Although I have been around kids and highly admired them -- and wished I could clone a few and bring them home with me at times, I haven't had a chance to actually babysit for almost twenty plus years. Until an evening not long ago...
A friend was off on her first date in a long while. Her babysitter bailed at the last minute and she was in a panic. She calls ME and asks me of all people to babysit! I truly think she must be mad -- and desperate! I agree -- but only because I think it will be interesting experience.
I get to her house to babysit her son Bryan about ten minutes later. He is actually 3 going on 4 in two weeks. Cute as a bug! I walk into the house and say hi and he literally runs and hides. He is extremely shy. My friend gives me a quick overview as to food, phone numbers, etc. Then she literally runs out the door with the comment of -- he is a little devil, you sure you want to try this??
I didn't get a chance to answer before the door swung shut. Ryan is in the corner hiding. I walk over and try to cajole him out -- it isn't working. I decided to walk into the living room then and try alternative plan #2. Let's get out the new red Ferrari Hot Wheel that I brought and start playing with it! I might as well have some fun. After about five minutes, Bryan sticks his head around the corner and sees me playing with the Ferrari. He comes running over and stands really close to me while I'm still playing with it.
I offer to let him take a turn -- but he has to learn the word "Ferrari". All good Italians kids (which Bryan is) need to learn this word early in their lives -- it's part of their national heritage. After a few attempts, he pronounces "Ferrari" correctly. Yes -- I made him learn how to pronounce it correctly!
So I offer to let him take a turn then. One hour later he is still running around the living room making "vroom - vroom" noises and having the time of his life.
Next up is the trip to the Dairy Queen at the Chandler Mall -- which is nearby. They have this big giant playground next to a big water effects display. I figure it would be a good place to bring him. So I get his car seat setup in my Acura. Get him loaded into my car and off we go. He is having fun going "vroom, vroom" sounds again because of how loud my car is in comparison to his mom's Mercedes. We get to the mall and I get him out of his seat.
Over to the playground we go. He spends an hour playing with the other kids. Going down the slide. Climbing all through the toys. Playing Hot Wheels with other kids and bragging about how fast his red Ferrari is!! (he's learning!) A mother comes over and says how well mannered my son is -- I have to admit that I'm babysitting for the first time in twenty plus years and he isn't my son. She is impressed!
Diary Queen we go. Two small softserves. He has about three bites and gets a "freeze headache". I'm thinking he is going to start crying and then I'm going to be clueless. I get a quick glass of water and hand to him and tell him to drink as it will help. He has literally tears in his eyes but he drinks anyway. I have him sit and I just hold his head for a minute really quietly. Then he looks up and smiles and says that the "owie" in his head is gone and smiles. Emergency averted to my major relief!!
Homeward bound now. No use pushing the limits. We are not even out of the parking lot and he is asleep. All the way home. I even carry him inside and put him in his bed. He is out like a light. I check to make sure he is still breathing and his heart is still beating -- I'm a newbie at this! I don't want to be the one who breaks him.
Eventually my friend gets home. She looks at me and asks how much damage? I said none. She gives me this unbelieving look. I said we played Hot Wheels, went to the playground at the mall, then DQ, then home to sleep. She went and checked on him and came back. She can't believe I actually got away this easy. Most babysitters have nightmares as he is never in control.
That's a nice thing to tell me now!!
I headed home then. I survived babysitting day one. I went home with a smile. =)