There are no bad owners, only bad dogs


Child care is a craft, a skill that must be learned from a master.

OK, I am just about ready to switch to Blogger. This is driving me crazy.
I am in a holding pattern at work, unable to finish my stuff because I'm waiting for a handoff from someone else. It's making me grind my teeth.
When I was a teenager, I occasionally did some baby-sitting, only because my mother made me do it. I never particularly liked babies or small children, and even back then, it was hard to make enough money to matter at the rate of $2 an hour.
But people would ask my mother if I would baby sit for them, and my mother would ALWAYS say yes before asking me. She knew I would be available, because I was dorky and unpopular (I almost wrote "back then," but then I realized that it's a continuing state) and never had anywhere else to go.
I was one of those kids with the metabolism of a hummingbird - Skinny Minnie and Bony Maroni being two of the "fond" nicknames I was given at home. Oh, how the eating habits I developed back then have haunted me... So I would go to baby sit for people, and by the time the kids were in bed, I would be starving. Not hungry, not peckish, but ready to eat dinner (again). What do you do when you're in someone else's house and your stomach is eating itself? You look for stuff to eat that a) you want to eat, and b) they won't notice right away. So if they leave a pan of brownies for you, you might eat one or two, because they expect you to and that's OK, but then after that when you're still hungry, you look for leftovers, boxes of crackers that are 3/4 full so what you eat won't be noticed, stuff that they have a dozen of and won't notice one missing. And you do this while you're listening for their car in the driveway, because it's so embarassing to get caught snarfing.
In between the boofing, I used to look through people's bookshelves, too. That's how I found out that the nice dentist and his pregnant wife liked to read the naughty paperbacks. I read the story about the woman schmearing her cooter with bacon grease and whistling for the German shepherd waaay before the Internet was ever conceived of. It has since changed to peanut butter during a surprise party, but when I read it she was home alone with bacon grease. They had several short novels along those lines.
There was another couple who kept copies of Playboy lying around casually. This, to me, was so completely foreign and forbidden that at first I was loathe to even look at the covers. This was something that had never, ever entered my home, ever. By the third or fourth time I'd sat on their baby, though, I was bold enough to open it right up and !gasp! look at the boobies.
Then, there was always the fight to stay awake until the people came home. Most of the time they'd called earlier to make sure the fruit of their loins was sleeping OK, and if he was, they felt OK about staying out later. Of course, the later they stayed out, the more likely it was that I'd be drooling and snoring on the couch when they came home.
All of this information leads up to one of the more embarassing moments of teen-hood for me. And being a teenager is a constant humiliation, so for an event to stand out, it has to be rather scarring.
So this one time, I was at the home of these people, the kid was sleeping, I was starving, and couldn't really find anything to eat so I hauled a pot of leftover mac and cheez out of the fridge, stirred in a little milk, and reheated it on the stove. Then I went into the living room, plopped down on the couch to watch the tube and flip through the forbidden Playboys. Then, apparently I went into some sort of coma, because the next thing I knew, the parents were standing there in the living room with me as I awakened, realizing that there were open Playboys and reheated leftovers strewn around me.
I don't remember if they ever had me take care of their kid again. For that child's sake, I certainly hope not.

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