Back in 1994, I was toying with the idea of giving a speech in Toastmasters on my various adventures in babysitting. What follows is a draft of that speech. I just unearthed it as I was tooling around my hard drive looking for something else. It still needs polishing, but it has some funny moments.
This weekend I saw Son of Godzilla. It was actually quite entertaining. I think what I found the most special about this particular Godzilla movie were the scenes of Godzilla teaching his child. Scenes of parenthood always seem to move me.
Although I am not a parent, I’ve been in training since I was five years old. That is when my sister was born.
At the age of 13, I got my first babysitting job. I’ve never been the same since.
Child-sitting can be exhilarating, joyous and fun. It can also be scary and adventurous. Your metal can tested during just three hours with a child.
The trials of child-sitting can be minor or great. One time, a three year old I was sitting was going through a time of nightmares. The parents neglected to tell me this. That night, she got up out of bed crying for her mother. Her mother wasn’t going to be there for a few more hours, and the child really needed to get to sleep. I ended up sitting in a rocking chair with her in may arms for over an hour.
The same child claimed to be potty trained. She came up to me and said she had to go to the bathroom. Well, I’d never dealt with this before. So I took her to the bathroom and helped her take off her pants. She then proceeded to piss all over the floor with out getting up on the toilet. ACK!!!! “Stop! Get on the toilet! AAAAAA!” I ended up having to change her clothes and clean the bathroom floor.
Not all of the things that happen while sitting are so bad. I usually have a great time playing with the child. It is amazing how complex a 2 or 3 year old’s personality can be. Of course I’ve never quite grown up. I enjoy playing with children’s toys. And children say the funniest things!
Once, I was playing Star Wars with a four year old boy. He handed me Darth Vader and said, “Here, take this one. I don’t like him, he doesn’t have a head.” He was right, Darth’s head had been chewed off.
Another time, one of my favorite kids to sit was taking a nap. I took the time to start watching a movie called Runaway staring Tom Selleck. Its a thriller/mystery in which Gene Simmons (from KISS) plays the villain. Half way through the movie, it was time for me to get him up from his nap. Understand that I had arrived to sit after he’d gone to sleep, and he hadn’t seen me before. I got him up and sat him in the room with me. He still had sleep in his eyes. Now all the startling, suspenseful parts of the movie came up. I kept jerking with surprise, and even let out a couple of gasps. The look on his face was sooooooo funny. He didn’t have any idea who I was. He just looked at me with his cherubic face, his eyes wide open. I probably looked like a cross between his mother and father. My glasses were similar to his father’s.
There are also those times during babysitting that you just never forget. The times that remind you more of a movie or sitcom than real life. One of those times was when all the lights in the house, except those in the kitchen, went off. There was no storm, and I’m quite afraid of the dark. Luckily the children were already in bed asleep. It latter turned out that the neighborhood kids had discovered their switch box, and found it really amusing to turn the power off.
The best example is the story I call “Dog vomit,” which you will understand shortly. It was Halloween, and the mother was going to two parties that night. She left, all dressed up as Olive Oyle, leaving two phone numbers behind in case anything happened. I’m so glad she did.
I was sitting in the living room with the TV on reading Lord Foul’s Bane. The family dog, Bonnie – a collie – was sitting next to me on the floor. She got up and put her head in my lap. I put my book aside, smiled and patted her on the head, then went back to reading my book.
Suddenly, without a sound, I felt something wet between my thighs. Expecting the worse, I slowly moved my book down on the couch by my side. Bonnie was smiling up at me, and there was small pool of vomit in my lap. 00000000000000, yuck! Bonnie!
I quickly got up and put her outside. Then off came my jeans. And underwear. It had soaked through! I ran upstairs to find a towel, then went to the washing machine to wash my cloths. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to run the damn thing.
I called the mother up. She laughed when she got there and told me she was glad I called. She had been trying to think of an excuse to leave the party she was at, to go onto the next one.
Although this wasn’t the most fun experience, I do love to look back on it and laugh. Through all the trials and tribulations, through all the joys and all the adventures I’ve learned a lot from babysitting.
Sitting gives me a glimpse into what parenthood is really like. It also gives me the proper preparations for the unexpected.