Friday, June 6, 2008

Confessions of a Babysitter

Perhaps I should have taken the job title literally.

Warning: this is lengthy.

I am begging you, if any of my children are ever brats, please tell me. I will not be offended.

I just baby-sat one of the most whiny, misbehaved 4 1/2 year-old boys ever. Let's call him Z. It all began when I first walked in the door, at 3:00. Seriously. Z instantly started telling me that his baby brother (we'll call him J, he's 21 months) was asleep. We were right outside his door. Needless to say, J wasn't asleep for very much longer. I was told that J had a slight fever, but that he seemed to be acting normal, so I just had to give him motrin and tylenol at the appropriate times. Oh, I forgot... Z was wearing swim trunks and slippers.

His mom was showing me around the house, showing me where things were, and Z kept grabbing my hand/arm and pulling me in whatever direction he wanted my attention to go. Repeatedly. His mom didn't even tell him to stop, just that we would be going wherever he wanted me to go shortly.

After the parents left, Z, J, and I went to the basement to play. They have one of those big balls with handles on it - you are supposed to sit on it and bounce around. Well, Z decided it would be a good idea to hold it and spin around, and around, and around. He knocked J in head, and I told him to stop. He didn't. Next Z hit the blinds, then he hit a chair, which spun the ball back around at him, knocking him over. That's when I convinced him to stop. They also have one of those little slides with the platform at the top and the little 'house' underneath. Z climbed up the side and then jumped off the platform. Okay, that was fine, he wasn't jumping at us, and he wasn't hurting himself. J, of course, wanted to climb up the slide too. Z wasn't having that. He slid down and knocked J down. J cried, I comforted, and told Z that it wasn't nice. Of course he did it again. This time I warned Z that the next time he was going to time out.

Side note: I hate it when parents don't tell me how they discipline their children. If the kids do something that I don't think is right, I don't want to punish them in a way that the parents don't approve of. Of course this was the case with Z.

Anyhow - Of course Z did it again (poor J) and so I instructed him to sit on the bottom stair of the staircase for 4 minutes (his age). He kept getting up, so obviously it wasn't an affective form of punishment. I finally told him to come over to me, and I told him that he needed to behave and listen to me or he would be put in time out. Z says "Okay, time out was fun." Great. So I said "Then next time, you can go to your room." Z says "No, I don't want to go to my room." So that was it! He was sent to his room for punishment. That threat worked for a majority of the night...

Once 4:50 rolled around it was time to fix dinner, so we headed upstairs. Once in the kitchen/living room area, I sent the boys into the living room to play while I put their plates together. Z kept disappearing down the hall toward the bedrooms, and I would call him back and tell him to stay where I could see him. He disappeared again, and J followed him this time, which means I followed both of them. I end up in the laundry room where I find Z on the washer looking through some stuff on some shelves. I tell him to get down, several times. Finally he grabs something off the shelf. I ask him what he has. Z says he has mint gum and that he wants some. I tell him no. I don't know if his parents allow him to have gum, and the fact that it was hidden on a high shelf makes me think that he isn't. Z starts crying after I tell him repeatedly that he can't have any. Finally I gave in. I told him if he behaved and ate all his dinner he could have a piece of gum. Tantrum averted.

I got their plates of cucumber, banana, grapes, pasta, turkey, and string cheese and their cups of milk and called them to the table. Z ate everything except half of his cucumbers. J wasn't feeling dinner. He ate all the turkey, cheese, and grapes. Everything else he spit out if I snuck it in. I asked J if he wanted more of anything, and he signed more using 'baby sign language'. I was excited so I asked him to show me milk and thank you, and he did. (I really hope to use sign language with my babies). I got J more turkey and he ate it up. This whole time Z was annoying J by putting his foot on his leg/chair/booster.

After dinner it was bath time. But oh! That gum! Z wouldn't give it up! I told him he had 10 minutes with the gum before bath. He chewed it for less than 5 before he asked to spit it out. I had a feeling Z didn't actually like mint gum.

The boys bathed together. They played nicely. And then Z told J to splash with him. Water got everywhere. If I were at home, and could change at will, that would have been fine. But I didn't really want to have to spend the rest of my evening in soaking wet jeans. I told them to stop, and once I pointed out that the wall was wet, Z agreed to stop. I had Z wash himself and his hair, and he even washed J's hair with out being asked. I washed J's body, made sure that both the boys were rinsed well, and had them get out.

Z put on this pj's and I took J to his changing table to get him dressed. Z went to the living room to play, J and I joined him - only to find him with the TV on. He was only supposed to watch one 1/2 hour show while I put J to bed. I didn't have him turn it off. He was quiet, and not bothering little J. After that episode of 'Superhero Pets' or whatever the heck it was called was over, I told Z to turn it off and to come play with J and I. I was helping J do a puzzle when I heard something weird. I looked over and saw J scraping the grout of the fireplace tile with something metal. It was a key, and I made him stop. He threw a fit saying that he was 'building'. I told him to build something else. He started scraping at the pantry door. I called him over and told him he could build on a wooden puzzle. That appeased him.

Once 6:45 rolled around, I set Z up with his snack, turned on his show, and took J to bed. I read him 2 stories, gave him his medicine, and rocked him for a few minutes. He went down no problem. I returned to find Z quietly sitting on the couch watching his show. I let him watch 1/2 of another show since it wasn't quite his bed time, and when the time was up - you guessed it! He threw another fit. And he wanted more gum. Once I coerced him into the bathroom to brush his teeth, wash his face, and go potty. Then I sent him into his room to collect all his 'lovies'. Thats what they call him. It consists of 5 blankets, a hot water bottle, and a STL hat. Kids are strange. Then I had him picked out a story. He chose a Wizard of Oz chapter book. Sigh. I read 2 long chapters stopping after every page turn to show Z the pictures. I told him it was time to sleep... but he needed one more chapter, then one more... 4 chapters later, the phone rang.

Z's mom called to say that they were on their way home, they were tired and decided to come home early. Thank god. That kid wasn't going peacefully.

I am going to do everything in my power to make sure that my kids are at least polite. Z was a never ending nag.

Sorry for the novel, I had to share that with someone!


cjd

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