Friday, August 3, 2007

Adventures in Babysitting

I made a bad mom decision recently. Had a lapse of judgement if you will. I've been seeing a physical therapist for the last couple of weeks. It's a long story as to why but it basically boils down to this; three children, four years. I have discovered in this process that reclaiming my "vibrancy" is going to take a lot of work...mostly at the gym. (Mom, here is an aside for you. One of the exercises I'm supposed to be doing is walking backwards on the treadmill. My therapist claims walking forward on the treadmill really does little for your glutes and hamstrings, and the eliptical machine or stair climbing - horror of horrors - actually builds them up rather than lengthening and toning them. I have used the eliptical machine all of twice this year, but I'll tell you this, I was relieved to be able to grasp onto this information as a logical explanation for why my butt is so big. Now if I could just quit having to walk up our stairs 30+ times a day while carrying another whole person, I think I'd be good. Anyway, I share this revelation only because you own a treadmill and you might want to try it. No other implication intended.)

The only reason I was put in a position to make such a dire mistake in the first place is because Jeff is currently enjoying the comforts of The Westin Palace in Madrid (I'm not kidding. IT REALLY IS A PALACE and is not, therefore, hanging out in our equally luxurious living room awaiting my beck and call. (Admit it Jeff, your room at The Palace looks a lot like this, doesn't it?)

I thought so. For anyone wondering, I did not just throw toys everywhere for effect. This is how our living room really looks most of the time...but without the boxes over there in the left-hand corner. Those are new. We recently decided to retire our vintage 1999 PC and replace it with something I'm not allowed to set up. So in the meantime, the boxes are being used as a sort of jungle gym.

Where was I? Oh yes, I had a PT appointment at 10:00am on Wednesday but at 9:30am I still hadn't found anyone to wrangle the wild ponies. So I was growing a bit desperate. Peyton was crying, the boys were fighting, and I just wasn't in the best frame of mind. So when our regular babysitter, Cheryl, suggested that her younger sister was available and could be at my house in 5 minutes, I said, "Drive fast." To a teenager behind the wheel of her first brand new car. With her younger sisters in the back seat. Notice I said sisters. This is because 16-year old Cheryl and 14-year old Lisa couldn't leave 10-year old Gaby home alone. As Cheryl was on her way to her real job at Walgreens that left Lisa at the helm. It should have been a wildly waving red flag to me that Gaby wasn't allowed to be home alone, but in my moment of desperation I thought, even better. With 2 watching 3, the odds are in my favor. Plus, Peyton was supposed to go down for a nap, so really that made 2 on 2. Those are like the best baby-sitting odds ever. And I wasn't going to be gone that long.

The girls arrived and off I flew to my appointment. I returned an hour and half later to find Lisa comfortably rocking Peyton. She hadn't had a nap but had been playing happily. So far so good. But then I walked into the kitchen. Griffin was pouring grape juice from a Costco-sized jug into a sippy cup on the floor. As the grape juice sloshed everywhere, Carter was gleefully using a turkey baster to try to suck the juice up so he could squirt it into the sippy cup, while Gaby tried to frantically clean up around them both with paper towels. As you can imagine, it was a fruitless effort on Gaby's behalf because she hadn't bothered to stem the flow of grape juice. I'm told this spilling-cleaning up routine had been going on all morning. In addition, the boys had also been dictating their own snacks. In 90-minutes the 4 of them had consummed: an entire bag of pretzels, a huge bag of potato chips, a bunch of raisins, and a half-gallon of vanilla bean ice cream. Seven scoops each if Carter is to be believed.

While they were eating their way through the pantry in an Eric Carle sort of way, they had also found all of the art supplies and had plastered the playroom with them. Which is not in and of itself a problem, they are theirs after all, but I usually monitor the usage. Such as, I don't let 2-year old Griffin play with the scissors which, incidentally, was exactly what he was playing with while I quickly tried to mop up the juice. Were that not enough, some child had found the glue and had dripped a trail from the kitchen to the bathroom where the remains had been carefully poured onto the floor. At that point I knew it was going to take me a solid day to dig out from the disaster scene and I should just give it up. I put everyone in the car and dropped Lisa and Gaby off at home, with a big fake smile of gratitude. Because, really, I wasn't feeling all that gracious. Or happy. At some point, Lisa's and Gaby's mom had come home because she met them at the door. This is what I heard Gaby say to her, "That was the hardest I've EVER worked."


  1. I don't know how you & Peyton aren't getting a vacation to LA for this one! That is the lap of luxury Jeff is living in!

  2. I've read this countless time, and every time it has me in stitches - I can just visualize the kitchen floor scene with both boys working so hard to get juice into the sippy cup!