Friday, March 30, 2007

If She Sat ON Me, Does It Still Count as Babysitting?

I survived. The child is not dead, and neither am I. Though I did sleep until 10:00 this morning because holy shit! Kids = extreme amounts of energy. I do not understand how people do this full time. Seriously. Is there mommy crack, or something, that I don't know about, that keeps you going?

I have not babysat since I was in high school. Which, coincidentally enough, I used to do a lot, and was about the same time that I decided I didn't want to have children. Ever. I was nervous about trying the whole babysitting thing out, again, ten years later. The Funasaurus has only just gotten it into my head that maybe having kids isn't the worst idea, ever.

Fortunately for me, the child in question is an extremely adorable 4-year-old girl, so she's at the stage where she can carry on a full-on conversation, tell me what's wrong, and be interested in girly things like PRINCESSES! so I thought I had that working to my advantage. Plus, she wanted to start the day by watching Ice Age 2, which is a pretty fantastic movie, so I thought we were off to a good start. Except I forgot that “watching a movie” in kid-speak really more equates to, “Have it on in the background while I do flips off of the back of the couch and demand macaroni & cheese at 10:00 a.m.... oh... and also playing with toys that seem to be spawning in the living room like fruit flies.”

Before Barbie could turn into Barbie and 44 friends (all with minimal amounts of clothing but tons of accessories) I scooped her and her jacket up, loaded her into my car, and headed to Denver. Where there is a CHILDREN'S MUSEUM, which I decided must be fairly kid-friendly. I don't know if I have ever driven in a car with children, before. It was horrible. I can have too many drunk friends pile in at midnight on a Saturday night, and think nothing of it, but when there is a totally innocent four-year-old in the backseat, grinning through a Bronco's pom-pom she found on the floor, on a random Thursday morning I was suddenly very aware of DANGER! EVERYWHERE!

I drove in the slow lane for the first time in my life. I pulled over when someone got too close. I imagined a million horrible variations on the smooshed angelic child nightmare, and just about gave myself a heart attack. All before we had exited Cuteness' neighborhood.

It was a looooong 40-minute drive to Denver, but I got Cuteness to recite every song she has ever learned, then I went through every G-rated song I remembered, and she told me the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, complete with a gruff papa bear voice, but mama and baby, not-so-much. We also counted to twenty, skipping sixteen each time, because who cares about that number, anyway? (At least until you are of driver's license obtaining age.) We were almost there when her mom called me on my cell phone all, “Cat, I'm so sorry, but I think I may have left the coffee maker on....”

Nooooooo.

So we about-faced, and drove all the way back (in a frickin' snowstorm, I might add!) to find the coffee maker totally off and Cuteness very full of pee. And also hungry. Luckily, she made it to the potty in time, and I made some mac & cheese. Then I decided we were going to make it happen, re-loaded Cuteness into her jacket, mittens, and car seat, bribing her with a little doll I had planned on giving her, later, and set off for Denver. Again.

We made it, and actually had a good time, running around, getting mad at pushy boys, and then playing veterinarian for a solid two hours before, “Attention, guests! The museum will be closing in 10 minutes! Please gather your belongings and get out of here. Stat.” (Or something like that.) Thankfully, Cuteness was getting a little tired of playing doctor, having administered more than 100 shots into the spines of innocent stuffed kittens at that point, and allowed me to give her a piggyback out of there, which also allowed us to bypass the gift shop, and home we went.

I forgot about the pea-sized bladders of children. About halfway home, and right smack dab in the 400th rendition of, “Hey Diddle Diddle” with full on pom-pom shaking accompaniment, I hear this, “Cat, I have to PEE!”

Uh-huh. Kind of trying to merge onto a highway in a blizzard, here, kiddo.

“Can you hold it, Cuteness?”

“Yes.”

Two seconds later.

“No.”

I glance in the rearview mirror and her big brown eyes are the size of dinner plates, she's shrinking into her large pink jacket as though it's eating her, and her little legs are crossed tightly in the car seat.

“Shit.” I say in my head.

“Hey diddle diddle?” I offer, aloud.

So I swerve off the highway, cursing other drivers everywhere for exiting because Eee Gads, I am still not o.k. With the whole they-might-smoosh-precious-child-(now-holding-her-crotch)-in-the-backseat idea.

“Can we get french fries?” Cuteness asks through gritted teeth.

“Uh, sure. Let's find a bathroom, first, though, o.k.?”

We find a restaurant, park, go in as quickly as our crossed little four-year-old legs will carry us, (which is a similar feeling of eternity to the last five minutes of chemistry class in high school) and we miraculously make it, circumventing the hostess who asks if we want to be seated first.

“Sure. As long as you don't mind if she empties her bladder on the damn vinyl seat. And maybe I will too, just to spite you.”

I haven't shared a stall with someone in quite a while. Especially someone who announces to the whole bathroom that, “I think I will stay here until I poo.”

So we take care of business, and go back out to the hostess who is holding an armful of crayons and a menu. Sweet! Crayons! But it was quite a shock when Cuteness told me I couldn't use purple.

I always use purple.

I order a plateful of fries and a Sprite, and Cuteness colors away, allowing me to use red and brown, which, FINE, and then the fries come and Cuteness eats about three, total, because there are more important things to do like COLOR! which leaves me the entire plate of fries to polish off by myself. Which I do. In about two seconds.

Then we go home, pop in Ice Age 2 for the third time that day, do a few more flips off the couch, and wait for dad to get home. He does, and he offers me wine, which was about as hard to turn down as a winning lottery ticket, but seeing as how I have another long drive in a snowstorm in front of me and I am pooped, I manage to decline.

Then I sprinted out of there before I could change my mind.

Then I came home and slept for 12 hours.

I do not know how you moms out there do it. Mad props, y'all.

6 comments:

HAM*I*AM said...

Oh, my, GOD, you so totally nailed the experience!!

Especially here:
Except I forgot that “watching a movie” in kid-speak really more equates to, “Have it on in the background while I do flips off of the back of the couch and demand macaroni & cheese at 10:00 a.m.... oh... and also playing with toys that seem to be spawning in the living room like fruit flies.”

and here:
We find a restaurant, park, go in as quickly as our crossed little four-year-old legs will carry us, (which is a similar feeling of eternity to the last five minutes of chemistry class in high school)...

As to how we do it....

I work out of the home. To relax.
(disclaimer - sorta...other things become more difficult because of the work, but seriously, I am not cut to be a SAHM and repeat your experience 24/7)

meno said...

I don't remember how i did it. I've blanked it out.

I have seen Dumbo and Lion King at least 50 times each though.

Pauline said...

So very funny! When you are actually having the experience with your own, you don't have time to think, you just DO whatever needs doing. I had three kids in three years (I married young) and by the time I was 27, had four. I'm still alive and still able to laugh at stories like yours. And I still love kids. I wish I'd had someone around like you, though, to make me laugh at what I was going through!

v said...

Reading your blog is always so wonderful! And way to go on the babysitting! You seem like a natural: very motherly and protective and nurturing. I bet deep down you want like 10 kids. You know you do, just admit it!

Seriously, what a stellar, hilarious post! I vote for more adventures of this dynamic duo!

Mama P said...

If you like Cuteness, wait until you get a hold of Pip N Stink! And you could even use the purple crayon - Pip only likes Pink. Come on over anytime!

Marcia said...

Yeah... Doesn't that make you not want to ever have children? Seriously, sometimes I think child-free and wine-full is the way to go.