Babysitting 101

October 23, 2012 at 8:54 am 4 comments


An ideal wedding should be an all family affair, just like in the classic Godfather movie, where members from different generations, young and old alike, come to party and enjoy themselves. Most modern couples, however, don’t go along with this tradition anymore if they get married at all. They prefer a small private wedding. The first sacrificed and not allowed to attend are the kids along with the elderly and their walkers.

Monday was the day when everything went back to normal. I had relatives from the east coast during the weekend. They came to attend a wedding in Napa.

Right from the moment I picked them up from the airport, I knew their stay would be memorable. My cousin and her husband came with their 2 1/2 year-old son.

They were supposed to arrive on Thursday night, but they turned up a day late due to travel snafus. Their initial flight was cancelled because there wasn’t enough crew to fly the aircraft. The airline booked them on another flight which they missed because it left an hour early. After several more hours of delay that the airline justifiably blamed on the weather, they finally found a plane to take them to San Francisco.

The couple were visibly exhausted when I met them at the baggage claim area. But not the 2 1/2 year-old. He was a dynamo of energy. I saw him running all over the place like a puppy freed from its cage. When I tried to approach him, he stood still, looked at me, sized me up, and started running away. He must have thought I couldn’t catch him. Rather than prove him right, I didn’t take the bait. I decided to help his parents with their luggage instead.

My place is small so it needed some creativity to accommodate everybody. I set up a tent in the living room for the little toddler. It was a great idea. When he saw it, he jumped into it right away.

I relinquished my bed to the couple following the Filipino custom of giving the best accommodation possible to guests. During their stay, I slept on the couch. I found the arrangement a little inconvenient but it was manageable.

The wedding was to be held saturday in Napa county known for its winery and relaxing spas. They planned to stay the night of the wedding at the hotel where the reception would be held.

“Unfortunately,” they lamented, “they are for grownups only.” Hint. Hint. No kids allowed.

“Would you mind babysitting while we’re away?”

“No problem at all,” I answered matter-of-factly. “I think we’ll have a great time together.”

Babysitting was both scary and fun. It helped that the kid goes to day care so he’s used to not being with his parents all the time. He’s also potty trained which made this basic human function tolerable under my supervision.

I found his temper tantrum out of my league, He woke up from his nap right after they left crying and asking for his mummy.

“Mummy’s not here,” I explained. “Remember, she went to Napa.”

“Go away,” he yelled at the top of his lungs. “I want mummy!”

“Mummy’s not here,” I repeated. “she went to Napa with your dad.”

He wouldn’t stop crying. I tried to cuddle him, but he kept on pushing me away.

Exasperated, I just let him be. He stopped eventually just short of me having a heart attack.

His favorite word was no. The origin of the phrase, what part of no don’t you understand?, has been lost in antiquity. I suspect it must have come from the mouth of a toddler. On second thought, it must have originated from a babysitter who says no to everything the toddler wants to do like playing with the controls of the stereo or climbing on top of the couch.

He impressed me with his boundless energy. We kept running around the house playing hide and seek and he didn’t seem to get tired at all. I always knew where he was hiding because he didn’t mind telling me.

“Where are you?” I asked.

“I’m here!” he yelled from where he was hiding.

He taught me how to whine, too. Smart kid. To speed up the learning process, he asked me to lie close to him on the floor and repeat the steps after him.

“Move your legs like this,” he said shaking his legs.

“Go ahead, do it.”

“Move your arms like this,” he continued flailing his arms like chicken wings.

“Go ahead, do it.”

“Cry and call for mummy.”

“Go ahead, do it.”

We practiced the steps together for several times until I learned it by heart.

When his parents came back, they looked radiant, their batteries recharged. With a new-found respect for parenthood, I was happy for them. They deserved to get away and take a break.

Still, I believe the kid shouldn’t have been left behind. He is smart and mature for his age. He should have been at the wedding, too. What do you think?

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. AC  |  October 23, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    awwww. kudos to you for babysitting an energizer bunny. i love kids.. but i don’t think i have the patience to babysit like that. when i was still in manila, my brother & sister in law would often (intentionally) leave the house without their baby and have her babysit by no other than me.. as they said “para matuto ka man lang humawak ng bata”. hahahahaha

    Reply
    • 2. plaridel  |  October 24, 2012 at 11:15 am

      ac:

      he’s a great kid. it was rather unfair that he wasn’t able to go with his parents. with few exceptions, i don’t see any reason why kids shouldn’t be allowed to attend family gatherings. you know you’re family when you’re always welcome

      Reply
  • 3. dianewrites  |  October 26, 2012 at 3:54 am

    I teach college kids and I know the patience you have to render to a toddler vs. college kid is way different. Mission accomplished for you! 😀

    Reply
    • 4. plaridel  |  October 26, 2012 at 9:59 pm

      diane:

      perhaps it helped that sometimes i’m still a kid at heart. 🙂

      Reply

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