Thursday, March 20, 2008

Kiddie Anarchy for Dummies

In college one of my favorite jobs was babysitting. Of course it wasn't just babysitting, it was babysitting on "The Main Line" (just outside of Philadelphia).
I was babysitting children in million dollar homes. I was babysitting but wasn't allowed to the dishes, "because sweet-heart that is what we pay Elaina to do."

And the kids were amazing; the children of predominantly well educated, intelligent, and well mannered people. Sometimes bratty, but I just think back on Miniature Quiana and praise God that they were better behaved than I ever was.

Just one little example of the awesomeness of these kids... just one... I promise:
I babysat a little girl named Eleanor. She was 6ish at the time. We used to have adventures picking up garbage in the park, riding the train to the good ice cream place, making found art, and playing pirates.
One day she was describing the differences between Montessori and her current school- and I am absolutely not shitting you- she used the word 'dichotomy'.
If that is not the most adorable thing you have ever heard, you're crazy.
Later I told my boyfriend of the time that story and he said, "What's 'dichotomy' mean?" And I broke up with him within the week.

You may contrast the experience of talking about environmental stewardship in the sitting room whilst sipping KoolAid from actual Tiffany china with the occurrences of Wednesday.

Last night Angie and I allowed someone to cash in favors and thus we ended up herding children for nearly 5 hours (after my normal work day). The kids trickled in a few at a time, but by 7 pm it was abject chaos.
Now in college my friend Megan and I did group babysitting gigs for parties all the time. We played tag and Simon Says. Never did any of them decide that 'let's all stand on tables and jump off of them like complete idiots' was an ok game.

How close was I to the Lord of the Flies?
- three band-aids on one arm and one paper airplane in the eye (THIS WAS THE SAME KID).
- five small children all bellowing my name at the same time "KEY YAN NA!"
- one little girl "I want to be it!", "I want the red airplane" etc. which led to my declaration that "There's no such thing as a snozzberry!" Woosh, right over her head. But I thought it was hi-larious.
-Jack (you remember in The Lord of the Flies, he wanted to hunt pigs and wrenched the leadership from Ralph aka me) was played twin six year olds who arrived while we were all playing with blocks and drawing and whose parents arrived to fetch them just as I was telling them to "get off of that table or I will impose 10 second penalty to your whole team."
-A few parents were surprised when they returned to find that their children had all "grown mustaches" in strange colors. Could we have prevented these children from an evening of multi-colored Snidleys? Yup.
-Someone cheated at Pokemon and called someone else a "dumbo" (then stole his glasses to set fire to the entire island... kidding). Said "dumbo", "That boy called me names AND he cheated at Pokemon. That wasn't very nice." Indeed not, Dumbo. Indeed not.

I guess all was well in the end. The twins left and order resumed. When the parents arrived the kids cried because they had to leave, which is always gratifying.

Best of all, afterward I got to go home, scarf a baked potato and watch Men in Trees.

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