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Six Toddlers and a Bruised Nose - A Babysitting Experience
Most of the pictures I chose to post shows only a small part of the children's faces or maybe the back of their bodies. This is to preserve the privacy just in case their parents have a problem with their pictures being posted.
Getting the Job
OH MY GOODNESS! You won't believe the day I had on August 20th, 2010... yesterday. August 20th was the Friday but the day before, I received a text from one of my 'clients' requesting my babysitting services. When I asked my 'client' what time he needed me, he said all day.
Luckily, his wife called me because I was surely going to respond with a no. I didn't want to be stuck babysitting all day because I had an awesome conference to attend at my church during the night. My 'client's' wife told me she needed me from 9 AM to 5 PM, but here was the catch. The babysitting was to be done at her job and her three-year-old twins weren't the only ones I would be watching.
My Fears and Doubts
It was bring your children to work day at my 'client's' wife's office. Let's call her Ms. G. When I found out from Ms. G that it was going to be between 12 and 20 children attending, I was a little unsure about that. From what she told me, I may have ended up being alone with all 20 children if the parents were called away to a meeting.
Another thing I was nervous about was the fact that I would be WATCHED by the parents while taking care of their children. I mean, come on! Who wants to be watched while watching someone? I thought: I wouldn't be able to function being judged by the way I'm caring for their kids. I'll think I'm doing something wrong. I'll let the kids get away with everything. I'll make the parents angry.
That was Thursday. Friday defied my expectations in a way I never imagined.
The Day of the Job - 9 AM
At 8:40 AM, I met Ms. G at her house - I was to ride to work with her - and I became re-aquainted with her three-year-old twins. To protect their identity, I'll just use their initials. So, P.E. and X.E. became re-acquainted with me within seconds and we were on our way to the job.
At 9 AM, when I got to the office, I met the organiser of the event, Ms. K. She introduced me to someone else my age - another babysitter - and gave me a schedule for the day. However, with the first event, which was a game called red light / green light, X.E. was screaming his head off and P.E. was uncooperative.
Ms. G. had to take the boys to her private office and asked for privacy with them to get them 'settled'.
Me, feeling very... empty, for lack of a better word, without my boys, uncertainly ventured outside where the other kids were.
I met Brooke, another babysitter my age. She takes care of a 4-year-old who I'm going to name Princess and Princess' 7-year-old brother Mike.
Princess was playing with 5-year-old Kel and Kel was pretty much taking advantage of the 4-year-old. I hung around outside for a while, playing with bubbles and then out came the flying saucers. Ugh! Frizbees. I had no problems with the things until 'the incident.'
10-something AM - The Incident
I was on the front lawn of the building, minding my own business, playing toss with those harmless flying discs. Mike was tossing it - badly might I add - to me and every once in a while, I made sure that his sister Princess wasn't left out.
Some older kids, about 8 - 10 years old, were playing with a huge, metal rimmed frizbee... if that's even what you'll call it. The thing was so hard that Ms. C, one of the women in charge, told them to stay away from the windows and cars when they were tossing the thing around.
Again, I was minding my own business, catching a softer frizbee from Mike and keeping an eye on Princess and Kel as they played with bubbles then WHAM!!!! There it was! I think I saw it, a blur of an extremely rapid incoming pink thing. I didn't know what it was until the stupid thing hit me square on the bridge between the frames of my glasses.
There was a searing pain that spread from the bridge of my nose to the top half of my face then the pain ceased and my face went numb. I was dizzy beyond imagination. So dizzy that I was literally blind for a few seconds.
Brooke was there yelling, "Oh my God! That totally hit you right in the face!" Uh, yeah, I know. I'm blind! I was trying not to panic.
I frantically shook my head and rubbed my eyes, afraid to touch the bridge of my nose where the stupid flying thing had smashed. My top three fears at that moment was: 1) When is my vision going to clear? 2) Is my nose broken, 3) if I cry, would that tramuatize the kids?
So I didn't cry. I refused to even raise my hand to my face except for the purpose of realigning my now-extremely-wobbly glasses. Oh my gosh that hurt! I couldn't believe it.
When my vision finally cleared - though it didn't return to normal for 30 minutes or so - I picked up the deadly weapon and took it to Ms. C. I said, "This is not for the kids." I looked at my face in the reflective surface of my cell phone and saw that I was bleeding. My glasses had grazed the bridge of my nose and the side of my nose and it was a little discoloured and swollen but nothing to be alarmed about.
11 PM - Juggling Toddlers and Chairs
Musical chairs is not a game for three-year-olds but we had fun anyway. All the kids were involved with the game and P.E. had come back outside to hang out with me. X.E. on the other hand, was still being clingy and refused to leave Ms. G's side. However, P.E. and I had fun.
We decided to play musical chairs. P.E. insisted that I held his hand as we walked around and around the chairs. In front of us was little O who had just turned 3. He is the nephew of the woman in charge, Ms. K. He is just so adorable and Ms. K left him alone to play musical chairs.
Poor Little O was confused. He was right in front of me so I ended up taking his hand as well and leading him ahead of P.E. When the music stopped, I quickly scooped P.E. into one of the chairs and then tossed Little O into another.
Again, the music began. Kel, who was in front of Little O, who was in front of P.E. started walking the wrong way. I had to steer her in the right direction while maneuvering Little O and P.E. around the chairs. Then the music stopped again. I slid P.E. into a chair and lifted Little O into another.
Resume music, re-direct Kel, music stop, toddlers thrown in chairs. That was my game until there were 4 chairs remaining! There were about 12 to begin with. Finally, Little O lost when I couldn't throw him into a chair in time. Then P.E. asked to play by himself and he lost but he didn't care.
Lunch and Movie Time
Finally, movie time! That's a great time to take a break right? WRONG! Somehow, Brooke and I ended up in a room filled with toddlers. There were about 5 children below the age of 5 and 4 below the age of 8.
For the whole movie Brooke and I were constantly breaking up a struggle between Little O and 7-year-old Mike. X.E. and P.E. were sharing a chair and their eyes were glued on the television screen so I didn't have to worry about my boys. The only thing I had to do was get up to get them some animal crackers, then I had to bring Little O some as well so he wouldn't feel left out.
There was this little 4-year-old whining for his mommy every 10 minutes or so. I basically just left him alone because he always stopped. Then when I got tired of it, I took him out of the room. I had to lift a 4-year-old out of his chair and back in a couple of times to go to the bathroom and I had to be running back and forth with a scissors (I know, I"m not supposed to run with scissors) to cut the pages of a colouring 'roll'. It's basically an extremely long paper with different pictures to be coloured. If you ask me, the parents should've just ripped pages out of a colouring book. It would've been a whole lot easier.
For the Remainder of the Day...
After lunch, I found myself sitting on the floor of an office, toys scattered all over the floor, entertaining my twins. They were happily playing without mommy. Soon I was joined by another pair of twins: Ash and Nate. They were 4 years old and so adorable. Both sets of twins were soon joined by 3-year-old Josh and his little sister Eevy.
Eevy is so precious. Somehow, I ended up with her alone around the 3 - 4 hour of the afternoon. P.E. and X.E. had gone to Ms. G's office for a snack or something and the other twins went to play with their other friends. Eevy's brother didn't stick around too long because he has a separation anxiety problem so I was left with Eevy.
Not only is that little one adorable but she's smart too. She is one years old, going on two. She has the most adorable raspy voice and soft, curly black hair. I loved hanging with her. X.E. came back to play but he's possessive so every time Eevy touched one of his toys, he screamed at her. I was always quick to comfort her before she cried though.
Again, I ended up with 6 toddlers in my care and surprisingly, things were so calm. It was so easy keeping them all engaged. I brought them juices when they were thirsty and was quick to comfort them whenever they became restless or remembered their parents.
By the end of the day, one of the older twins (Ash), X.E. and P.E. were in Ms. G's office with me. We were watching another movie on her portable DVD player. Then came the time for me to go. I tried to sneak out but the boys followed me and they looked so sad.
I just had to keep walking. I couldn't watch their pouty faces.
The Aftermath - My Revelation
I fell asleep in the car on my way home and when I woke up, you wouldn't believe how much the top portion of my face was aching. It was stiff and I could barely make any facial expression without causing my face to hurt. Still, despite that, I had an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment. I looked back at my day and I felt so happy. It was so much fun!
I've always known that I wanted to work with children, especially young children, for the rest of my life but at that moment, I felt a comforting certainty about it. You know what I mean? I thought: yes, this is DEFINITELY what I want to do with my life.
I still want to pursue a career in child psychiatry but I know that's a little farther in the future. I know I still have to finish college and then go through medical school. But for now, I want to look into working at a day care. I babysit now but I realise that I can work with a larger group of children.
I don't get frustrated with children very easily. Toddler's tantrums do nothing to my nerves. I remember one incident during the day when there was an ice-cream truck there for the company's bidding. Little Eevy and Josh took to screaming and carrying on and it didn't even bother me.
Then there was X.E. and P.E. making an utter mess of themselves and me. P.E's entire face was smudged with ice-cream and so was his hands. X.E. is more picky about eating so he was less of a mess. Later on, P.E. kept putting his feet on my jeans and staining it with dirt but that didn't annoy me.
So I realise now that I could put my patience - only with children, keep in mind - to working at a daycare. Isn't that a great revelation? :-)
Thanks for reading!