Sunday, April 26, 2009

Adventures in Babysitting

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.


Debz said...

OMG! FIrst of all, I would have probably opened up a can on the little shit. Secondly, I cannot believe they only gave you $20. I would make more than that in one night.
Oh that didn't sound right did it?

Thanks for being my one and only entry into Adventures in Babysitting. The rest of you all suck.

Anonymous said...

Seriously?? $20!? You got HOSED!

And what the heck? They left a teenager with their kid for a whole weekend and didn't leave you a phone number? man they must have hated their kid! Lol!

Amy Amy Bo Bamey said...

Man that SUCKS! Who just gives $20 for the whole weekend?

What a brat, I think I would have just left him hiding too so I would not have to deal with that little spawn of satan!

Pam said...

Damn! Twenty bucks for an entire weekend? I hope you never babysat for them again. :)

Dawn said...

LOL! You are such an awesome story-teller!!

That was hilarious!

That Janie Girl said...

I think I would have gone to the labor board.
As Brody would say, "That's just not right!"

Texasholly said...

OMG...that is AWFUL! They will never be able to hire a sitter in your town again. That might be an empty threat since this happened a few years ago and hopefully Chris has outgrown his need for a sitter...but really! karma in this case is golden.

nikkicrumpet said...

You should have negotiated the terms up front and requested a deposit. You totally got robbed! Baby sitting for me was like sticking myself with red hot pokers. I'd have rather sold myself on the streets lol

Desiree said...

$20?? You got screwed.

I'd have babysat for all their friends and told every one of them "I so much prefer sitting for you...your children are so much more well behaved, well it's no wonder since they are so stingy..." LOL

my7kids said...

HA! What did you say the *next* time they called you?

I once spent 20 hours pulling out and re-knitting a woven-looking (entrelac) sweater-vest for a woman who showed up to get it and paid me, also, exactly $20.

They killed Kenny.

Annie said...

$20!?!?? Holy moses, that sucks!

Anonymous said...

THAT IS WHY I HATE KIDS. My niece, my own flesh and blood, has a skinny, knot kneed blond, heroine addict son age 7 that, from birth, has gotten on my last nerve. If he's not flailing his arms and legs like a spider monkey, you can see the evil plots in his mind. And don't you just know it, there's all these crows of pride from everyone about how DARLING the little hellion is.

Deb said...

i hope you were no longer available when they called again. a weekend away THESE DAYS would cost me a couple of hundreds, not a couple of tens.

the good news is, chris is probably somewhere stuck with a couple of bratty, uncontrollable kids of his own. wait... that's me.

Julie D said...

Wow! How funny.

I can barely remember what I did yesterday, let alone 35 years ago when I was babysitting.

I've got nuthin.

Unknown said...

$20? why thats highway robbery!!!

reading all these babysitting stories makes me glad I did very little bean sitting when i was a teen

Rhonda said...

No. Frigging. Way.


You should have left shrimp in their curtain rods.

Joanie said...

I'd be afraid to fall asleep with that kid around! it was like having Kevin from Home Alone in the house!

Look on the bright side... they came back, didn't they?

Actually, back in the 70s, 50 cents an hour was the going rate. In reality, you only got gyped about $5. Still, though, they should have given you double! they knew what you were in for! They probably deducted the hours you were sleeping.

I hope that was the LAST time you babysat for them!

Karyn said...

I hate adults who take advantage of kids. We have a jerk in our neighborhood who consistantly paid less than promised to the kids who helped him. Parents finally got tired of shaking him down and now no one will work for him.
I would say you got the last laugh, you got to go home and they had to stay with their brat!

Justine said...

OMG, I could never handle a kid like that. I would have throttled him! And $20 for an entire weekend??????? Hellooooooooooooooooo! I hope you NEVER sat for them again. A kid like that should cost them at least $10 an HOUR!

Justine :o 0

binks said...

You didn't have to deal with various body fluids or scissor incidents, I'd say you got away easy.

zelzee said...

Great story........

There's always one in the neighborhood.
What ever happened to that kid?

Jenni said...

All that for 20 bucks??? Sheesh!

Wunderwoman said...

You were robbed big time. I hope you never sat for the tightwads again.

Debbie said...

Oh I think you should have sat for them again and done so much damage. What kind of cheapskates pay that much for a whole weekend?

Jill said...

20 BUCKS???? THAT'S NUTS! You should have lost the kid for! I wouldn't have made it the whole weekend unless they had some really cool food in their fridge~

Carissa(GoodnCrazy) said...

Whoa. 5cents an hour, can you come babysit for me!!!

The one time we looked into having someone sit for us over a weekend, it was like $100/night and we'd need to leave another $100 for all the extras apparently the babysitter intend on showering the kids with..huh? We stayed home..

I'm calling you next time!

bj said...

Oh my gosh, Jill...girl, you need to write a book about all these things that have happened to you (and probably STILL happening!!) You had me laughing all the way thru....
Bless your heart..hope you NEVER stayed with him again!! ;>)

Hit 40 said...

I got screwed with $$$ a couple times babysitting. The folks had a cookie jar with pot in it....

After a bounced check... the cookie jar find was mine to pass on to my friends. The folks never asked for their pot back :-)

Ginger said...

That's why you are such a good mom, all that experience you got babysitting. It prepared you for anything.
I hope you ate all their food while they were gone.

Dawn Parsons Smith said...

$20!! What a rip off! But good for you that you had some trashy novels to get into! The picky nose thing cracked me up! (after I puked of course! lol!)

Deb said...

I'll give you $25.00 to watch me for a weekend.

koreen (aka: winn) said...

Great story! :)
I think that happens to every babysitter once (because we learn from those shitty experiences, eh?)... mine was babysitting 3 kids aged 6 - 10 (I was 13) for 18 hours. That's right, overnight... 18 whole hours. That experience included breaking up a waterfight (they were using the garden hose) IN THE HOUSE, chasing those little demons everywhere, and trying to get them to not watch so many raunchy cartoons. I got $15 for my trouble.
But we survived it. ;)

NucMEd is Hot said...

Twenty bucks for that long, I think I would have gone back for the novel at that point.

Mrs4444 said...

This reminds me of the time one of my students decided to give me the silent treatment. Um, Hello??? He didn't even realize what a favor that was to me. Did I say that to him? Heck no! I just pretended to try to get him to talk every few minutes or so. He lasted about 15, heaven-filled minutes, heehee.

Mrs4444 said...

P.S. Kendall gets paid poorly by a family that has FOUR kids; she's lucky to get $3 an hour (needless to say, unless she's desperate, she's "busy" when they call.)

Stereos and Souffles said...

$20, I would have gone back and told them they must have handed me the wrong bills.

prashant said...

what the heck? They left a teenager with their kid for a whole weekend and didn't leave you a phone number?
Web hosting india

prashant said...

Thanks for being my one and only entry into Adventures in Babysitting. The rest of you all suck.

Make website india

Outsourcing Philippines said...

You are a good model my dear!
Being a nanny is not easy especially to a kid like the one you mentioned.