Aren’t there rules or something?

Let me begin by saying that I love kids.  Really.  I do.  I think they are lovely people, and it’s an incredible thing to watch them discover the world around them.  It’s amazing to see a baby smile.  And it’s a miracle to see a child form their first words (however, not a miracle to help a kid who’s not yours pull out their first tooth when their parent isn’t there.  Bad miracle! Bad miracle!).  I like movies with kids in them, sometimes I think they’re better actors than adults; it could be honesty or they just deliver their lines cuter, I don’t know.

I’ve liked kids my whole life.  At my parent’s work barbecues, or dinner at a parent’s friend’s house, I could be found with either the child or the family pet.  I just found them more interesting or we had a similar mindset.  Seeing a beagle eat a cat’s poop out of the litter box is disgusting and fascinating at the same time, it’s just not something to brag about.  So it was only natural that I took my Red Cross babysitting course at the age of 12 or 13 to start taking care of something I already liked for money.  Not a difficult job.  You just basically have to make sure that no catastrophe befalls the innocent, and you will get paid.  I was taught, however, that a babysitter doesn’t just “babysit”, but make sure they brush their teeth, make sure they get to bed at a decent hour, make sure they don’t watch too much tv, and make an effort to tidy up the mess that you or the kids made before the parents get home to hide the evidence of the macaroni and cheese with mustard and french fries disaster that happened earlier in the evening.

In college, I had returned from a semester in Costa Rica, I wanted to move out of my parent’s house, so I needed a job. Babysitting skills and years of experience with children translated into a nanny position.  Ladies and gentlemen, I got spoiled.  I was getting paid to take care of a sweet kid and teach him everything I know.  I’m not saying there weren’t challenging moments, and it definitely provided an excellent form of birth control, but more importantly: the parents and I were on the same page as to what was acceptable and what wasn’t acceptable. And, to be completely honest, I found this with most (there are bratty kids in Denver, too) of the families I would sit for.  Just so there’s no confusion, I made up a list of things that were and were not acceptable:

Acceptable:

1. running

2. jumping

3. playing

4. legos

5. singing

6. dancing

7. napping

8. sitting quietly while I check my email

Unacceptable

1. ripping up the pages of a library book.

Fast forward a few years to moving to New York…Ho-ly shit.  There’s stuff that would NOT HAVE FLOWN when I was a kid.  For example: I was expected to be on my best behavior in restaurants.  If not, I would be removed from that booth booster seat faster than you could blink, and I would never see those restaurant crayons or coloring- book style placemat ever again. I understood that what I had done was unacceptable.  I was to always use please and thank you in my own home and, especially, if I was company at someone’s house.   And if I was being taken care of by a babysitter it was a privilege…not a right.  Maybe my parents were disciplinarians, but their kids didn’t become brats.  When I first started seeking out a nanny job when I moved to the city, I was appalled.  I interviewed with one family on the Lower East Side, whose mother told me that, “If Uma wants to climb and play on the [dinner] table, she can.” Play doesn’t mean sit in a high chair and do finger painting, it means run back and forth along the length of the table.  My mind fast forwarded about ten years, to a kid with pig tails, screaming, running up and down the length of the table with both parents in various states of hair loss. I didn’t take the job.  There were a couple kids I took care of in my neighborhood for a while, but eventually had to stop because I started to lose my voice from trying to get the message across to these kids to get them to do what their parents had asked me to do.  I should’ve taken the cue from the first time I went there when the father started screaming at the kids while the mom sat by rolling her eyes and trying to laugh it off.  Um, I don’t think that works… I felt that a lot of that could’ve been resolved if getting their kids to respect their parents at an earlier age might’ve been helpful.  What are people thinking? “My two year old doesn’t understand what “no” means.”  Newsflash! They do! There’s even a “no” song on Sesame Street.  Why parents don’t think it’s necessary to give their children consequences for their actions is beyond me.  I’m no expert on the subject, but I might put the pieces together and say that a child without this kind of structure has difficulty in school and has consistently bad behavior making it difficult to make friends or keep them, and falls into a lifetime of drug and alcohol abuse.  Ok that last part isn’t true, but you see where I’m going with this.  They just become increasingly hard to handle, and no one likes to be around that.  There has to be a point, as a parent, where you realize that your kid is not the angel you once thought s/he was. Of course, it’s different when they’re yours.

Maybe I take my job too seriously.  I have to accept that I may not be able to change someone’s behavior in a four hour period, but it sure would make them easier to be around if they weren’t acting like they were feral and just recently emerged from their home in the forests of the Amazon.  I babysit now because I need the money.  Not because I want to. I’m good at it.  I’m reliable.  But it sure makes the job easier when your kid isn’t acting like a total brat.  It also makes me want to be a repeat babysitter, and not go spend all the money I just made babysitting on getting drunk from the forty I buy at 7-11 as soon as I leave your house.  It has gotten to the point though, where a lot of times, I just won’t even argue.  You don’t want to brush your teeth? Fine.  You’re the one who’s gonna have to deal with your breath smelling like ass in the morning.  You don’t want to go to bed? Fine.  Stay up until your parents get home.  I don’t care.  You don’t like me? That’s fine, I have other people in my life who validate my existence.  Goodnight.  Click.

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Aren’t there rules or something?

Where is my stuff?

When I had my first apartment in Denver, I lost a pair of scissors.  Now when I say “lost” I don’t mean that I took them to a scrapbooking party and left them at someone’s house and never saw them again and just got over it.  Or “lost” the way someone loses a pair of underwear at a frat party.  I mean “lost” as in these scissors disappeared.  Vanished.  Never to cut again. Just gone, without a trace.  Instead of blame this on my own carelessness, I decided to place the blame on the most obvious criminal, an apartment troll.  Trolls take things and don’t give them back.  I’m sure that if you could see a troll’s house, you would see mounds and mounds of lost items just piling up in the corners of rooms, begging to be put in an episode of “Hoarders” on TLC. Even when I was moving out and emptying every single drawer and every single cabinet, these scissors were still not to be found.

I imagine this troll to be named something like Freddy, Eddie, Harvey, or something representing his personality/habitual traits, like, Smoker.  I found myself creating this entire scenario about my fictional relationship with a figment of my imagination:  I come home from work, and he’s there, on my couch, waist wrapped in my brand new Martha Stewart Living white linen towel, smoking a cigar watching reruns of “Boy Meets World” and constantly commenting on how hot Topanga is.  Not only that, but he has clearly gone through my fridge and eaten my leftover Chipotle burrito, the evidence of which is the cilantro-lime rice that has entangled itself in his bounty of chest hair. He has a voice suggestive of smoking since the age of 5, and makes lewd comments beyond what any dirty old man could ever think of, “Someone forgot her cutlets today, because she looks like an 8 year old boy.”  He’s the live-in boyfriend I never had.  He sleeps on my couch, and talks in his sleep reliving his glory days at Sprite Strippers as the amateur night aficionado.

I haven’t lived in Denver for almost 3 years, and was convinced that I had moved far enough away that laziness would get the better of him and I wouldn’t have to worry about it.  I’m bringing this up because lately I have been losing stuff, which, is, obviously the fault of none other than my AT.  My YMCA card has completely gone missing.  They don’t have it there, I asked.  I know I saw it on my desk and it wasn’t until I actually needed to go to the gym on Monday, that it had been taken.  I know it’s here…probably in my room somewhere, cleverly hidden in some crevice.  I’m gonna find you “Y” card, and when I do, I’m not letting you out of my sight.  Then! Today, I could not find my ipod.  It was in my bag last night.  The last place it was being played, it was physically handed back to me and I put it in my bag.  AT is getting into my shit and making me feel like a total nutcase!

I am not kidding when I say that I have ripped my place apart looking for these things.  This has to happen to other people.  That, or I am experiencing the early stages of Alzheimer’s.  A 90 year old woman trapped in a 26 year old’s body.  Guess that’s better than it being the other way around…but still.  You better watch it AT.  I’m on to you.

Where is my stuff?