Please don’t ask me to babysit. I don’t like it, and I am not good at it.
I have a bad habit of talking to children as thought they were adults. I’ve discovered that when you take a 6 year old boy to McDonald’s and say “Before you place your order, please gauge your hunger level commensurate with the amount of food provided in Happy Meal as compared to the 6 pack chicken and separate fries option,” they just stare at you. Then they start to cry and tell strangers that you are not their mom.
I love having play dates over for my kids, though. But those kids are here to play; it’s anytime I am bound to keep them longer than 6 hours and have their medical information on file that the trouble starts. Play dates are not the same thing as babysitting. Those kids are here just for fun; all I am required to do is put out food and clean up spills. Well, at least provide a cloth so that they can clean up the spills. Or just wordlessly point to the linen cupboard and spray cleaner while giving them the stink eye. Whatever.
Please do not think me cold. I understand how hard it is to do that job well. I think that being an excellent caregiver to other people’s children is one of the hardest jobs in the world. Which is EXACTLY WHY I DON’T DO IT. Did you see the words “hardest” and “ever” in that sentence?
I appreciate and love my child care provider. I can’t even call her that anymore because she is now a close friend, but no longer my sitter. The day she decided to go back to school and stop providing childcare, I cried harder than when my husband left. I’M KIDDING. Okay. I’m not.
I love my sweet, sweet Ms. X. I am not telling you her name because I want to keep her to myself. She is one of the nicest people I know, AND she likes appreciates the culinary wonders of bacon as much as I do. It’s like we were meant to be.
If I ever did become a child care giver, here’s how my ad would look:
Frazzled, impatient mother of two now providing child watching services. Daily breakfasts will be served by showing child where in pantry to locate fruit cups, pudding packs and granola bars.
I find lunch to be generally overrated, but if you do wish your child eat a meal before 5 pm, please include preferences from list: carpet lint, stale saltines or leftover guacamole. If the planets align and I have both bread AND cheese, as well as the inclination, grilled cheese sandwiches may possibly be provided. Fresh fruit is available, but will be permitted only if children remember to put the knives into the dishwasher after they finish slicing the watermelons.
Circle time is held daily, and includes such learning games as “Making Jeni coffee – the RIGHT way,” “Proper Ways to Stain Removal and other Laundry Chores,” and “Yard Work Builds Character.” Please provide your child with a roll of toilet paper, as I cannot always promise that there will be any in the bathroom. Actually, give them two rolls. My son ran out yesterday.
Child must be inventive and adventurous, and enjoy playing independently and OUTSIDE. I have things to do in the house. Send child in clothing you care little to nothing for, as tree climbing, creek walking and general leaving me alone are all highly encouraged.
Some level of numeracy is expected, especially the numerals “9” and” 1.”
Hours of availability are from 11 am until 2 pm. Earlier drop-offs are permitted, but expect to have door answered by Medusa-haired baggy eyed woman in threadbare Led Zeppelin T-shirt and men’s XXL track pants secured with baling twine. Tim Horton’s coffee (large; milk only) is happily accepted as bribery and your best bet to securing warm and loving environment for your child before 9am.
Crafts are discouraged. That’s what we have nursery schools for; crafts and getting chickenpox over with. T.V. is permitted, although children’s programming is rarely tolerated, especially if M*A*S*H reruns are on. We pray at the altar of Dr. Benjamin Hawkeye Pierce here, so children must be comfortable with depictions of gaping chest wounds and understand Korean war-era lingo. Okay, Hot Lips?
While I cannot at this time offer school transport services, I do have a child’s John Deere pedal tractor and a 1971 town map available for an additional fee.
lease call at least 1 hour before scheduled pick up time so any necessary first aid procedures can be rendered.
References are not available at this time, pending completion of conflict resolution mediation session.
What do you think? Could you trust your children to me?