Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Wednesday Factoid: Other People's Kids

Today's Wednesday Factoid is: Did you ever take care of other people's kids (your younger siblings, your cousins, babysitting, daycare, etc.)?

Wellll, as an eldest child I was of course left "in charge" of the younger ones (realistically: just the youngest one, as my next youngest sister was really as responsible as I was), but my mom didn't really believe in turning her children into babysitters for each other and didn't regularly rely on me for that, so it wasn't a particularly common thing.

I got a degree in elementary education, so of course I was in charge of children while I was working on my internship in my test classrooms (one class of first graders, one class of fourth graders). But that's not really the same as "taking care of" them--teachers aren't daycare, though sometimes they have to act like it for the younger grades.

I did some light babysitting as a young teen. My first job for a neighborhood child had me watching a toddler at age twelve. I wore a vest to the job that made people think I looked more mature, and that was something I was very conscious of because I knew I was very young for babysitting and looked even younger. I also had my hair in a half-up/half-down style that my family called "the grown-up style" because we all agreed it made us kids look older. I don't know. Anyway, I showed up to do this and the parents somehow thought it was okay to leave a little child with me. To this day I think I would be nervous about watching a child that young if I didn't know him. But this I did.

Nothing terrible happened, but I had no idea how to take care of the kid. I didn't know what to do with him. He didn't cry or have any issues as far as I remember, but I do remember physically chasing him around trying to catch him as he ran around a pair of looping doors, and I couldn't hold onto him. His parents came home in the middle of us doing that. I pretended it had been a game, but boy do I remember I was actually trying to catch him. They paid me and everything. I hated it.

My sister and I babysat a trio of children when we were teens. We'd both go over the house on the weekends and each of us would take one of the sons. The daughter was a baby and she was asleep every time we had a job. The kids were bilingual and the younger one was not adapting to English too well so one of our jobs was to read to them in English so they'd have more exposure to the language. My sister was in charge of him and I had the older one. Mine usually went to bed faster and was more obedient. I don't remember how we got set up with that job or how often we did it.

Probably the longest I ever babysat someone was when my friend Meghan got married and left her ten-year-old with me for the duration of their honeymoon. It was okay because I was babysitting in their own home and Katie was super self-sufficient, getting herself ready for school and not complaining when I asked her to take care of the cats' litterbox and everything. We played games, baked, and watched a lot of movies. It was really a good time and she's a great kid. But I think it went that well because we've known each other since she was born and we like each other.

I don't like to babysit. I like kids but I don't like being responsible for them. I'm not good at saying no to them and I'm so nervous about what to do if there's an emergency. It's weird because during emergencies I do actually tend to be really calm and act quickly. But it's horrible to think about what might happen if there were an accident or a health crisis and I had to Be The Adult for a kid who was trusting me.

I don't think I'd be a good parent. :(

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