She was sweet sixteen and possessed a serenity and non-annoying kindness about her that could rival many a grown adult’s demeanor. She quickly turned from fantastic babysitter, to young family friend, to someone we now consider family.
Alas, she decided she wanted to be a writer (the horror!) and began her academic journey to becoming an environmental journalist on the southwestern shores of The Maritimes. (But she’s coming home for a spell at the end of this summer, joy of joys!)
He was seventeen and loved and doted on our children as if they were his own siblings. But in a good big brother way, not in that torturous, tickle-you-until-you-pee sort of way. But then he went and became a rock star with his parents as he was destined to do and we were forced to look for someone to replace him on the occasion that we would like to enjoy each other’s company sans children, outside of our home. (Crazy, I know!)
Suffice to say, we’ve been on the hunt for some new prey and there have been a few contenders. All of whom need a crash course on what the rules are, what to expect, and what to expect that they can’t expect. (Because let’s face it, when it comes to toddlers and little kids in general, they are anything but predictable!)
So here’s what you should know before babysitting my kids …
Abby’s “Dragon Mode” will induce nightmares.
We are in a very fierce phase with the little miss. Be warned. Her frustration and disapproval of any number of nonsensical things can happen anytime, anywhere. She will resemble Carol Anne child from Poltergeist, as her eyes roll back into her head and her sweet cherubic face quickly becomes demonic. Expect ear-piercing screams and all-out brawls to commence. This is where you need to administer boundaries in fight or flight mode. May the force be with you.
They probably have a broader vocabulary than you — don’t take it to heart.
Their dad is annoyingly brilliant and the gene definitely hasn’t skipped a generation. They will want to play word games, make word art, sing wordy songs, and generally get all up in your wordy face.
We’ve got some serious house rules to follow.
They must wear underwear in the kitchen, there’s no wiping snot on the walls, no peeing in the sewer grates on our crescent, no extreme toddler wrestling allowed (this includes choke holds, pins, and steam rolling), and no drumming before 10 AM. Related: sparkly fairy wands are not drumsticks. Neither are forks, knives, or toilet plungers. Good luck enforcing these.
Expect all the questions.
Why? Why? Why? WHY and WHERE?!?! Right now, they are these curious little mind-suckers who want to know everything about all of the things. “How old are you? Where do you live? What’s your phone number and what’s your address? Do you have a penis or a vagina? Are you pregnant?” (Especially horrifying if you aren’t.) They will also tell you blatantly obvious things like, “You have boobies! You have a big head!”
Come ready to get crafty.
Whether your bring your own or arm yourself upon arrival, I highly suggest you coming ready to do some crafts. I’m not just talking about drawing with crayons in some silly coloring book. They love to paint, work with pastels, cut and glue, merge mediums and create multi-disciplinary objects d’art. We take this very seriously around here.
Don’t wear that cashmere sweater you covet and definitely leave the 6-inch wedges at home. They’ll have you running to keep up with them and all sorts of undesirables will end up smeared, spattered, and glued to your clothing.
It’s all worth it. I promise.
If you are sweet to them and take the time to do the activities with them that they love as I’ve described, they will lay down immeasurable amounts of love upon your soul. You’ll be smitten for life, as will they.More On