Just about everyone I know has kids. Interestingly enough, almost all of them have kids of very similar ages. I’m pretty sure someone was putting something in the water. I’m eternally the odd-man-out in this regard. I do not have kids. I do not need to have kids. I’ve learned a couple of very great things about children and myself over the several years.
I make an awesome Uncle and should never be a father.
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy children. I have the genetic drive to reproduce. I’ve even harbored thoughts of daddydom. It isn’t even that I think I would be a bad father. I’ve had a pretty damned good role model for one, and I’m surrounded by amazing dads that I could turn to for advice.
No, I probably won’t have any kids because I have no real drive to find a mate.
Fortunately for me, my friends and family trust me to spend time with their own snotlings, and thus, place my mark on the next generation of humans.
BABYSITTING IS EASY
…If you follow three very, very simple rules:
- Never be responsible for the feeding of the baby.
- Have a clearly defined time limit, and stick to that.
- Never try to teach the baby.
A lot of people out there are going, “You forgot about diapers!” I’m sorry, poopaphobes, there is just no way to say, “Yeah, I’ll watch your kid, but I’m not changing diapers.” Babies lack basic poop control. That’s why they wear diapers. There is no telling when that stink-geyser is going to erupt. You’re just going to have to deal with that. Besides, I’ve been interacting with children in a completely non-formal, spur of the moment way for at least 20 years now. That basically makes me an expert on these things, even if I have no training, or education, or kids of my own. I know what I’m talking about.
Say No to Food
Besides, generally speaking if you can manage to follow rules 1, you usually won’t wind up on the Poo-Guard. Of course, some parents get clever and feed the baby right before you benevolently give them a break from their goblin spawn. That pretty much ensures that diaper-duties1 are going to fall to you. If you friends are really big jerks, they’ll even drop the baby off with apple juice in its system.
If you’re not familiar, apple juice is basically the baby equivalent of industrial strength Colon-Blow. Anything lodged in their tiny baby bowels is going to come up like a river smashing through a damn. It’s going to explode out of their diaper and spread all across everything near them. There is no stopping it.
If your friend does this to you, murder them and sell the baby on the black market. It is the only way you’ll afford the ability to move from your apple-juice-poo filled home. I might, allegedly, know a guy… Just sayin’.
Not feeding the babies is more important than just avoiding the inevitable fallout, though. Babies, and by babies I mean anyone under 25, are insanely messy and finicky eaters. If you somehow manage to feed them something that they’ll actually eat (I recommend pizza rolls or chicken nuggets), they’re going to make a giant mess eating it. If they don’t like what you’re cooking, they’re going to make a giant mess not eating it. Actually, even if you don’t feed them, they’re going to make a giant mess.
Kids are messy.
Worse yet, though, is the dreaded fear of killing someone’s kid with wheat glutton, peanut butter, or egg enzymes. Now, I’m pretty careful because I have my own food allergies, but I also think of a PB&J sandwich as a pretty much necessary staple for the chitlins. I always make sure I have peanut butter and bread so I can at least put something in their mouths. Also, peanut butter is hella easy to clean up. It just wipes off most surfaces with the swipe of a dog’s tongue. No fuss. These days, you can’t rely on good ol PB&J anymore. Some kids eat peanut butter and explode. Other kids eat bread and turn into piles of gooey puss. Some kids think about touching egg whites and break out in a scary rash.
Bottom line: The easiest way to not spend all of your time cleaning the house and baby is to not put anything in its mouth.2
I don’t get paid to babysit, and thus, I am only a babysitter when someone says, “Can you watch this monster, I’ve got to go shovel the sidewalk and try to bring back that bear I shot yesterday.” I’d rather watch the kid than carry the bear, so I usually say, “Sure.” This is a mistake. Every kid is different, but every kid also has a proximity threshold This is the amount of time that you can stand being around the kid and vice-versa. For me, kids that like to sit and read or even watch TV quietly have a near infinite proximity threshold. On the other hand, real world kids that like to ask questions, or ninja-kick their sisters have a very, very low breaking point.
This is why when someone asks if I can watch their kid, I should reply with, “For how long?” Once you’ve spent time with a kid, you’ll have a pretty good idea of how long you can stand the little bastard. If the parent wants you to watch for longer than that, seriously consider charging a fee.
Don’t forget that the kid has its own threshold. Sooner or later, that kid will also get tired of being around you. It might even be before you hit your boiling point. When that happens, you’re screwed. The best way to avoid that, I find, is by bribery. Kids respond well to bribes.
Kids Are Smarter or Dumber than You Think, Always
Okay, so, that sounds like I’m a jerk because I either assume that kids are stupid or make kids feel stupid. Maybe I do. The truth is, I have no clue how smart a kid is at any given age. I have a very rough memory of learning something in school in second or fifth grade. That’s what I have to go on. Thus, I can’t assume that a kindergartener that can add double digits is a genius, or that a second grader that doesn’t know calculus is developmentally stunted. I can tell you that I am not cut out to teach elementary school. I’ll leave that to my sister. I have to grounds trying to teach kids anything.
So, instead I berate them for not knowing things.
No, seriously. I have no understanding of kid knowledge, and so, I am always surprised by what they do or do not know. I’m also always surprised by what they want to know. I get asked all kinds of questions by the army of children that came out of my friends. I answer their questions and they go on their way. I don’t try to elaborate anymore. They really don’t have time for that.
So, I don’t teach them anything. I’m just a walking, talking encyclopedia.
Actually, that’s not that much different from how adults treat me most of the time.
Children are incredibly resilient and love to rough house. Now, there is a difference between rough housing with an eight-year-old and a toddler. The eight-year-old will try to tackle you to the ground with his mad Naruto skills, and the toddler just wants you to hang him upside down by the ankles. Seriously, I’ve gotten so many angry looks from mother’s but toddlers love to dangle.
Dangle the Toddler.
They will just keep coming back for more dangling. They love it, especially if you insist that you’re going to eat them.
Now that I think about it, I think most of the kids around me might think I’m an ogre.
Oh well, everyone loves Shrek.