I used to be a good babysitter. I had no doubt in my mind that people could trust me with their most precious belongings. And yet somehow in the process of having my own children, I have lost my babysitting skills completely. This has been proven time and time again by a little guy named Simon.
Simon's parents, who were unaware of my lack of babysitter skills, entrusted me with their 21 month old while they took a trip with their older daughter to Disneyland for 4 days. Four days with four kids, how hard could it be?
I got a test run a few days before the big trip. Simon came and hung out with us while his parents had an afternoon date.
I was still confident in my child care abilities when I opened the front door to let Rhode, Scarlet and Simon head out to the car. I turned to Jon just for a moment when I saw my husband glance out the window and take a dead run out the front door. While my other two children had stopped at the car, Simon had headed straight for the middle of the road and, obviously tuckered from his sprint, decided to lay down right there on the blacktop.
That was the first time he almost died on my watch that day. The first, not the last.
At the end of his visit, the kids were playing in the backyard. I admit I am not always very good at checking in on the kids when they are back there but I had already almost killed the kid once so I was being extra vigilant. It had only been five minutes since my last check when I peeked one last time and Simon was nowhere in sight. I took a mad dash around the yard and around the side of my house to see the side gate had been propped open by an unassuming husband earlier that day.
I hit my driveway just in time to see my across the street neighbors walking him back over to our house.
Even after full disclosure of my disappearance of any nurturing skills, his parents still entrusted me with the child with nine lives.
Simon came to our door bright and early Monday morning. He was sleepy from his early departure and a little sad mom had left him behind but, in all honesty, lethargic Simon did a lot less sprinting so I was a tad bit grateful. The kids were acting so well I decided to squeeze in a Costco run and lunch.
I really had learned my lesson. I parked my car and brought a shopping cart around for immediate load in. With two kids (Simon and Asher) securely bucked into the front and Scarlet and Rhode hanging on the side, I was on top of my game.
We made it through the parking lot, through the front door, past the televisions and just about ten feet down the main hallway when Simon started vomiting. And it just kept coming, and coming like a vomit fountain. By the time I finally got the wherewithal to stop the grocery cart, we had left a six foot wet and chunky trail and Simon and I were covered.
It was just one of those moments when, for at least a few seconds you just have absolutely no idea how your life has lead to this moment and what the next step should be.
Thankfully, the incident occurred right in front of the Verizon booth. The Verizon lady turned to me and said, "Wow! Whoa... umm........I'm gonna call someone!"
She then handed me a roll of paper towels and a water bottle. I love that Verizon lady.
Then I had to wait for my "help". Time slowed down to a crawl while the entire Costco population walked by me, my four children under the age of 5 and the vomit pond.
The looks varied from "that poor mother!" to "wow, she obviously has way too many kids to handle." It was the longest five minutes of my life. Finally, the Costco man with the mop arrived, glanced at my situation and said, "Hmm, glad I brought the big mop!"
I made a beeline for the one item I could not leave Costco without, found the shortest checkout line and made the shortest trip to Costco in the history of mankind.
Now the fear was kicking in. What kind of throw up was this? Am I potentially facing a week of four children with stomach flu? Luckily that was not the case but I did get four days of frequently diarrhea filled diapers. So now I had almost killed the kid twice and helped him contract an unknown disease. Awesome...
Simon went down for a nap shortly after arriving home as I assessed the situation. I then learned something else about Simon. He slept in a packnplay in my closet while he was here and not ever once made a peep the whole time he was in there. Awake? Asleep? Who knows? He never made a noise. Which meant at some point every day I had to just peek in and see what was going on. If I peeked to early, I woke him up. If I peeked too late, I was greeted with those wide brown eyes that had the strongest sense of abandonment behind them.
This became a problem when I went to get him out of bed Wednesday morning. I opened the door and a horrid sour smell filled the room. The poor child had vomited in his bed at some point during the night and had not felt the need to make a single noise to alert anyone. This was also throw up #2, which happened more than 24 hours after the first incident...
Throw up #3 occurred on my kitchen floor just an hour before his parents got there. I got to hand them a child without a shirt and without any sense of what might be troubling his little tummy.
I am so not a good babysitter.
On a more positive side, we actually had some very fun times with our new addition. My kids taught him to say "Superman!" with his fist in the air. I took him to the library one day with his baby leash and fed him little graham cracker snacks to keep him walking and couldn't help but occasionally say, "Come on little Simon puppy! Good little Simon puppy." I also got to giggle after every request I made was met with his little voice asking, "why?". "No Simon, the answer is yes Kacey."
"Yes Kacey!" It never got old.
I really truly love Simon to pieces. His mom gave me permission to tell my overdramatic little story because she knows Simon will always be like an extra nephew to me. And, someday when he gets bigger and his mom makes him invite me to his wedding I will pinch his little chubby cheek (in my imagination, he gets taller but keeps his baby face even as a 25 year old) and remind him of the time he puked all over me at Costco... and then give him a very generous wedding present to make up for the embarrassing baby stories.
But just to make sure he makes it to that age, it might be advantageous for his mom to find a new babysitter.