The Hand That Rocks The Cradle Had Better Not Be Mine
This post is in response to The Monday Morning Writing Prompt “Lets Have Some Fun” on Victoria’s blog, Live2Write2Day.
When I said that I was
a danger to children maternally-instinct challenged, I wasn’t just trying to get out of chaperoning a third grade class trip to Six Flags. I was telling the truth. These two unfortunate babysitting fiascos (my only two) provide all the evidence anyone needs to convict me of Involuntary Maternal-lessness. I hope the Statute of Limitations has expired, so I can reveal these incidents without fear of jail time retribution.
Babysitting Incident Report #1: The babysitter I had when growing up had three boys of her own and, in a moment of desperation or idiocy, hired me to baby sit her six, four, and one year old. In a moment of equal desperation and idiocy, I accepted. I was 14 and blonde, thus not legally responsible for anything.
The youngest was sleeping in his crib when I arrived. He stayed that way as far I could tell. I didn’t hear anything from his room and didn’t dare do much than peek in the nursery door every once in a while. I didn’t want to deal with him and trusted he was alive.
The other boys were already dressed for bed. I just had to give them a snack, make sure they brushed their teeth, read them a story, and get them to bed by 9:00. Then the evening was mine. It seemed simple enough.
Nothing in my life was ever as it seemed. I was babysitting Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
“Mommy always lets us have two chocolate bars each.” Butch (the older one) said after they already had applesauce and four Oreos.
“Really? Before bed?”
“Yup. ‘Specially when they leave us. It helps us not be so sad.” Sundance poured it on.
They looked at each other knowingly. I didn’t see them wink at each other, but they might have. Story time lasted well past 9:00.
“Another one. Please?” Sundance did the begging.
“This is our favorite.” Butch, the brains of the gang, handed me another book.
“I thought the last one was your favorite.”
“Not our best favorite.” Sundance gave me his big-eyed look.
“Okay, but this is the last one. I mean it. You got it?”
They nodded in yeah-sure unison. The book was about a family of bunnies.
“Why is that bunny doing all the work?” Butch asked.
“He’s older than the other bunnies.”
“Why is he older?” Butch pursued. He looked guileless, but there was something that didn’t feel right.
“He was born first.” I said before I had a chance to think about the implications of my explanation.
“Why was he born first?” I could feel Butch’s six-shooter pointed right at my head. He had me trapped into explaining sex, some of the details I was still a bit fuzzy on.
“You’d should ask your parents.” I said and quickly tried to read the next page.
Butch was too cunning to let me get away with passing the buck. “No, we want you to tell us.” “Please,” Sundance pleaded. Their choreography was exquisite.
“That’s enough. It’s way past your bed time.”
The two boys feigned sorrow. Butch whimpered, “I’ll never get to sleep. I want to know why the older bunny was born first.” Sundance pouted and rubbed his eyes in a final attempt to snare me.
“Just because.” I whisked them off to bed.
When their parents came home I mentioned the bunny book and that they might want to be ready for some questions about where bunnies come from. I never heard from them again. Fine by be.
Babysitting Incident Report #2: I was 25 and barely ready for my second attempt at babysitting. As my older sister dropped off her angelic sleeping infant, she instructed, “I’ll only be gone about two hours. She’s fed and should sleep the whole time. If not, here’s the bag with everything you’ll need.” Noticing my widening eyes, she was quick to add, “But you won’t need anything in here.” With a “Thanks so much!” she quietly closed the door to my apartment and I was left alone with my niece, Tara.
“Waaaaaaa!” My sister wasn’t even out of the driveway when Tara’s 2-hour nap was over. But I was her aunt, her blood relative. Surely some innate maternal instinct would kick in, as if estrogen was dispensed on demand. Apparently not.
“It’s okay, sweetie, Mommy will be right back.” I said to reassure myself as much as Tara.
After she cried herself purple, I felt I should touch her. I picked her up. She screamed. We walked. She simmered down to wailing. I considered drinking, but reluctantly decided it would be better to wait until she was out of my care to get hammered.
My sister came back to find us walking around my apartment, both of us having a good cry.
“What happened?” she immediately took Tara, who became silent and sweet. I didn’t recover quite so quickly.
“She woke up and wouldn’t stop crying no matter what I did,” I sniffled, distracted by my impending choice of vodka or more vodka.
“I’m sorry. She sometimes gets colic,” Tina explained.
“Colic? What’s that?”