I’m 29 years old, and I deserve a “mazal tov” because today, I popped my babysitting cherry.
I never did any babysitting when I was a teenager. While some of my close friends and acquaintances made modest change, entertaining their neighbor’s kid, I stayed at home, watched TV, did my homework or the dishes. I never had to get wrist-deep in baby droppings to make my pockets jingle. Being an only child, I’d have things my way, so if I was ever short of cash, a peep was all it took for my parents to pull out their wallets. If my mom had a “good day” at work, I would surely find myself with a set of 20’s in my hand or a nice big 100.
So yeah – no hard laboring and toiling for petty cash for me. And that was not only because I was spoiled, but also because I never had any younger siblings to take care of, and often believed that kids didn’t like me anyway. I tried to imagine myself in a situation where I had to get a baby to stop crying, or wiping his bottom. I couldn’t do it. As an aside, I never had any problem getting my dog to stop barking or picking up his business from the neighbor’s front lawn.
But today, as I am 29 and am trying to make some semblance of a living, being a feminist and cursing the capitalist system sadly doesn’t pay the bills… yet another product of the cursed system. My day job is more of an afternoon pastime. Three and a half hours worth of emails and phone calls, and off I go.
However, since I have my doubts that my current salary could get me through the month, I make a bit of money on the side as a dog walker. The lady who owns the dog also has a 1.5-year-old baby and she asked me if I’d be interested in babysitting him.
“Take him out, let him run around, chase after him, watch that he doesn’t put things in his mouth…” was roughly her job description.
As long as it doesn’t involve stools, I should be fine, I thought. And extra cash never hurt anyone.
I took out the blond-hair, blue-eyed bag of potatoes to the park close to his house, and took him out of his stroller (more like struggling to lift him with a loud grunt). I let him run around a bit, chasing him, trying to keep him from picking up cigarette butts, pieces of carob, dead leaves, coke cans, discarded snack bags…
It was all nice and fun, but after 15 minutes I was winded.
I’m either getting old, or this kid is on speed, I thought. And that’s when disaster struck.
Somehow, the kid found melted chocolate to be fascinating, and before I noticed it was actually dog feces, he had his hand in it. I shrieked and quickly pulled him away from it. His stroller was far off so I picked him up (yet another struggle) and ran to it. I washed his hands with the bottled water his mother packed for us and wiped him down with tissues. The fecal matter was transferred to my hands and I barely had enough time to wash before the rain came.
“Alright, we’re going home, little dude,” I said. “Pouring rain is where I draw the line.”
The baby put up a little fight when I attempted to tie him up in his stroller, but eventually calmed down. I took him home and his mom was happy I did because she was also not apt to have her baby out in the rain.
To fill the time that was cut short, she let me take out her dog. Again, I had to pick up after him, but carrying a doggy-bag is a piece of cake to me.
Lesson 1: I can’t handle baby crap, but can stand dog crap, unless it’s on a baby’s hands.
Lesson 2: When people say that having a dog is like having a baby, they’ve clearly never had a baby.
Lesson 3: I cannot blow balloons. Next time I take the kid out, we bring a pre-blown ball. I can certainly handle a game of fetch.
Peace, love and sometimes, to make money, you have to take a lot of shit.