Monday, August 24, 2009
An Adventure in Babysitting
I babysit my cousin's little boy, lovingly known last year as Nonner, but now we just call him Conner, which is, ya know, what his parents named him so I'm sure they're happy about the change. He's been coming here since last September when he was the tender age of about 10 weeks. When school let out for the summer he wasn't crawling, just kind of rolling around where he needed to go.
Last week my cousin brought to me a walking, babbling little ball of fire. 14 months old, the child is now and goodness, if they could figure out how to bottle up what this kid runs on we, as a societal whole, would be much more productive.
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday last week my kids were here to keep him occupied and pretty much give him anything he wanted, when he wanted it - visits outside to see the "hi kitties", many wagon rides around the yard, swinging in the yard swing at the mere point of a finger and the eating of graham crackers galore. Thursday morning when the kids got on the bus he got royally whizzed at the universe for taking away his playthings and newfound servants and immediately, upon entering the house, threw himself to the ground and commenced to screaming angry baby expletives at me. Or at least I assume that's what he was saying in his garbled verbal explosion.
Funny thing, though, by day's end Thursday, the boy had figured out that his Kiki is nearly as awesome. Paul and I call Conner our practice grandkid. We have some rules, we make sure he's safe and then we just spoil the ever-lovin' heck out of him. Basically what I'm angling for is that someday I hope I'm the person he declares he's running away to when his parents are unfair and mean.
My youngest is 7, so even though a mere two years ago I had a veritable herd of rugrats milling about my house we're kind of out of practice with small human beings that can't wipe themselves and get their own juice. Cousin Courtney kept saying, "He will wear you out. Really. Kristin. He will wear you out." So far I'm not so much worn out as just completely confounded at how he can move so stinkin' fast when he has some sort of contraband grasped in his pudgy little fingers.
Friday I had gotten him out of his chair after breakfast, washed his hands and face then settled him with his toys in the living room. When I made sure he was occupied sufficiently I ran back to the kitchen to finish loading the dishwasher and start it. Now, were I in practice dealing with chunky little monkeys of the toddler variety I'd have remembered that my time was extremely limited and I wouldn't have decided to take the knobs off my glass-top stove and proceed to scour off the burnt-on goo off the burners. Yeah. Guess how out of practice I am. I was in mid-scour on a particularly nasty stain when I realized it was quiet. Too quiet. Just like in horror movies.
I threw my baking soda-laden scrubber, grabbed a towel to wipe my hands and started hollering his name before I even got around the corner to the living room.
"Hey, Conner! Wherrrrrrrre's Conner? Come on out, buddy. Kiki's looking for you!"
Still nothing. I couldn't see him, hear him or smell him. Yeah, I was even hoping for a good ol' poopy diaper to give me a hint at that point. I knew he hadn't gotten out of the house because I keep the doors locked all the time, but our house is really long and I couldn't decide which way he might've gone. Had he gone right? Down the hall to the kids' rooms where there are all kinds of delicious Polly Pocket shoes and Legos to eat? Where there are scissors and glue and MAKEUP? Or had he gone left? Had he ventured into my room and/or office? Oh gosh, there is no limit to the things out there that can ultimately lead to michief out there.
Finally, after more hollering and trying to make my voice sound playful and not "You're in big trouble, mister, not to mention how much trouble I'm in with your mother if I have lost you already" I saw his little blonde head poke up from between my big chair and the ottoman. I took about two steps toward him, but stopped when he stood up and - wha? When did Conner start smoking? And when did they start making long....red? Droopy? Twisted cigarettes?
The moment I realized what he had and the moment he realized he was SO busted were one in the same and as I moved toward him again the child took off sprinting toward my bedroom door with a red Twizzler hanging out of his mouth and the bag clutched in one hand. It was downright amazing how fast he propelled himself away from me. I caught him just as he stumbled down the small step into my bedroom, attempted to take the Twizzler out of his mouth, but that's when he whacked me with the half-full bag of Twizzlers. Now, it didn't really hurt, but I can honestly say that's the first time that had ever happened, being smacked in the face with a bag of Twizzlers. I took the bag from him, pulled the Twizzler from his little maw as he was desperately trying to chew as much in as he could. Man, he was wood-chipping away at that thing quick as you please.
Of course, I immediately became the enemy, even though I was laughing the entire time, and he pitched himself backwards which is always my cue to put him down. He laid there on the floor for awhile glaring at me any time I looked at him.
We have eventually made up and I have learned that I can pretty much get anything I want from that child by waving a Twizzler at him. Time to clean up? You betcha, you get a Twizzler, buddy! Naptime? Oh yes, there will be Twizzlers afterward.
I'm just hoping he will always be this easy to pay off. He'll be about the right age to mow yards in about 13 years.
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