I began my babysitting duties at 6:45 p.m. and I was totally happy.
The child, soft and warm from his bath, wrapped his little arms around my neck and snuggled his diaper clad self deeper into my arms. It was so awesome!
I love this, I thought. I am totally at peace, one with the universe. As I held the sleeping toddler, I felt positively overwhelmed with feelings of joy, protectiveness and love.
I sank slowly, very slowly into the rocking chair beside his crib, rocking the child slowly and rythmatically and raining soft kisses on his sweet little head. This truly was as good as it gets.
Finally, I gently laid him in his crib, and tiptoed out of the room closing the door softly behind me.
I smiled to myself as I walked into the kitchen; a secret, self-satisfied little smile.
Here it was only 7 p.m. I could do the dishes, play quietly with the other two boys, and then tuck them gently into bed, as well and have the rest of the evening left to my well deserving self.
I’m not exactly sure when reality pierced my little bubble of perfection. It could have been when the baby’s two older brothers decided to be superheroes and fly off their parents’ bed while they yelled and waved make believe laser type objects. Or maybe it was when they decided to race each other down the stairs head first while lying on their bellies.
As I watched their antics in horror, I experienced a feeling akin to when my own kids first got their driver’s license.
I think the feeling was terror.
Anyway, miraculously no one got hurt except for me and that was only when I dropped a corner of the couch on my toe when I was looking for a bullet from a Smurf gun. And so the night wore on and the boys continued to behave in very boyish ways and I continued to be terrified.
“Are you guys tired?” I asked hopefully.
“Nope,” they said in unison.
“Anyway, after we are done playing, you have to do my home reading with me and then we each get a story read to us and we have snacks and then we brush out teeth and then we get into bed,” said the six-year-old. “And then we say our prayers and we have to have water. Not from the tap. We have water from the fridge.”
“Okay,” I said weakly. Suddenly I found myself remembering fondly Thursdays, when I have deadlines and stories and I am so busy I eat my lunch at my desk. I had no idea how easy Thursdays were.
Well, we read and had snacks and the boys brushed their teeth and finally I tucked them in and listened to their prayers. With no thought at all to being neat and tidy, I kicked the jeans and T-shirts they had dropped on the floor out of the way and closed their bedroom door.
Now to the dishes. I loaded the dishwasher and filled the sink with soapy water. I love this kitchen, I think. It is so nice. So modern. I begin to clean with gusto.
It was then the child, the cherub in the crib, shattered the quiet with a pathetic wail followed by another and another. I rocked him. He cried. I rocked him some more. Finally, despite his best efforts not to, he fell asleep. Once again, I placed him carefully in his crib and tiptoed out of room.
This time I did not smile, only looked wearily at the clock. It was 10:30 p.m. I looked at the half cleaned kitchen and made a quick decision.
It could wait until tomorrow. I climbed into bed. I babysat for three days and four nights. Was it perfect. No! Would I do it again.
You bet I would. In less than a heartbeat! It was awesome!
Treena Mielke is editor of The Rimbey Review and is a columnist for Black Press.