The teenager laughed at Bunny and called it babyish and hurled the toy telephone across the room. She was babysitting me and I didn’t like her in the least. I don’t remember every disliking anybody before, but I knew that she was not a kind person and I did not want her anywhere near my room.
But I was a six year old kid and she was the teenager in charge so I just stood quietly while she made fun of my most favorite stuffed animal and threw – threw! – my plastic phone.
I told my parents I didn’t like her and they respected that, though I vaguely remember that she almost babysat again another time when my parents couldn’t find anybody else. I know her name came up and I voiced my objection and I know I never played in my room with her again, but maybe she hung out in front of the TV while I slept.
I had another babysitter that I did like – I adored her. When I went to bed she’d tell me a story about “coming to get you” and I’d say I’d hide somewhere and she’d say she’d go there and I’d name another place and she’d get there too. Not so imaginative in retrospect, but I was entranced and in giggles and loved every second of the game of trying to stay up as late as I could with this never ending story.
I also loved that babysitter nights meant I got to eat a TV dinner with those cool gross little cranberry crumble deserts and fried chicken with odd pieces of something not quite chicken hanging out in the gristly parts of the joints. They were delicious.
The other night we had a babysitter over to watch our kids and it was great. We generally just take our kids out with us, but on this particular night we each wanted to attend a different community event and needed to be kid free. Our sitter came over and we took off and it was fantastic. It was freeing to be able to go out and it was even more freeing to hear how much the kids liked this teenage girl.
She was respectful and kind and she smiled and read them books and played with them and picked up the toys as they played. Picking up toys is not a requirement, but I think it sent the message to the kids that she somehow knew the secret adult safe world of doing the right thing and taking care of kids.
The kids think she is terrific and I have a feeling she likes the extra cash, so we might find ourselves going out just a little bit more.