Right next to rocket science, neurosurgery, engineering and architecture, there is a certain complex human skill known as babysitting. To put it simply, babysitting is the process of looking after a child (or children) despite the itching urge to slit your wrists, swallow poison or disown a child because of the frustration involved with the activity of babysitting. Babysitting is an activity that should be categorized as a special talent, a unique gift and a rare specialty. It requires patience, generosity, sternness, focus and above all diving intervention. In fact, there should be a section in the Olympics for babysitting. Naturally, the women will rake in more gold than the men, seeing as they are better equipped and prepared for the activity. However, there are some men who will give the women a run for their gold. I am not one of those men. In fact, I would probably do better at aerodynamics (which I have no idea about) than I would at babysitting.
Knowing very well that I can not do babysitting, I somehow decided to take on the challenge anyway so as to either debunk by doubts or abandon ever having kids altogether. I asked a friend of mine to leave me with her 3 little bundles of joy for just 6 hours. Since she had errands to run and I had a few hours to spare, I figured I would save her the stress of being a single mother for a few hours; after all, what is the worst that could happen? The agreement was for me to do the babysitting from 10 am till about 4 pm.
For the entire 6 hours I did the babysitting, I was hurled back and forth through the corners of hell. I was tortured, bullied, frustrated and generally worn out such that when the babysitting ended, all I could think about was how people still continue to have babies knowing all the headache involved. I eventually came to the conclusion that babysitting is something I will probably never get a hang of. That said, I did learn a few lessons along the way and I am more than glad to share them.
Experts at childcare say that playing and sleeping are very important parts of a child’s upbringing. I disagree; I think there is only one important part of a child’s upbringing and it lies in four letters – FOOD! When I started my babysitting, I was fully aware that the kids had had their breakfast and I figured the next meal would be lunch – which their mother had safely tucked away for me to give them when the time arrived. Well, I was extremely wrong. The little fellas kept demanding for bread, cakes, cookies and milk over and over. Being an armature at babysitting, I figured part of babysitting is doing exactly what the kids ask for. Mistake! The more I gave them, the more they bullied me into looking for this and that. I kept giving the kids what they wanted, I was surprised I did not feed them into a coma.
I listen to quite a lot of heavy metal music and I speak rather loudly so one can say I have no problem with noise. Well, the three kids taught me that I needed to look up the definition of noise and try to understand it because clearly I had never experienced it. When one child screams, you get stressed. When two children scream, you may get a headache. But when three sugar high children scream at you, there is a chance you will want to slit your wrists and die – quickly. For the entire 6 hours I was babysitting, the three kids somewhat conspired to scream in unison without as much as a break. At one point, I thought they were deliberately going through some kind of routine drill that their mom taught them for when a thief breaks into the house. It was way too much noise for it to be an ordinary screaming affair.
When I was going over to start the babysitting program, I figured I would carry along a Samsung Galaxy Tab so I could be able to play Temple Run or Angry Birds as the little kids went about their business of playing. Within moments of laying eyes on the gadget, the little fellas demanded to have the gadget. They made it their business and before I knew it, I was being rudely asked not to interrupt with their business. Since I did not want the neighbors thinking I was doing a shoddy job with the babysitting, I decided to give the kids what they wanted – another mistake! Much later when I was getting back home, a number of people sent me text messages asking why I had called them and given the phone to little kids. The little chaps went as far as sending a few rather incomprehensible text messages to unsuspecting people in my contact list. I therefore learnt that when in the company of children, do not under any circumstances show them a Samsung Galaxy Tab.
Looking after children requires that you accord them as much attention as you can possibly manage. With three children in your care, you can never know where each and every one of them is at all times. At one moment, child A is in the bedroom. At the same moment, child B wants to be in the living room. At that exact moment, Child C wants to go to the bathroom. Somehow, one has to find a way to keep an eye on each and every one of them. I tried to bundle all the kids up in one room and keep an eye on them but this never really worked well because one would always want to start a revolution and break free so they can go to where exactly they wanted to be. The only option I had in trying to keep them all in one room was to turn on the TV but even that was not going to work for long since the mom had instructed me not to allow them any more than one hour of TV.
Turn off their favourite cartoon and you are in trouble!
The White Flag
As the clock chimed away and the seconds ticked away, I increasingly found myself getting resigned to the reality that maybe babysitting is just not my thing. By the time the mother of the little chaps arrived, they were sleepy and all she did was take them to their room and tuck them in – something I had failed to do for 6 whole hours! I therefore silently raised the white flag admitted to the fact that I shall only be an ardent person in the crowd when the time for the Babysitting Olympics comes around. From now onward, whenever I see a person comfortably looking after any more than 2 children, I shall take off my hat, take a bow and pay my respects. That right there is a gold medalist in the department of babysitting.
I give up!
“A child is a curly, dimpled lunatic.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Talkative Rocker
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