I have been absent from blogging for the past couple of days because this week I am babysitting twelve children.
This week I am babysitting twelve children.
If you know me, you know this would never be my idea, and it probably isn’t really a good idea either. However, beginning Sunday night, I became one of two caretakers for twelve children, ages nine months to eleven years. Obviously, this situation was not my doing, but the Lord’s. Back in January, in a Facebook group I’m a part of, a nice lady posted that she was looking for a babysitter for a week in mid-March at Glen Eyrie (which is roughly 23 minutes from our apartment), offering food and lodging in return. I commented on it and mentioned that I was currently living in the area and unemployed, but the latter probably wouldn’t still be in true in March, however, she could keep me in mind just in case.
Well, keep me in mind she did. After some lengthy Facebook messages and a semi-awkward phone call (we both ‘knew’ each other, but had never met before), it was decided. I would care for the children and would receive a sum of money for the use of services (this part is important when you take into account that I am still unemployed and we registered our cars last Saturday for about $300).
On Sunday afternoon, the real reason I made cupcakes was to soothe myself before the coming storm. I was legitimately scared.
On Sunday evening, I showed up for duty.
I went back Monday morning for four hours, drove to the grocery store to get food for dinner that night and decided there was no way I could make dinner. Instead (after buying groceries), I took a nap. Frozen chik’n patties, frozen curly fries, steamed broccoli (which I actually made), and orange slices would just have to do. Oh and a cupcake for dessert. After dinner (unfortunately it was also one of Danny’s very favorite things I’ve made so far), I went back to take care of the children. Tuesday, same story, except I worked out before going to care for the children, and substituted going to the store for nap time and made a real dinner (using the ingredients I bought on Monday). And ate a cupcake for dessert.
Let me say a few things now…
– Friends who have children: I have now gained an incredible sense of appreciation for you, even though I have been watching these children for ~7 hours a day and not 24 like you. And my position will end on Thursday night, while yours may continue for a great length of time.
– People with twelve children or more (i.e. The Duggars. I just Googled them and apparently they recently went to Japan and China. WHAT?! I can barely keep twelve children, with the aid of my wonderful co-babysitter, alive, let alone take nineteen of them overseas): what were/are you thinking?! How do you stay alive? How many naps a day do you take? Do you ever bake cupcakes? I will make you cupcakes regardless of your answer.
– Friends that watch children as a regular job: You are awesome. Loving someone else’s children can be hard, especially when they are rude or drool excessively (separate children, in this case). Doing it all day, every day for weeks, months, and sometimes years, is incredible you deserve a lot of respect (and naps/cupcakes).
– I am thankful for this opportunity because I have learned a lot (see the last three points) and am helping to pay for our car registration. Ha. Also, the event I am babysitting for is a conference that Baptist campus ministries from the state of Oklahoma are putting on/attending. That means that Danny has gotten to be a part of the evening sessions and see lots of old friends, which is a cool blessing. Tonight (my night off) we’re having one of his friends that he went to Indonesia with, and his new wife, over for dinner (and cupcakes). This would have never happened, if it weren’t for my babysitting gig!
All in all, I have enjoyed this week. I’ve gotten to take a couple of mid-afternoon naps and not feel guilty about it. I’ve read (many, many) books to toddlers who just soak it all in and love being read to. I’ve made a great new friend, my partner in crime in caring for the children, Jessie. I’ve noticed that my body is sore in weird places, thanks to holding (heavy) children and doing things I don’t normally do (like sit inside of cardboard houses and play with parachutes). I’ve eaten more animals crackers and pretzels than I am proud to admit, both of which happen to be vegan, but neither of which fit in my definition of “healthy” and something I should be eating on a daily basis. I’ve developed a vague sense of what babies/children like – their mothers, and if they can’t have that, they want to be held and/or given food.
Only one day left of babysitting, and I’m a tiny bit sad. All of the children are going to head back to their home state of Oklahoma, and not come back to Colorado (probably) until next March. At which point I really, really, really hope I have a job.