Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Babysitters

The back door had barely shut when we heard a thud and then a scream. It was coming from the den and it could mean only one thing: our babysitting had gotten off to a very bad start.

Our good friends were away for the weekend which gave Jo and me the opportunity and excuse to serve as surrogate grandparents for the evening. With the shiner that appeared to be forming underneath our ward's eye, our substitute career looked like it would be one and done.

I understand that mothers and fathers face minor disasters every few minutes of every day. But the baby had already gone to sleep before his parents left for their night out, and thus our responsibility was only to protect the health and safety of one little 4 year old.

Jo ran into the kitchen to find ice to help with the swelling. She came back with an icepack formed to look like a friendly face. The next few minutes were devoted to finding some way to convince the now calm tiny person sitting next to me that she should hold this freezing object directly against her eye. It was soon apparent that she could out-logic me and thus would have to come to this decision through her own devices.

Luckily, she determined that it was in her best interest to treat her wound in the manner suggested. Within a few minutes, the swelling subsided and our role as guardian seemed once more secure.

While our young friend normally had an 8 PM bedtime, that would not be the reality of this evening. As the movie she was now watching in its entirety for the second time in several hours did not end until close to 9 PM, it was only then that the next psychological battle would begin. We searched for just the right bedtime story, which turned out to be an old one involving Mickey and Minnie, Donald and Pluto. Somehow, she agreed that only one book would suffice.

When the story ended, the genius that resided inside her tiny head, surfaced. "Sometimes I have bad dreams. Sometimes I don't fall to sleep. Sometimes there are monsters." My words were soothing and I assured her I would be downstairs with Jo if she needed us. I tip-toed away and readied for the inevitable. It came within seconds. "I had a bad dream" she advised.

Jo prepared a make shift bed on one of the big chairs. "Lie down and close your eyes". Within a few minutes, the sound of gentle snoring was coming from that chair. The room was now dark, and Jo didn't dare turn on the light to read, for fear of the possible results.

A dark room, the fireplace blazing, and soon there were 2 people asleep in this room. Luckily, Jo managed to keep her eyes open until the return of the now refreshed parents at about 10:30 PM.

When we told of the evening's events, the response was knowing smiles and laughter. For us, it was all new and scary. To them, it was what yesterday was like and what tomorrow would certainly be. The baby started to cry from his crib, just as we put our coats on to leave. I didn't offer to go up. I decided to leave well enough alone.



Remember when you left Richie with us for a WHOLE WEEK when you were moving from your apartment on Hudson Terrace to your house in Tenafly?

Robert said...

I thought it was the cat we left for a week. My bad.

harryette said...

that's another story!

Anonymous said...

remind me not to call you...