While I have been a babysitter since the responsible age of 13, I wouldn’t go as far to say I am the kid type. Meaning, one that especially enjoys the company of small children. I didn’t even like sitting at the kids table at family gatherings when I was a kid. Often referred to as the Pied Piper, managing children has always been my little sister’s expertise. Besides not being the kid type, I find that babysitting girls is a really rough job.
Boys are easy to babysit. They eat pretty much anything, they think literally everything is funny, and they are non specific about their hair. I don’t know if boys are just new to the game of negotiation, but when given the option between milk or water for dinner….they aren’t really complaining about not getting juice.
Girls, on the other hand are more complicated. They pay attention to the things you might be doing wrong and relish the opportunity to point it out to you. They cry. They have clothing issues. Sometimes choosing pajamas is probably similar to what its like backstage at fashion week. Girls are difficult.
I babysit for a girl and a boy twice a week. Here is a classic example of what I am dealing with: Lately, all the boy wants to really do is wear my moped helmet around and switch off pretending he is Luke Skywalker or running into the marble countertop, continually amazed that he can’t feel anything. He doesn’t usually want me to participate in these two activities, but does appreciate my listening to his running commentary, sound effects, or frequently complimenting him on his imaginary light saber. Easy.
If anything, it gives me more time to focus on the many needs of his older sister. Today…she didn’t have homework and was apparently already tired of the toys she had gotten for her birthday the week before, leaving me the honorable privilege of entertaining her. In a stroke of sheer genius, I came up with the idea to teach her the old schoolyard classic: the M.A.S.H game. Without going into too much detail, it is a game based on advanced statistics in probability (In the mind of every fifth grade girl and below). MASH has the ability to tell you who you were going to marry, where you were going to live, career path, salary, etc, (with the acronym MASH standing for Mansion, Apartment, Shack, or House). Its the game of life, but all too real. Its set up in the form of lists, you pick a number out of the air and begin to cross off options until you end up with your divinely determined life path from the MASH gods. Needless to say, the girl went nuts over the game. We played it multiple times, and then she asked if she could make my MASH list.
Determine my life path? Why not, any college junior could use some direction…and hey it keeps her interested for another five minutes.
As it turns out, my MASH life was worthy of some illustration, courtesy of the little girl I babysit.In honor of Alexa Stanley, we titled it “my goal poster”. My friends Alexa likes to make creative collages to remind her of her goals…tagging off that: I give you my goal poster/MASH in the medium of Crayola
As you can see from the first half of my ancient iphone’s mobile upload:
- I meet a Frenchman while in France
- Sell my new blue moped (as if) for tons of money
- And jet off to….
- An island where I write a book,
- That I have so much success with that I am the first woman to use a spacecraft as a commuter vehicle.
- Essentially I am retired by age 24, I don’t know where the frenchman went, as he is no longer depicted in the goal poster illustration, but my retirement hobbies include baking and running.
I am so glad I have nine year olds around to put life into perspective for me. Finally I know how far a history major can get me.
Space. It can get me to space. I’m not totally sure where the girl got the idea that I would A) ever sell out my moped for a space craft…B) wear a chefs hat, or C) go for a guy with a nazi mustache but hey- if MASH says so….you never know.