BEWARE! This is going to be long, and there are going to be multiple new posts because I have waited so long and there is so much to tell…ok, VENT about.
So I got a baby-sitting job for the summer that I thought was going to be awesome. It was everything last summer at McPhaul was not: one child, an only child, a 5-year-old (“and three quarters…”) boy, and a pool. Only Mondays and Wednesdays, $10, flexible schedule, most days 9-5…Well I have been completely WRONG again. The most positive take on this is that I am learning more and more each time I am there how NOT to parent when I have children.
First of all, besides having Evan being an only child and a boy already against him, (because if he was a girl, this would just already be 10 times easier for me…) his mother and father are completely, ridiculously, and irrationally over protective. They have a type of bars child-proofing all of their windows on the 2nd story of their house…so their almost-6-year-old doesn’t fall out. A friend of mine pointed out that he is going to be one of those kids who goes to some other kids house and falls out a window and dies because he just doesn’t KNOW how to be safe.
Then this child, who is afraid of everything, who can’t go to the bathroom without taking off every STITCH of clothing on his body (but can’t get himself dressed by himself) wants to make his own sandwich. The taking off the clothes thing, that is typical for a potty training child…not an almost 6 year old… So he pulls a chair up to the counter, climbs upon it and begins the painful process of spreading [fake] mayonnaise on his bread…using a butter knife. Well his father walks in and exclaims, “Evan! You can’t be standing in a chair holding a knife! You’re going to have to get down!”
Again with the letter points, a.) I have my eyes on the one child I am watching. b.) he is almost six, he is not going to fall over out of a stable chair up against the counter…onto a butter knife…practically a spreader…no ridges…if he manages to fall AND land on the “knife” he MIGHT have a little bruise. So. I made the sandwich. A cheese sandwich. He cut it in half JUST the way he likes it, and began to eat it. Then he asked, “Does this have mayonnaise on it?” I said, “No, it doesn’t.” to which he responded by looking at his plate, looking at me and calmly saying, “I usually have mayonnaise on my cheese sandwich.” “…ok, well eat this one like it is and next time I will put mayonnaise on it…” again he just said, “I usually have mayonnaise on it.” So then I was irritated and replied, “I heard you the first time, eat your sandwich…” because I am sorry, but if you WANT me to put mayonnaise on your sandwich that you USUALLY have mayonnaise on, ask me, ‘would you put some mayonnaise on it?’ and not speak to me as if you are suggesting I say, “Oh! I am sorry, you usually take mayonnaise on your sandwich…can I take that right now and get some mayonnaise on it for you!?” Then he crumpled his sandwich up and went and cried. Way to use your words kid. THEN he will be irritable or hungry in the next hour or so, and he will “only be hungry for…” something such as white donuts…which starts a whole nother battle because he has to eat something healthy before he can have any kind of junk like that. So I suggest, “Well, you haven’t had anything really good yet, so why don’t you have a peanut butter sandwich?” “No thanks. I’m not hungry for that…I’m only hungry for a white donut.”
At this point I am still calm, and trying my best to be sweet and a good CFD student and just try harder to distract him and interest him in something good for him. “I know white donuts are really tasty, but your mom wanted you to have some protein…how about some fruit?” “No thanks. I’m not hungry for that…I’m only hungry for a white donut.”
“Well, you cannot have a white donut, what else would you want to eat? You can have crackers, fruit snacks, some milk, snap peas…” and I continue to name EVERYTHING in the pantry that he CAN have… and he still says, “NO! NO THANK YOU! I’m not hungry for that…I’m only hungry for white donuts.”
Now irritated and no-play Catherine comes out. “You. May. Not. Have. A. White. Donut. I will not listen to you say that again. I have told you what you may have and it is your choice. But you may not yell, ‘no thank you’ at me again or tell me that you are ‘only hungry for white donuts’ because I am not giving in, you must eat something good or you don’t eat anything at all!” I also tried things like, “If you want to go to the pool, then you have to have a good snack.” And “We will not be doing __________ until you eat something good.” None of it worked…and the minute his mom walks in and he says, “Mom, can I have purple Peeps?” and she gives him two to start with, then another candy, and tells him if he eats a good dinner he can have the other one that he is begging for. Seriously, I am just going to save myself the trouble and give him whatever he wants…because as of now all I am doing is making him hate me, making it harder on myself during the day and his parents come home and undo anything I have managed to do!
His mother and I have discussed me working with him a little to learn how to swim. So Wednesday we went to the pool and I began to persuade him to put his goggles on, he already has his customized ear plugs in…so no water is going in ANYwhere if he’d just keep his mouth shut… First I want him to practice blowing bubbles and holding his breath. One guess what I hear, “No thank you.” One might say, “Well, at least he’s polite about it…but really, he is being a little prat and it almost makes it worse, like he’s rubbing it in, or when someone is syrupy sweet…So I say, already low on patience this day, “fine, if you won’t listen to me and blow bubbles and practice things that will help you learn how to swim, I will not get in with you.”
I am allowed to drive him to the pool. But ONLY to the pool. (And they would prefer me to drive to their SUV instead of my car because it is safer. Well, I happen to think that my driving a car that I am familiar with is safer for all involved… The child knows directions. He can tell when I make a wrong turn, or miss a turn—oh, why would I miss a turn you ask? Because his parents will only let me drive on tiny little back roads that don’t have traffic on them. None. I was given a complicated, complex, over-the-top 100-steps-set of directions written on how to get to the pool that was about 5 miles away, without hitting any major roads. Now hear this, I am not saying that it isn’t important to be cautious about people driving your children. I would not want my children riding in a car with just anybody. But a.) I am not 16, or 17. I am 25. I have been driving for almost 10 years. I drive children ALL the time. I have a car seat for goodness sake. AND you let me take your child-who-cannot-swim- to the pool…but I can’t drive him anywhere. We can’t go have fun at Chick-fil-A or Chuck E. Cheese…or even my house. I can’t run by the bank, the post office, to pay rent…it’s quite frustrating. If I met the standards to drive a van full of kids at McPhaul last summer to Atlanta, I can drive your kid across town. To drop my other kids off at swim team. I just can.
I mean, I am not paid to be this kids play-mate…except, as I will soon find out, that is exactly what is expected of me. PEOPLE. I am a baby-SITter. I take care of your children, feed them, bathe them, make them feel loved and important, teach them things. Occasionally, if they are REALLY special, [see Criteria for Really Special Kids requirements elsewhere, but rest assured I have them…] play something with them before I put them to bed. Bed where we will sing and pray and read and talk…but PLAYING…is NOT my job. ANYWAY…he told on me, and his mom took me outside, “Can I speak to you outside for a minute?” [of course…] “I just wanted to mention that on Wednesday, Evan was, well, a little, yeah, upset is the word…because he said, and he cried, [no kidding?] that you ‘broke your promise…’…” [First, I don’t make promises to 6 year olds…or children at all…] So I flat out told her that he wouldn’t do anything I told him to so I told him I wasn’t GOING to get in if he wouldn’t TRY some swimming things…and I told her that he fights me on EVERYthing from what to eat to what to play to cutting off the TV… The whole speech did no good. She just told me to be his friend, that she basically gives in to whatever he wants, and that if I think badly of her for it, “Well, don’t tell me!” AND she compared me a lot to their last baby sitter…who I have no idea how they kept…
He got to the first castle in Super Mario Bros 1, so level 1-4, and went into this dramatic shaking scene saying he couldn’t play this level because he was “t-t-t-oo sc-sc-sc-scared!” Would I play it for him? Not. A. Chance. I feel that if he can’t play and beat that level then he doesn’t deserve to move on and play the next level. I would NOT do it for him. Well he cried. Insisted that he was too afraid of King “Cooper” (he means Koopa…which I have tried to correct several times…) because of his spikes…and he wouldn’t play. So I said, “Oh, ok, well you are going to die either way because you are going to run out of time.” He FLIPPED out and threw the control on the ground and cried “No! I don’t want to die! I don’t want to lose my life!” When I just laughed at him he picked the controller back up again and ran the man straight into the lava. I have told him many times, at the risk of psychological damage, that he is being a baby, that whatever he is insisting upon is ridiculous, and that he will “never learn to swim then.”
He collected the My Little Ponies from McDonald’s and cut two of their manes into Mohawks because he said he liked it better…but that scoot-a-loo and Rainbow Dash (yes, he knows their names…) hair was beautiful and he wanted to keep it that way. He wouldn’t agree to watching the Little Mermaid because it was too scary, but he LOVED watching the Care Bears and then I surprised him with the My Little Pony movie…and you would have thought it was Christmas. (Yes, I do only have girl kid movies…)
I just wish that there were standards of development for 5 and 6 year olds like there are for 2 and unders…that say, your child should be doing this at this point…or that his mom could see him around other EVEN three and four year olds and see how BABIED he is… It drives me crazy. It would just be SO much better even if it was just a girl that was like this…but a boy. Buck up. Speaking of which, when you have boys, don’t name their boy parts…especially if it has a title, such as Mr… anything. Because they WILL refer to it as Mr. ________, and tell their baby-sitters, “That’s my penis.” Oh. Really.
So one day after I had had it with Evan’s dawdling around and whining about everything I asked him to do and I told him very specifically what to do and told him to “just do it.” He told me, “You don’t HAVE to order me around.” Oh yeah?
This is what I wrote on twitter another particularly horrid day… I hate children. Particularly only children, who are boys, over the age of 5, not funny, cute or sweet. And whose parents give time limits on TV and video games
To my replies I said, Right now he is trying to pile every cushion in the house on me and jump on me and beat me up. Because, 'it can't hurt" and because I'm completely ignoring him. He's on his knees, ramming them onto my head. It's awesome. I thought he'd be tired of it when I didn't respond after awhile. No such luck.
So they called and cancelled for Wednesday, which was FINE by me…but then when I needed to be flexible on Monday, either come early and get Evan, drive to swim team, etc…or not to come until afternoon…and then I may have up to 3 more children with me…well, I told her that I would just have 1, Lydia, to see how THAT would go over…and long story, Evan was going to have another kid with him that day…so “How did I think I would be able to handle all three?”
WHAT!!!!! I really wanted to SCREAM! Or laugh in her face. How could I possibly manage 3 children…all over the age of 5? Don’t you wish you had a video resume of sorts to show and say, well this many times I have successfully taken care of 3 children, ages from a few months TO five, I have lived with 5 children, I have baby sat for twin infants, for 4 children all a year apart when I was in 8th grade, spent the night baby sat for most of these groups, meaning OVERnight by myself with all of these children…AND kept kids for weeks at a time on end. I think I can handle 3 children, a 5, 6, and 7 year old for 5 hours at most…JEEZ!!!!!!!! I think that is most of my grief right now.