I am taking the nudge of Deb to write about my Adventures in Babysitting.
I had many babysitting jobs over my teenage years. I had jobs with the same 5 families, so I was certain I did something right.
I loved kids. I loved pretending it was my house and they were my kids. I cooked. I cleaned. I played games. I performed the Heimlich Maneuver on more than one occasion. I loved them. I was an extraordinary babysitter.
Until I sat for Chris.
Chris was the kind of 5 year old kid that they make horror pictures about. His entire purpose in life was to make everyone hope they never had a child like him.
He screamed when you told him no.
He cried when you made him go to bed.
He could scale the wall and hang in the 12 foot doorways and jump down on top of you when you were panicking and racing through the house looking for him.
He made Chuckie, Damien Omen 1, and Children of the Corn look like cherubs.
And he loved me.
I really was mean to him, telling him I would never come over again if he didn't stop:
1. picking his nose and eating it,
2. throwing the cat on the roof,
3. eating an entire box of macaroni uncooked and sprinkling the cheese powder all over his room
all in one night.
So when his mom called me to watch him for the ENTIRE weekend, it took some finagling. I finally said yes and arrived after school on Friday.
I entered their home and mom and dad said a hasty goodbye and fled the scene, leaving me standing there thinking I had just entered the Twilight Zone.
Chris was watching cartoons and didn't even acknowledge my presence. I normally would have been perturbed at his rudeness, but this calm behavior was actually a very nice change of pace for him.
I informed him I would make him dinner and made my way to the kitchen. I made frozen chicken strips and mac and cheese with green beans to even out the nutritious meal that any five year old boy would love. I called from the kitchen for him to come eat.
There was no response.
I made my way back into the living room to find it empty.
Okay, this brat was really working my last nerve. I called out for him and searched the entire house to find no demon child.
I went outside and called his name. He wasn't in the front yard or in the back. I was really beginning to panic.
This was way before cell phones and, mom and dad, escaping from reality, had left with no forwarding number. I was stuck. What the hell was I supposed to do? I took a deep breath and went back inside to get my thoughts together.
Then I did what every responsible teenager would do.
I sat down to eat.
I announced aloud every move I was making:
"Hmmm, I have no idea where Chris is. I sure wish he was here. Guess I will eat and hope he shows up. This chicken is GREAT! Mmmmm, the macaroni, PERFECT!!"
I went on for ten minutes, hoping somehow that creepy little bastard was listening and would eventually emerge.
Sure enough, just as I was washing off my plate, I turned to find him sitting at the table, helping himself to the feast.
"Oh, Chris, so glad you could join me! Where were you?"
Oh, okay. Where were you hiding?"
"I can't tell you. Then I couldn't hide there anymore."
"Alrighty. If you hide again, I won't buy you any ice cream."
"What kind of ice cream?"
"Any kind you want."
And with that threat I was pretty confident, the weekend would go much smoother. Man, was I wrong.
That night he vanished two more times. I had locked all the doors, so I knew he was inside. The thought of him ingesting some poison or poking his eye out with some sharp object kept me looking in every nook and cranny all evening long.
Saturday and Sunday were the same. He would be at my side one second and the next- gone, not to be found for about an hour. After the fourth time of him hiding, I just enjoyed the peace and quiet, read some of mom's trashy vixen novels, and thought this was the easiest money I had ever made.
Sunday afternoon, when he hid again, I yelled, "Okay, fine! You aren't getting ice cream!" I heard a muffled "I don't even like ice cream!" So I followed the sound and found him under his bed hiding behind a giant stuffed dog. He was so still and trying to fake me out, so I just left him, pretending I hadn't seen him.
I read some more of mom's trashy novel and soon heard mom and dad pull into the driveway. I made my way back to his room and peeked under the bed. He had fallen asleep and I gingerly picked him up and placed him on his bed.
Mom and dad came in and asked how Chris had been over the weekend.
"Oh, it was like he wasn't even here. He was great!"
They paid me the cash wadded up in the tiny roll and I headed to my car. I was actually feeling a little bad for how little time I actually spent interacting with the kid. I waited until I was at the stop sign before I looked to see how much I had raked in for doing nothing all weekend.
I unrolled the green to find two tens. TWENTY DOLLARS? What was that, like .05 cents an hour?!
Okay, I officially didn't feel bad at all.
I should have left the little turd under the bed and made them look for him. AND taken her trashy novel I never finished.
6 days ago