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Alethea & Athena
Further adventures in babysitting 
12th-Oct-2014 02:57 pm
twins
Babysitting went relatively well yesterday, but afterward we were too wiped out to do much else. The playground at our apartment is "closed" until 10:00 (there doesn't seem to be anything in place to enforce that rule, but when we got there and the kids were screaming in delight, we could see why they make the attempt and were glad we were at least a little considerate of the people in nearby units who might want to be sleeping on a Saturday morning), so we tried starting off with a distraction tactic: Pokemon. I don't know why we didn't try it on Friday; I think it's because we're not convinced the two-year-old has an attention span for half-hour cartoons. Turns out he does, but only for the right show. Curious George and Barney didn't work, but Pokemon worked like a charm. Maybe it was just a better day for it or something. We really wish we'd thought to try it on Friday, because that could have been a really easy babysitting job. And we remembered how much we enjoy Pokemon.

The girl, on the other hand, has an attention span for half-hour cartoons, but I guess she just has too much she likes to do, because as soon as it was time for the Poke-Rap, she said, "Let's play Kingdom Hearts!" And that was the beginning of the difficult babysitting day. The kids just don't like doing the same things at the same time, unless it's something only one of them can do. That being the case, there was no break for either of us, because we needed to make sure there was at least one pair of eyes on each kid.

We keep hearing about this magical thing called "nap time," but somehow that seems to never happen when we're responsible for children. We see the kids rubbing their eyes to ward of the sleepiness, and starting to hit things out of some weird theory that that will keep them awake, but they never succumb. We like to interpret that as meaning we're too fun for our own good, but I'm sure there are any number of reasons they would refuse to go to sleep. It might also be karma because we always refused to nap when we were kids. We like to think we were easier to take care of in general (and I do remember days at daycare when all the kids would be put down for a nap, and while I refused to sleep, I lay down and was quiet anyway...but that might have been the second day, meaning maybe I caused (and consequently got in) trouble the first time).

Anyway, the kids were pretty good for the most part, despite all our whining. I had to spend some time reflecting on why I enjoy giving time-outs so much, and if it just means I'm a sadist. There was one time-out yesterday due to some dangerous behavior on the playground, and the little girl was very dramatic about it. Of course she was trying to play to our sympathies, but we just suppressed our laughter (or Athena did mostly; I was keeping an eye on the toddler). The girl was all, "I don't like this!" and Athena was all, "Exactly." She pointed out that when you give a time-out, you don't have to care about what makes the kid happy anymore. We like to make people happy, but when what makes them happy is so exhausting, it's nice to not have to for a little while. It's a little empowering, but it sounds like the kind of empowering that might go to one's head if one is not careful.

On a lighter note, coloring was a relatively big hit. (We didn't color on Friday because we hadn't yet been to the store to buy markers.) The baby brother loved it. He's learning about colors, so he liked to shout out a color before grabbing the marker. I think yellow is his favorite, because it's the one he shouted loudest, but when asked, he remained silent. The little girl drew us a comic book about a star, and everyone trying to stay awake to watch it. Was it inspired by her lack of a nap? Who can say? She also drew a picture of Athena.

Today I'm thankful for being done babysitting, the comic book the little girl drew for us, hopefully not having to wake up early tomorrow, our home teacher having ideas on how we can steampunkify our Halloween costumes (hopefully those ideas will still work when he finds out what the costumes look like), and the College Humor video about every panel at Comic Con ("Actually, I'm...").
Comments 
13th-Oct-2014 11:12 am (UTC)
I worked in daycare for six years, and I also raised one child of my own. If you ever want any babysitting hints, or have any questions, I would be happy to share my experience. Please don't take this as me saying, "I know everything, and you don't!" or anything like that. From what you relate, you both do a very good job with taking care of kids; but if you ever want any help/ideas/whatever, I'd be happy to offer my insight, FWIW. :)
13th-Oct-2014 05:17 pm (UTC)
No offense taken! The way we keep whining about it, we can't blame a caring person to want to ease the burden somehow. We were talking about it amongst ourselves, and we think what we really need is a spoonful of sugar, so to speak. We need to find some way to make it fun for ourselves...maybe something that will override the little girl's unswerving desire to play pirates. She gets very demanding, and it comes out the most in that game. So far, no amount of, "But I don't want to do that," or, "But I don't like that," will win her sympathy.
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