A few weeks ago, a friend of mine was lamenting the fact that she could not find a good baby-sitter anywhere. She’d tried everything – facebook, craigslist, whatever – and no one really worked. I get that. I mean, yeesh, I wouldn’t leave the Z-bone with just anybody and she’s “just a cat” (I put quotations around that because the little Zoe is soooo my kidlet and as I may never get around to producing offspring, she gets all my motherly lovin’. But some people would say that’s silly – she’s just a cat. And to those people I say: pfft).
Anyways, I thought about it and really, what do I do at night? I read. I can read and look after a three year old at the same time surely. When I was in highschool, I babysat all the time for kids of all ages. And every time I did, the kid(s) would be in bed by around 8:00 and I’d have the rest of the night for homework/watching all the forbidden TV programs I could fit in. So I said to S.: “You know I could just look after Little J. for you. No worries, call anytime.”
Since that evening, I have babysat three times. And I gotta say, babysitting has changed. A lot. First, the pay is waaaaay better. When I was looking after kids at the age of 14, I got MAX $3 an hour. I’m not going to tell you what I actually get paid now, but let’s just say it pays for my cab there and back, and the next day’s groceries. Good times for Ezmy. Second, kids don’t have bedtimes anymore. I had noticed this with other people’s kidlets [aside from radmama – she’s old schoo’ like that] but these other parents had all been irresponsible types so I chalked it up to that. But S. is a responsible mum…and yet, no bedtime. Little J., get this, puts himself to bed when he’s tired. He’s three and at 9ish he just says “I’m tired”, puts on the pjs and falls asleep on the couch with me or at the very least curls up and relaxes. I used to hate putting kids to bed because these are the times when kids are their most manipulative. “Mum ALWAYS reads ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ 25 times before we go to sleep”. Sure she does.
All in all, I’m enjoying the experience. Little J. is a freakin’ awesome kid – the fact that he calls me beautiful and adorable and tells me that he loves me all the time really helps. But I’ll tell you this – I have a newfound appreciation for the single parent. I’ve always sort of looked at single parents in awe…I mean where do they find the TIME!? But this awe has been taken to a whole new level now. This kid is exhausting! And there’s only one of him!! I come home after a four hour stint and I feel like I’ve been hit with a truck. Four hours!! And the reading?? There’s no reading. I mean, I’ve read a few Thomas the Tank Engine stories. And, while I think I could make an interesting argument concerning the unhealthy relationship between Gordon (who I’ve always hated), Percy and Thomas for my thesis, I don’t think I should. Instead, evenings are spent playing ‘Treeman vs. Spiderman’ (guess who gets to be ‘Treeman’?) and showing off a new toy and watching a certain scene in the Spiderman movie 12 hundred times and playing with trucks and…you get the idea. Holy hellfire.
The other side effect of this whole babysitting thing is that my desire to have children has been thrown for a loop – on the one hand, when I’m chillin’ with Little J. and he says “you’re so bootiful” my ovaries go “OMG OMG OMG WE MUST MAKE BABIES!!”. On other hand, when I come home after an evening with Little J., flop into my computer chair with a cup of tea, throw on some quiet music, and chill with Zoe, I’m very aware of just how much I love being alone. So I guess that settles it. No kidlets for awhile. I’m cool with that though – Little J. is all the kidlet I need. And Zoe.