In case you weren’t aware, I’m an only child. My only experience with having siblings…well, I don’t have any experience. I have a cousin who acts like my brother, I have three imaginary brothers, and I have two pretend ones. That doesn’t lend a lot of knowledge.
So when camp calls and asks if I’d be willing to help babysit a few kids at an upcoming training, I’m like, “Sure, why not. How many are there?”
“Oh, well, last year we had about three signed up, but we had ten show up.”
“Um, okay, I guess I could…”
“Lunch is included.”
I don’t remember how many we were supposed to have. But we ended up with nine. We had all sorts of age ranges, from the kindergartners who don’t like to share, to pre-schoolers who don’t like to talk, to toddlers who like to put everything in their mouth.
It was quite the adventure we undertook, myself and four 4.12 friends. We had to feed them, change a few diapers, make sure they didn’t destroy anything, all while ensuring they were comfortable and having fun. Perhaps the greatest challenge we faced that day was a little girl who liked to pull one over on people. Divide and conquer. If you said no, there had to be someone who’d say yes.
The Battle of the No-Unicorn-Toys-At-Lunch was a particularly difficult one, ending in triumph as we carried her to the dining hall, leaving behind a plastic horse toy that belonged to a camp worker.
After trying to get the kids to eat tacos without there being meat, cheese, and sour cream all over them or the floor, I went home. Happy I had survived. Thrilled that I didn’t have siblings. Thankful that I hadn’t been on diaper duty.
Probably a week later, I get another phone call.
“Hey, could you come up again to babysit? It’s our last training session.”
You have got to be kidding me.
This time, with a batch of new and old kids, I somehow became solely responsible for a little guy named Coleson.
I’m not sure how old Coleson was. He was at that beautiful stage where everything goes in his mouth. He was almost able to talk, and could babble almost-sorta-words. His shirt read, “Pick me up, honey. I like older chicks.”
Now, the important thing to note in all of this is that I’m an only child. I don’t do kids, especially not toddlers. I’ve never helped take care of one. And now, this guy was my responsibility.
He didn’t have shoes, so on the outside trip, I had to carry him everywhere with my weak little arms. We did a lot of sitting. Then, when we were inside, he couldn’t toddle anywhere without sticking a toy in his mouth. There wasn’t really anything for him to play with. So we did more sitting.
The best thing was, he was really content to sit. He just sat on my lap, sat next to me, sat on a tire outside.
The worst thing was probably the snack he brought. You know those cracker sandwiches with cheese inside? The processed, ooey-gooey kind? Yup, he had a whole cup of those, and he managed to get fake cheese all over himself, me, and his mouth.
My nausea wasn’t a fan.
All in all, I enjoyed babysitting. It was nice to take care of someone else for a day.
And at the same time, I was more than happy to come home to my sibling-less house.
The imaginary brothers are still in Narnia. I don’t know when they’ll come back to visit.
As far as I’m concerned right now, they can stay there.