When I was 12 and had recently devoured 15 ½ Babysitter’s Club books, I enrolled in babysitter certification at our local YMCA. The training was top notch.  I learned infant CPR.  I got a telephone list that included poison control, the local emergency rooms & the fire department (apparently 9-1-1 wasn’t sufficient).  I was also fooled into believing that it is NOT okay to raid the fridge once the kids are bathed and in bed - I figured out that was a bunch of malarky a few jobs into my career. The training was a feather in my cap, and as far as I was concerned this certification promised vast riches well before I ever turned 20 years old. I babysat for a few years and made enough money to keep my walkman filled with New Kids on the Block cassettes and my waist wrapped in Units belts. (Just gave away how truly old I am, didn’t I? Half of you don’t even know what Units belts are, do you?) But, the gig got pretty old by the time I was 14 and discovered boys.  And the mall.  And meeting boys at the mall. After that, there were jobs from time to time, but it was not the get-rich-quick scheme I dreamt it would be.

Sadly, 12 short years later my babysitting certification was violently and deservedly yanked. A girlfriend (one of my first close friends to birth a human baby) dropped by for a quick visit. When she pulled up to my house her little one was asleep in the back seat and she called me from the street to tell me that she was stuck in the car. Apparently, she had been trying to get him to sleep for days or hours or something. She didn’t want to wake him up by removing him from his car seat. I told her that was totally cool. I was living in St. Louis at the time, and my street was pretty safe. There had only been a few break-ins over the past week and we could TOTALLY see her car from my living room window. I suggested that she just crack a window, lock him in there and come on inside while he slept. This was the precise moment I realized that those who’ve passed a child through their whoo-hoo and those who haven’t reside in different worlds with different realities. She went bananas! My ridiculous advice left her vacillating between total disbelief and hysterical laughter.

Babysitting Certification Revoked.

In my defense, I think I was stoned at the time. Wait, does that make it better or worse? Anyway, it’s been 10 + years since then. Lots of my friends have kids and life has mercifully provided me with a little more sense. Though I have no children of my own, I’m less terrified to be in the same room with them these days. In fact, I’ve even been known to enjoy their company from time to time. So, imagine my surprise when my friend (a whole other woman in a whole other state, completely oblivious of the car seat incident) took me up on my offer to babysit her one year old son for an hour today. Because she’s got some stuff going on, she was a bit frazzled when she dropped him off and neglected to leave him any toys or his stroller so we could take a walk. No biggie, I thought, I was once a certified babysitter. I got this. But here’s the thing I realized when the door shut behind her and the little one was in my arms… our house is a completely kid free zone. It wasn’t until a few months ago that we even had any plastic cups. There are no toys here. There’s not one cartoon on DVD in my collection. Plus, there’s breakable crap EVERYWHERE. Oh, and did I mention, that this normally unbelievably sweet and well behaved child is in the middle of teething? I’m not sure if you’re aware, but teething children are prone to spontaneous fits of blood curdling screaming and experience nearly un-soothe-able pain.  What had I done?

But, turns out, I survived! And even better news, so did he! We found things to do for an hour. I rocked him and cuddled him during his short fits. And did I mention that we both survived?

I’ll take that certification back now, please.


Anonymous said...

Don't hold them too long, you'll get hooked!!!

Molly Page said...

Sorry, Mom. Don't count on it.

Olivia said...

Way to go, Molly! Maybe you could help me with a post about "how to entertain a child with no toys and breakable crap everywhere." It would be very useful! Oh, and I'm linking to you today. : )

Jonathan and Audra Payne said...

LOL! I totally loved the Babysitters' club too! =D I don't know what Unit belts are though.... :P Love your writing style!

Unknown said...

I officially give you back your certification. You have definitely become a much better babysitter than you were back in the day. I, too remember the Babysitters Club and, gulp, Units belts. Oh yeah, let's hear it for old age.

Molly Page said...

Does the re-certification come with some sort of tiara perhaps? The original certification was remiss in providing one.