Sunday, November 20, 2005

Reason 1 as to why I am never having children

You may have noticed that I like to exaggerate sometimes. Such as when I wrote the post called 453 reasons why I am never having children. I am sure there are not actually 453 reasons. But they all pale in comparison to reason #1.

Reason #1 - Sometimes the child is Satan in disguise.

Picture it. A young Dana tries to make some money. Since we lost our allowance when Kari decided she didn't want to take piano lessons anymore (although both she and Mom contend that the reason the piano lessons were cancelled was because the teacher was moving. Okay, if that's why, where's my $2 bucks a week? Huh?), really the only opportunities for a 13 (14?) year old girl is to babysit (or, hey, maybe she can get such great offers like call #1 that will warp her for life).

I did get a job working for several families in the neighborhood. Looking back, it amazes me as to how different things were then compared to now. Such as, the parents coming home at midnight and I walked the 8 blocks home. There's no way it's safe to do that now.

There was the family that had four children that were, well, to put it nicely, hellions. All I really remember about them was that they were loud and obnoxious. The parents were cheap. In fact, one night I came over and found out that I was not just watching their kids, I was also going to be watching three additional children. Oh, but don't worry. They would give me some extra money. Yeah. Oh, the generosity. I got three more bucks.

There was the night that it snowed. And snowed. And snowed some more. When the parents got home (different family), the father drove me home. We got about four blocks away from my house when he came upon a problem. The main drag in Mahtomedi (Mahtomedi Ave) was plowed but the side streets were not. So what does he do? He tells me he'll pay me more if I will walk the rest of the way. Ooh. More money. Okay.

I get home a half hour later, Mom is frantic and furious when she finds out that he just dropped me off. I try to calm her down with the fact that he paid me more. I pull out the money he gave me and started counting. Now I am very bad at math and am the first to admit it but even I could figure out that I got jipped. I worked for them for 8 hours. At 2 bucks an hour, I earned 16 dollars. The bastard gave me $17. My mom was on the phone with him in 2.5 seconds and cursed him out. I was never allowed to babysit for them again.

There was one family that I worked for, the Zebra family (fake name. In case you can't tell), that treated me much better. They had two boys and the mother was extremely cool. I rarely saw the father. When Mrs. Zebra asked me what kind of pop I liked to drink and started stocking it for me, that was when I knew this was a dream job.

I was soon proven wrong. The Zebras had two boys. Damien, who was seven, and Angel (hey, it worked for Buffy), who was the sweetest child ever and about five. At first, Damien wasn't all bad. He was a little mouthy and didn't listen well but other than that, he was okay. But then there was influence from a neighbor child and it was bad.

The neighbor's child was Joe and he was, in a word (or two), the biggest pain of the ass ever. He was 10 and kind of reminded me of Eddie Haskell. When Mrs. Zebra was there, he was the picture of charm. But when she left, he did everything he could to make me miserable.

An example? Oh, how about the time he walked in on me in the bathroom. No, let me rephrase that. He didn't so much walk in on me as he picked the lock and opened the door. Ten years old and a successful lock picker. I'm sure his parents would be proud. He always had something negative to say about my weight but this didn't stop me from finding his eyes on one particular part of my anatomy and, on one occasion, his hand ended up there. Nothing says creepy like having your breast groped by a ten year old.

His influence rubbed off on Damien so that, when Joe wasn't there, he would be defiant and mouthy. When Joe was there, Damien pretty much just followed him around and agreed with everything he said. You might ask why I never said anything to Mrs. Zebra but, to be completely honest, she kind of scared me a little. Yes, she was very nice and cool but she was also 50 feet tall and a bit strident. I was afraid I would lose my job. Because, no matter how bratty Damien was, Angel was, well, an angel and Mrs. Zebra paid extremely well. $2.50 an hour plus tip.

Anyway, as I mentioned in my ten firsts meme, I gave Damien a bloody nose. Here's how.

So I get over to the Zebra place to find Mrs. Zebra all flustered. Apparently, Mr. Zebra's mother is going to be coming over. I get submitted to a diatribe about how Grandma Zebra spoils the children and treats Mrs. Zebra like crap and is always criticizing her and if I could please clean up the kitchen, she would really appreciate it and make sure the kids are clean when Grandma Zebra gets there and oh my God, she's going to be late.

Damien is in a mood. I'm not sure if it's because he's all excited that Grandma is coming over or if he got up on the wrong side of the bed or what the deal is but he is completely getting on my last nerve. He wants to go outside and play in the mud. He wants to make his little brother cry. He wants to do this and that and this and that and why won't I let him? Why? Why am I so mean? I'm not the boss of him. He can do what he wants.

He grabs his coat and starts heading outside. I stop him. I firmly tell him no, he is not allowed to go outside.

His response? He looks at me, hatred steaming from his beady little eyes.

"You fucker," he calls me.

And I watch, in shock and horror, as my hand raises up on its own volition and slaps the little brat across the face.

Blood starts gushing from his nose. He starts screaming and crying and runs up to his room, locking the door. I am stuck on the outside, trying to get him to let me in the room so I can clean up his nose. What is going through my mind right now is oh my God, I am the worst babysitter in the world. I have broken his nose. I'm going to get fired (nowadays, I'd probably get sued. Or my mother would get sued since I was 13). I will be blackballed from babysitting. What am I going to do?

I am standing at the door, listening to Damien scream about how he is going to tell his mom and I'm in so much trouble, listening to Angel tell me that Damien's nose bleeds all the time, listening to myself beg him to open the door - when I hear something behind me.

"What's going on?"

I turn around, my face turning pale, to see Mrs. Zebra standing there.

I stammer something to the effect of "Slapped Damien...didn't mean to...please don't kill me...he called me a name...I am so very, very, very sorry...nose is bleeding..."

Mrs. Zebra raises herself to her full height and says calmly "What did he call you?"

I continue to stammer "I shouldn't have reacted the way I wasn't that big of a one has ever called me that before..." She raises one eyebrow at me. "He called me a fucker."

Mrs. Zebra marches into the bathroom, I am right behind her, still apologizing. She grabs a wash cloth and runs it under the faucet. She adds liquid soap to it, squeezes it a few times and then walks to Damien's door.

"Damien. It's Mom. Open the door."

He does. Now I have thought she was going to clean up his nose with the wash cloth. Apparently this is not the case because when he sees the cloth, he starts screaming even more.

"She slapped me! It's her fault! No! Mom! No!"

"Hold still!" Mrs. Zebra snaps. I then watch, to my horror (and a lot of awe), as she starts squeezing the soapy water into his mouth. "I never want to hear you use that word again. You will apologize to Dana. Right now!"

"I'm sorry, Dana." Damien says to me. I manage to suppress a smile as I see the bubbles run out of his mouth.

Mrs. Zebra then compliments me on the kitchen and pays me, giving me a large tip. She tells me I can leave when Grandma Zebra gets there. She was only there long enough to pick up something for her next meeting. She writes a huge note and tapes it to the fridge.

The note read "Under no circumstances is Damien allowed any candy or to watch television. He will stay in his room for the rest of the day. He called the babysitter a fucker." The rest of the afternoon goes smoothly. Damien is in his room and Angel and I have a wonderful day playing and reading together.

And then Grandma Zebra arrives. She appears to be sweet and cuddly. She has tons of gifts for the children. And then she reveals her true colors.

She walks around the kitchen and actually turns to me and apologizes for her daughter-in-law's horrible housekeeping. Since I had been the one who did the cleaning, this ticks me off to no end. She then sees the note.

"What is this?" she asks. I explain, briefly, that Damien is being punished and is to remain in his room for the rest of the day.

"Oh, really?" She calls Damien out to the kitchen. He and Angel hug her and she fusses over both of them. I then watch her go to her purse and take out two huge candy bars. She hands one to each child. She then looks at me and I swear her eyes flash red. "What Mrs. Zebra doesn't know won't hurt her. You won't say a word."

I soon found myself outside the front door, dazed and confused, headed home.

I still babysat for the Zebras the rest of the summer. Joe was soon banned from the house, Damien showed me a little bit more respect and Angel, well, he was an Angel. The next summer, I got a job working for the school district (it was a program to help children of low income families) at the elementary school as a janitor. My, that was fun. Oh, and I just realized, I must have been 14 when I babysat for the Zebras. Because the next summer was when I was 15 and met Dean of The Tale of the Blue Stiffy fame.

Anyway, while Angel was quite possibly the sweetest little boy in the world (example, I got a job working for OJT in high school at the elementary school library. Angel came in, recognized me and gave me a huge hug and begged me to come babysit him again because his new babysitter wasn't half as cool as I was), Damien was just the first of many reasons as to why I don't want children myself. And yet, I still love reading blogs written by mothers. I wonder why that is. Maybe to keep me from succumbing to cute baby syndrome?

Okay, Teri, long enough for you? It's finally Sunday so you know what that means - there will be a karaoke post tomorrow. Or Tuesday, depending on how busy it is at work tomorrow.

Oh, and I saw Chicken Little and Harry Potter yesterday. Chicken Little was really cute. Harry Potter rocked.