Girlfriend S. sometimes babysits for a small, select group of clients. After being a nanny in a former career and having grown up in a HUGE family with lots of small cousins floating around, she's very good with kids. Somehow word of this ability has gotten around, and urban professionals like to have her over to watch their children while they go to the Symphony, take Spanish classes, attend home owner's association meetings, or whatever. They pay her well, too.
I sometimes go along on these babysitting expeditions. I look at it as practice for having kids one day. I didn't have the benefit of having a large family with lots of small children surrounding me while I was growing up. So, I want to get reacquainted with what small kids are like and reduce any anxieties I might have about eventual procreation.
Saturday night was one of these Adventures in Babysitting. We were looking after L. (age 3 years) and her sister A. (age 6 months.) The plan was to meet with L. and A.'s parents and then take the two daughters out to a local, kiddie friendly burger joint for burgers and curly french fries. (I ain't calling them "freedom fries", ever!) Once at the burger joint, we would hook up with S.'s Dad, Step-mom, Step-sister, and Step-nephew. We would then go out for ice cream.
L. is going to be a terror once she turns 13. At 3 years, she's already figured out that flirting with the men around her can get her more than throwing a fit. She also is cultivating some interesting tastes. L. and A.'s parents gave us the use of their BMW for our travels for the evening (because of the child seat in the back). When I happened to comment that "it was great to be riding in such a spiffy car" (yes, I use the word spiffy occasionally...), L.'s immediately responded:
"Oh, it's not a spiffy car. It's just a W."
After that, the evening turned out to have its ups and downs. Everyone's food was good, but, A. was VERY fussy and cranky and cried (loudly) most of the time while we ate our burgers. A.'s behavior ended any hope of getting ice cream for S. and myself, and so the four of us had to call it an early night.
Me, I got stuck down at the other end of the table from S. (who was looking after A.) at the burger joint to keep an eye on L. She was well-behaved most of the time, but not much for great conversation. I was also seated next to S.'s Dad and, while he and I get along, he's also not one for great conversation. Completing our little group was S.'s Step-nephew G., who has some speech problems and doesn't talk much at all.
All I can say is that I now have some inkling what it must be like to be a schoolteacher surrounded by kids all day and yearning for some adult conversation. Fortunately, L. and A. are still small and we had them both in bed by 8:30pm. After that at least, we could finally talk and compare notes.
The next day, S. gave me a card that had the following printed on it:
If you had ketchup packets in your glove box, I'd have french fries on my floorboard. If you had an "I'm with Stupid" t-shirt, I'd have a pro wrestling hat. If you shouted "Yatzee" at climax, I'd shout "Bingo." If you produced a television show called "America's Funniest Animal Attacks," I'd get mauled by a panda. What I'm trying to get at here is that somehow, someway, you and I just seem to be made for each other.
I love this card because it just says a lot about the quirky, loving, wonderful I've-found-you-after-looking-for-so-long quality of our relationship.
on 2003-04-08 at 4:28 p.m.
The Wayback Machine - To Infinity And Beyond