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.

See how well I take care of my doll? What kind of Mommy do you think I'm gonna be?

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.

Those two boys were smooth-talkin' hooligans and an innocent girl like me never stood a chance. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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.

“Well, okay.”

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.

Hey, I'm doing my best. You're mommy said you were going to stay asleep and all I had to do was make sure you kept breathing. You got any bright ideas, Ms. I'm Wide Awake?

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?”

There aren't any babies or toddlers where you're taking me right? Good. Wait! What's that you're telling me about "Community Service" in a daycare. Oh no!

~ by Lorna's Voice on October 18, 2011.

30 Responses to “The Hand That Rocks The Cradle Had Better Not Be Mine”

  1. Yes, when I get into that “zone,” hours pass and I’m not aware of anything but the writing. It’s great! I’m so glad I brought a bit of levity into your day. 🙂

  2. I would imagine that you are Expert Babysitter and found my naive babysitter stories laughable. But children and babies were like aliens to me. Bless your heart for being so good with them–someone has to be! 🙂

  3. I’ve babysat so much I can’t even remember all the times. Each kid was different and some parents were good and some not so much. There was one family with two boys and a girl…The little girl came downstairs crying. Like really crying. I asked her what was wrong. I couldn’t understand her answer, but I knew it was because she wanted her parents. I said ‘I can’t understand you when you’re crying’. So she stopped! Well, calmed down enough so I could understand. Then I told her she would see her parents when she woke up and the crying would start again. This happened a few times and eventually she fell asleep. I babysat for that family a lot and those kids loved me, lol.

  4. They were falling off my chair funny, you have such fun writing, it really shows 🙂

  5. Will do!

  6. Haha … too funny. I never baby-sat so I can’t relate but I had kids so I suppose that can be kinda like it since I could dole out cookies non-stop before bed. What was I thinking??? Guilt ..!!!!
    This was the perfect challnege for your sense of humor.
    I’ve submitted one to Victoria but it is not funny – it does put a smile on your face. Gander over when you have two seconds – I know !!! What is that???
    Toodles,
    Izzy
    http://insidethemindofisadora.wordpress.com/2011/10/19/here-comes-the-circus/

  7. Well, now, my blog is teaching people all kinds of things. Don’t read while eating or drinking! Good to know! 🙂

    I’m glad you liked that line!

  8. I have so much fun picking out pictures to accompany my stories. Icing on the humor cake! 😉

  9. I’ll keep that in mind for any grandchildren I might have to watch… 😉

  10. You got that right! 🙂

  11. Thanks, Phil. I wrote these little stories a LONG time ago–when I was just getting started. That was the blessing of this darned dizziness: it brought out my creative writing rascal!

    You must be sick of reading my posts by now…

  12. I’m thinking I would have way too much fun with grandchild and then give them back to their parents…isn’t that what grandparents are supposed to do? Well, not my grandparents, but mythical nice grandparents… 😉

  13. You’ll be a great grandmommy in your own special way. I’m not the baby-talking kinda mom myself and babies are such fragile little creatures, in their own little worlds and all. Still, it would be interesting to see that chapter in your life unfold onto the blog. 🙂

  14. I just love the way you tell all your stories! The tales and circumstances alone would be funny, but as narrator, you always seem to find just the right color from your extensive funny palette to bring it to life. You are a talented story teller Lorna.

  15. It’s a good thing you didn’t have to change any diapers…

  16. After a few disasters I learned a trick about babysitter. When Mom and Dad were leaving, I would ask (in the kids’ presence) – “What time is their bedtime?” And if Mom said, “Nine” – then as soon as the parents were out the door, I say to the kids, “Be good and you can stay up til Ten.” All set.

  17. I like this one my friend and that
    monkey with the kitten is nice too 🙂
    Well I like to read your postings
    but I also enjoy looking at the pics
    too you know 🙂

    Have a lovely rest of evening Lorna

    Androgoth XXx

  18. Ok now you owe me dinner! This line (I was 14 and blonde, thus not legally responsible for anything.) Caused me to laugh so hard that i spit out a mouthful of dinner!

  19. That’s funny! At least none of my fiascoes involved disappearing poop! 😉

  20. I can train an unruly dog in a few minutes, but I’m baffled by babies. Always was, always will be. If I ever have grandchildren, God help them!

  21. Those little hooligans saw me coming a mile away! That was my first babysitting job and they must have known it! 😉

  22. Those are bad, I once had to change a kids diaper and one of the poos rolled away… never found it… wasn’t asked back… they must have found it.

  23. I felt for you on the second experience. I would’ve been crying too, and probably ready to pull my eyeballs out. Once trying everything, what can one do but cry? Well, at least you found out what colic was, even if it was after the fact. 🙂

  24. Our babysitters boring disciplinarians, where were you, Lorna – chocolate and chats before lights out, only in our dreams … cheers catchul8r molly

  25. Glad you thought these horror stories were funny! 🙂

  26. That’s my motto! Thanks for stopping in and commenting. Hope to see you again!

  27. Yes, and it was my own sister!

  28. Hehe…hilarious, Lorna.

    It’s like those people that say “No, our dog won’t bite you–he loves everyone.” Thirty stitches later…

  29. humor never fails.

  30. Ha! I totally understand. I think a lot of us have baby-sitting stories we keep to ourselves. Thanks for sharing this, Lorna.

Silence can be just what the doctor ordered. You know I'm a doctor, right?

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