the request, turns and stomps out. I call him back into the room. I am NOT conceding control to a 7 year old. "Thing1, I'm going to tell you right now, your attitude is not gana fly. It's not ok, I don't know why you're acting like this but I don't appreciate it at all." so he then leaves the room. FINALLY Thing2 is in bed, and lights are out....

I'll spare you the details from the rest of the evening as this post is already long enough but it turned into him having a massive tantrum, calling his mom and dad and then hanging up on them every 10 min. (Note to self: If my kid ever hangs up on me, especially when I'm trying to talk to him about being disrespectful to his babysitter... oh man... just WAIT till I get home...) He slammed a door in my face, kept thrashing around and crying if I would go near him. I wasn't freaked out or worried or feeling like I couldn't handle it. I don't care if he cries all night long, you respect adults. Period. End of story. And when I tell you you're doing homework before you watch your show, or that you're not watching your show now because of the way you're acting... thats EXACTLY what I mean. He was absolutely beside himself and shocked that I wouldn't let him watch it later on. (the parents give in too easily in my opinion)

After he was finally settled down and FINALLY in bed (a good 30 min. after his bedtime) I went to decompress and watch some comedy central.

And I'm sure if you're still reading along.... you'll nod your head in agreement over this moms... at 3am, Thing2 comes into the room I'm sleeping in and is standing there just starring at me sucking her thumb. I don't know how long she was standing there but when I woke up I almost screamed! It scared the crap out of me! "I'm scared" "what are you scared of?" "my room" at this point I was too exhausted to take her back to bed, and explain that a room is nothing to be scared of... I just said "do you wana sleep in here?" "yes" So she climbs up next to me and I try and fall back asleep. Try being the operative word here since her constant moving, rolling, and flinging of legs and arms makes it hard to drift back into slumber. She even takes my hair out of the pony tail because she likes to play with it when she's sucking her thumb (I've seen her do it to the mom all the time so I just figured it was her thing, whatever) - at 4:30 she says "I'm hungry" "well, it's not time for breakfast so you're gana have to wait and go back to sleep" eventually she went back to her room, and I woke up at 5:30 to get myself ready before they got up....

Night two was very similar although less crying. The mornings were ok... just very rushed. We did have a nice debate about which clothes Thing2 wanted to wear that morning. Weather has no bearing on her perception of fashion and style apparently.

All I know was 2 days was enough.. I was fine, the kids were fine, but I was ready to give them back. I'm not ready to be a mom.


Ky Woman

I'm sorry but I had to laugh at this. As a mother of 5 grown children and now 3 grandbabies, you soon learn where your frustration level starts. And children will push you to that place every time! If you let them....
I've been reading your blog for a while now, I completely understand how you feel. ;-)
Hang in there....


I love the names, thing 1 thing 2! God help, I repeat, God help if my boys hang up the phone on me at such a young age. Actually even in the teen years they'll still need a running start if they do.

Its amazing how kids know just how to push the right buttons. You sound like you did an excellent job. If your ever in my neck of the woods I'm looking for a babysitter ; )

Jrzy Army Wife

I think I completely almost pee'd myself. I give you A LOT of credit.. my own kid is enough responsibility I don't know if I could handle anyone else's much less 2.


How old are you?