Sometime around the ripe age of twelve, a relative gave my name and number to someone in search of a babysitter. I didn’t know the first thing about diapers or pacifiers but I gave it a go. The botton line was I didn’t have anything better to do with my weekend nights and at $8/hour, I was well on my way to stockpiling enough money to buy my very first boombox.
I gotta be honest, babysitting wasn’t a natural fit for me. I’ve never been drawn to kids. Not then and certainly not now. I’m not the girl who passes a stroller and coos at the baby inside. I’m not the girl who derives hours of enjoyment from entertaining my niece and nephew. No. I’m the girl who responds with nothing other than utter annoyance when while sitting on a train or a plane I’m greeted by a little hand or face poking between the seats. I’ll either give a stone face on the verge of a growl or a smirky smile that translates as turn-the-fuck-around.
“Billy, don’t bother the nice lady,” the parent will gayily sing.
“Yes, don’t,” I’ll respond under my breath.
Everyone tells me that when the child is your own, you see it all differently. The problem is I just don’t have the urge to test drive this theory. I'm open to having one if I meet a great guy and it's uber important to him. I just don't crave babies. A dog? Now you're talking. I could spend hours upon hours rolling around on the floor with a pooch. When I’m walking down the street and I see someone with a doggie, I have to stop and pet the pup. I could be running an hour late and in the midst of a torrential downpour. Nothing would hinder me from stopping to pet the dog.
With all of that said, I headed down to Sarasota this week excited that Leslie and the kids were going to be joining us. My dad turned 65 on the 25th and seeing he’s outlived his mother by 23 years and his father by 6 years, it was a big deal. Friends and family came over for dinner Christmas day and as I excused myself to go to the bathroom, I strolled past the front door and saw my sister’s SUV turning into the driveway.
“They’re here! They’re here!” I exclaimed with the uncontained excitement of a five year old.
I headed outside and released Anders (3 1/2) out from the backseat before going around to the other side to retrieve Olivia (2). She giggled and nuzzled me as we made our way back into the house.
Fast forward thirty-six hours and all I could think about was how much it would cost to fly back a day early. Don’t get me wrong. The kids are adorable. And to be honest, they’re really sweet and well behaved. But they’re still kids. They scream for no reason or have mini meltdowns when they don’t get their way. The problem is I just can’t stand hearing all of it.
So, I’m back to thinking I’m just not cut out for kids. Earlier tonight, I sat on the sofa and witnessed Anders bop Olivia on he head with a piece of plastic. She broke out in tears and he hastily searched for an escape route. The first thing that came to mind was whether or not I’d remembered to take my daily dose of the pill. My mom scurried to diffuse the situation. Leslie jumped up to calm Olivia and reprimand Anders. Meanwhile, in the ten minutes that passed since the initial head bopping, I upgraded the concern from popping my birth control pill to whether I should just get my tubes tied.
“What do you two want to do tomorrow?” my mom asked as Leslie and I sprawled out on my bed.
“I really want to go to Jungle Gardens,” Leslie replied.
“That sounds like fun,” I tentatively offered.
“Are you sure?” my mom and Leslie asked in unison, both of them emphasizing the sincerity of the question.
“No, but what the heck. Can I go on a pony ride too? ”