This past weekend, some friends of mine asked me if I would be willing to babysit their two children. I’m not sure what was more shocking – that anyone would actually entrust their children to me (particularly when my lovely wife was out of town) or that I would actually agree to do it. You see, while I like children quite a lot, I generally tend to like them from afar, or in very short time increments if up close. I also have an hourly rate of $600 per hour, which is typically prohibitive for most parents. As such, I am usually not the first choice, the second choice, or even the 999th choice to be a babysitter. And yet I found myself staring down two little people – mano v. child-o – this past Saturday evening.
I learned some very important lessons during this experience. They are, in no particular order:
1. Little boys can turn anything into a lethal weapon. Rubber bands, plastic water bottles, pizza . . . all instruments of mass destruction in the hands of kids.
2. Kids are like European soccer players. One moment they are howling in agony, and the next they are leaping around like gazelles.
3. If the energy of children could be harnessed, it would end the U.S. dependence on foreign oil (and no, I am not suggesting that we start burning children).
4. Getting kids to eat is easy – just lay out all manner of candy, cakes, and other sugar laden products and watch the feeding frenzy commence. Conversely, getting kids to eat anything remotely healthful is a Sisyphusian task.
5. I thought that I had the patience of Job. I thought wrong.
Nevertheless, a good time was had by all. The house wasn’t burned to the ground. And no one died. But, hats off to you parents, who do this 24/7. You have my sincere admiration.