Monday, February 27, 2012

Lifelong lessons from being a stay-at-home-Aunty for a week

So I had the pleasure of babysitting my good friends’ kids for six days a couple of weeks ago, and it was

a

DELIGHT.

I mean, I was excited in the first place to actually have kids with me to justify all of the kid things I already do, but I was also a little nervous, because I am no one’s mama (that I know of), and was concerned that I had little-to-no idea what I was doing. But these kids are so great, and it was so fun, and I loved it. We went to the movies in Hollywood, an elementary school Sweetheart's Dance (my first school dance), played with dogs, chickens and goats, rode bikes, drove with the convertible top down on Tiny Car, went to Jamba Juice, painted canvas bags and boxes, made our own pizzas and fortune cookies, gorged on apples and carrots, made it to softball practice and tae kwon do, cleaned our rooms, watched movies on the wall with the projector, sang Rihanna, got lost, did homework, flat ironed hair, rubbed aloe on booty rashes, wrote postcards for mom and dad, played at Chuck E Cheese, watched Looney Toons in bed...it was a lovely week.

It was, though, a completely different world. Like, I-have-no-idea-how-some-people-do-this-all-the-time world. There are just so many moving pieces to every day! So I kept track of most of the great, insightful and hilarious things that happened.

Never forget, never forget.

I actually kept a physical list because a—I wanted to be sure to tell my friends (their mom and dad), and b—I felt like I was accomplishing more because I was writing things down.

For your reference, Guy is the 6 year old boy, Lil' Lady is the 8 year old girl--both of them were with me all six days. Grrrl is the 3 year foster daughter who was with me for one day, and Squidward is the 4 month old foster son, also with me for a day. You know, I just didn't want to trumpet other people's kids' names all up in hurrr. I think that's a safety concern or something.

Anyway. Life lessons:

Things about having (like “acquiring” having, not like “birthing” having) kids that I never, ever knew:

--for every child, you get at least three loads of laundry a week. I had the 6 and 8 year old for six days, the 3 year old for a day and the 4 month old for a day, and I did at LEAST ten loads of laundry. At least. And I somehow ended up with about 30 unmatched socks. I'm not exaggerating.

--for every child, you get one load of dishes a day. I didn’t cook any elaborate meals (just in case you were wondering, which I’m sure you weren’t), and we still had at least two full loads of dishes a day. I washed dishes I had never seen.

--for every child, you get a full bag of trash in your car. At the end of my stay, I cleaned out my car and found handfuls of candy wrappers (we weren’t supposed to have sugar until we were done with dinner…sneaky), crayons (we never colored in the car), trash from toys that I never saw (where did they get full toys??!), Frito's (so many Frito's), ten Sunday School papers/handouts (we only went once), a coupon for a free ice cream for reading 15 minutes a day (may have kept this) cleaner spray for a whiteboard, and more.

--for every child, add ten minutes to expected times. If you want to leave at 8:00 a.m., you have to tell the two kids you’re leaving at 7:40. Every time, every day, no matter what, someone can’t find a shoe, forgets a jacket, loses a book, suddenly has to pee, forgot to get a snack, lost a page of math homework…

--for every child, you have to increase the number of times you ask them to brush their teeth two times before it happens. I get it…it’s an annoying chore. But one kid—two times and they do it. Two kids…two times for her, she keeps getting distracted by the other kid, he’s not brushing his teeth, etc., so two more times for her, then she does it. Then the same story for the other one.

--kids need to eat twice as often as I do, and 80% healthier. I like to have a latte in the morning, and one large meal--lunch or dinner. Sometimes, I'll snack on other stuff. Kids actually eat three meals a day...and there are snacks in between. I figured that they'd want more meals, so I was set for that. The snacks were a surprise. Also, after the first awesome night of making our own pizzas, I realized that we ate no fruits and veggies at all, other than the unusually large amount of onions I put on mine, and they didn't say a word...those guyyyyysss! So I may have over done it after that, and made fruits and veggies a part of EVERYTHING we did, including bringing apples to their favorite pizza place, and forcing the kids to eat them before we played games. I didn't really have to force...they're so good. And they like apples.

I also instituted a "No Fun Dip Rule" after day one. Lesson learned.

--kids are always at 100% energy all the time...it's just divided up differently.

For me...when I'm just waking up, I like to think I operate at 60% or so. I don't have the other 40%.

For just-waking-up kids, it's still 100%...it's just 40% awake, 20% asleep, 15% confused, 5% angry and 20% hilarious.

For bedtime-but-we-don't-want-to-go-to-bed (which only happened once, really. Such good kids.), it's 45% tired, 5% hilarious, 10% mad, 28% desperate and 12% completely crazy.

For I-am-happy-you're-here-but-also-hope-you-take-us-out-to-eat kids, it's 20% sweet, 30% completely adorable, 12% desperate, 33% creative, 5% hungry.

For I-need-a-snack-and-hope-it's-gonna-be-a-Fun-Dip kids, it's 35% hungry, 11% tricky, 9% irrational, 20% hilarious, 5% smart and 20% hopeful.

For it's-my-first-school-dance-and-I'm-regretting-agreeing-to-go kids, it's 20% terrified, 20% regretful, 15% hopeful, 11% excited, 12% confused and 22% really, really cute.

I could go on, but you get it. Moms have to handle 100% kids, 100% of the time. Props, moms.

Hilarious things these kids said that I am still laughing about. The list is ranked, but not really, because I have so many tied for number one. Guy is full of insight and observation, and Lil’ Lady is wildly grown up.

9. At Color Me Mine, Guy walks in and sees McDonald's trash in the trash can, and to the man behind the counter, says: "Let me guess...you ate McDonald's."

8. After experiencing the roof coming down on Tiny Car for the first time, Guy: “I’m going to go the bank like ten times and get enough money to buy one of these transformer cars for me. What kind is it again? Because my parents already have like $100, so ten trips to the bank will probably be enough. Actually, I think I'll go back to the bank one extra time so I can get money for a phone.”

7. After I commented on the red blood-paint that he painted on the inside of his snake box at Color Me Mine, the day before Super Hero dress up Day at school, Guy: "I like blood more than super heroes...but not my own blood."

6. Upon getting onto Hollywood Blvd, Guy: "Man, I am a fan!"

5. Lil’ Lady, commenting on the 4 month old not crying all day: "Squidward loves you. That means you're ready to get married and have a baby."

4. Lil’ Lady, at Chuck E Cheese: "Guy, why did you already cash in your tickets?"

Guy: "Because I want to pretend like I'm saving them...but I'm not."

3. Lil’ Lady to me regarding the Sweethearts Dance that we attended: "Uh, do you know how to do hair? Because I miiight have asked a boy to the dance."

2. After Lil’ Lady added her movie popcorn to her home popcorn (don’t tell that we had two popcorn treats in one day): "Is it weird to mix my popcorns?" Guy: "No, it's just like science."
End of conversation. I love that kid.

1. From the bath, after I told both of them that we were going to have 10 minutes of super clean up before we watched a movie, Guy: “AUNTY SHANNON!!! I JUST WANTED TO TELL YOU THAT YOU AND LIL’ LADY CAN START THE CLEAN UP TIME WITHOUT ME IF YOU WANT TO BECAUSE I AM STILL TAKING A BATH.”

1. At church, Guy, in the church library, looking for a Bible, upon selecting a book called “The Hole in our Gospel”: Me: "Oh, Guy, that actually isn't a Bible." Guy: "Yeah it is...look...it says Holy Gospel."

1. Guy randomly (and inconsistently) referring to any private parts as "bitties." For example:
--"That ball just hit me in right the bitties!!!"
--"Lil’ Ladyyyyy pull up your towel, I can see your bitties!"
--"I have to wear underwear so no one sees my bitties."

1. First night at bedtime, in response to me saying “Goodnight Guy.”, referring to Grrrl, the three year old foster sister: "I ate Grrrl. Goodnight Grrrl (rubs tummy)."



I am still laughing about all of this.

All in all, so much fun, so much learning. I was tired at the beginning, but got used to things in not too much time, and at the end, was a little sad to go.

I love other people's babies. Especially the hilarious ones. I will love on this week for all time.

1 comment:

  1. I am your new biggest blog fan!!!
    M. Hong

    ReplyDelete