[This post is a little long, so you have two options:
- You can persevere, and read the whole thing.
- You can scroll to the bottom, where I have a new poll and pictures of what my sketch looks like after another session (the piece I showed you all last week in “To Create”, of the old man laughing done in black and white charcoal)
Either way, hi! Have a nice day! And now to the post….]
I was asked to babysit for this family with three kids. They wanted four hours on Sunday, six hours on Monday, and five hours today (Tuesday). I accepted readily, because I love babysitting. There’s a boy who is three and a half (“A”), a girl who is five and a half (“N”), and boy who is seven and a half (“R”). Let’s just say, it wasn’t easy.
On Sunday, I spent the first 50 minutes fighting with the kids, because A hit me five minutes in when he wanted something (more cereal), and I told him he’s not allowed to have anything until he apologizes and asks nicely. Then the other two kept fighting about what they wanted to do, and refusing to get along. Then they had a silent protest (at least it was silent) when I wouldn’t let them ride their bikes (their mom didn’t want them going outside), and were just impossible. I brought them both to me, and told them that sometimes in life, it happens that you can’t do exactly what you wanted to do and you have make a compromise. They didn’t understand, so I said:
“Let’s say you want to be a doctor, but you can’t. And that’s it, there’s no way you can be a doctor, ever, even if you want to. What are you going to do, sit around sulking for the rest of your life? No! You’re going to find something else that you want to do, and that will make you happy.”
Now I’ll readily admit this isn’t the greatest example, but it’s what I came up with. This is what R shrieked back:
“I want to be a doctor, and no one can tell me I can’t!!!!!!!! I CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT TO!!!!!” I think my point was missed.
I wanted to call their mom and tell her I couldn’t take it anymore. When I put it down in words it really doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it was way more awful than it sounds. You know me pretty well by now, and I’m never one to give up or be overdramatic. I wanted to go home.
An hour in, I put on Shrek for the older two, and went to find A who was sulking somewhere. I told him he’s welcome to come and join us. He mumbled that he wants more cereal, and I told him he can say “Ella, may I please have some more cereal?” and all of his problems would be solved. So he said it, and I replied with “gladly”. I WON!!!! Yay!
After getting him more cereal, the three of them settled in to watch the movie, and I sobbed silently inside. I knew that once the movie ended I would still have more than an hour with them, and I needed to prepare myself. A and N ended up falling asleep during the movie, so I played a bit with R, and it was very frustrating, but I won’t get into it. N woke up, joined, stuff happened and I got even more frustrated. A woke up, things imploded a bit.
What stood out to me most was that: A. These kids are entirely used to getting exactly what they want, whether it’s within reason or not. B. They are so competitive! They always have to be better than their siblings, the best at everything.
R just kept going, “Aren’t I so good at this? I’m so smart that I thought to do this. I’m so much better at this than you. What, you didn’t get it? Are you dumb? You’re fat. I’m so cool. I know it.”
Seriously? Parents, why do you let your kid talk to people this way? He also had this bit where he would think he has explained something to you, when he really hasn’t, and then he gets frustrated with you. I actually felt really bad for him on this, because he clearly has no idea he’s doing it. For instance, he wanted to play a game with me and I didn’t know how to play it. To explain, he said “so you have these cards, and you can put them down like this, or you can put them here. Let’s play.” Then I would say, “R, you didn’t really explain it, could you try again?” and he would go, “What don’t you get? I’m so much smarter than you.”
N just liked saying I’m her servant, bothering her brothers, making life difficult. I wanted to cry by the time the dad came back and dropped me off at home. If the mom didn’t work with my dad (making it impossible for me to run away like a squirrel and never see her again), I would have told her straight up that her kids had been really horrible. Now that I think of it, I kind of did. We had agreed to talk at night and give me a chance to tell her how it went. I told her everything, straight up, just didn’t mention the part about what R had said (R- smart, me- idiotic). She said she would talk to them, and leave A at her mother’s.
This is where perseverance kicks in. I talked myself into believing everything would be better the next day, and packed a magic bag filled with stuff to pull out when they start getting bored/tired/mean. My parents told me they’re proud of me, my friends commiserated, and I readied myself for the torture.
Bright and early, I was ready to go. The mom let me know that she had the ingredients for pizza, so I could make it with the kids, and that she had talked to them and they would be better.
They weren’t better. It probably didn’t help that instead of prepping the pizzas together, sticking them in the oven and having lunch together, we had to eat sandwiches because it turns out there were ingredients for dough. Slight issue: dough takes two hours to rise. It would have been handy to know I should have built that into the schedule, rather than start getting ready half an hour before lunch.
Anyway, it sucked. The only time the two of them got along was when they were bullying me. I stood my own the whole time, I never gave into them and I did the right thing, I just had no fun (which is the point of babysitting- I like making money, but I mainly just like being with kids). The whole thing was disastrous. At least the mom tipped me a whole extra hour’s pay for all my troubles.
Perseverance part: I still went back! I was not going to give in. If it took everything I had, I was going to have fun with these kids. People, why can’t I just give up?
After commiserating some more, making my parents and sisters laugh at my comedic retelling of my day, and repacking a new magic bag (the first one failed), I gave myself a pep talk. Yeah, go Ella, it’s gonna be great, you can do this, they’ll love you, you’re awesome, you’ll make some money, you can then spend said money on something that will make you happy, you’ll be fine.
But, for a nice break, I met my friend at the mall this morning. The first thing I said to her was, “You have no idea how happy I am to see you”. The second was, “Civilization, conversations, compromise, condolences- all kinds of words with “c” that you understand. I need to be with people who aren’t little kids.” I had been looking forward to this so much, and it lived up to my expectations. This is the friend I stayed with in London, we’re really close and I could live with her and never get bored, annoyed or aggravated. Unfortunately, that had to end, and I got ready for babysitting.
With prayers on my side, I waited outside for the mom to pick me up, and saw immediately that only R was in the car. I keep losing kids.
Here is the successful part of perseverance: I had some fun! R was a lot nicer and things went way smoother. We played card games (I’ve missed Rat-A-Tat-Cat), built card castles, wrote a story, played on the piano together, folded paper airplanes and flew them around the backyard, helped the gardener get a ladder and made him some coffee (though I asked him how he likes it, and I think I did it wrong, so now I feel really bad), ate popcorn, ate some more popcorn, and just had a much better time.
I feel so successful! But now all the hard work is taking it’s toll: my head feels like it’s going to explode. I’ve been so exhausted and stressed, with schoolwork and babysitting, and I need a break. That’s it, I’m going to bed at nine tonight. It’s decided. Watch me fail.
I appreciate you all for not telling me I’m dumb and fat,
I never wanted anything from you, except everything you had and whatever’s left after that too. –Dog Days, Florence and the Machine
And in honor of my 20th post, I wanted to add a poll and get some feedback from everyone. Unfortunately, somehow my technical abilities, which are nearly non-existent, failed me when it started getting complicated. I can’t figure out why it’s all capitalized, and why it looks the way it does when it’s saved with a different background, but it still fulfills it’s purpose, so I give up on trying to fix it. Thank you, and enjoy!