We’ve all heard the jokes about babysitting being the best form of birth control. Well I am not sure I would go that far, I still think Birkenstocks are, it is definitely a test. A test of patience, endurance and a test for your desire to be a parent.
For many parents, there wasn’t a lot of thought before they had kids. It was the natural next step. I’d be the first to argue that while my friends in their late 30s and early 40s may have had a more difficult time starting families, they are probably better prepared than many who are younger. Unfortunately, they’ve had more time to see what is coming. The younger you are the less time you have had babysitting nieces and nephews and really learning first hand how truly challenging being a parent is.
People who adopt are forced to think about these issues. We are required to fill out pages of paperwork on how you will raise a child, your child care plan, etc… Every time I take care of my niece and nephew I can’t help but think how am I going to manage?
I spent this past weekend with Skyler, my niece, and Laighton, my nephew, in NYC. I showed up with the American Girl doll in tow hoping that would make me the favorite Auntie. And despite the fact that I am very aware that at 2 your ma and daddy are really the only people who matter in life, I was still hoping for that big bear hug.
This was the true test…
5:30 a.m. – Laighton wakes up crying. I hear him but am not sure if my sister does because she is not getting up. I know she is really working hard to get him to sleep through the night, so does this mean I am not suppose to get up and go to him now that I am awake? I am so afraid he will wake Skyler who sleeps in the same room.
5:45 a.m. – I continue to hear him cry and am getting increasingly anxious so I determine that going to get him far outweighs my sister getting pissed that I didn’t let him cry a bit longer.
6 a.m. – I’ve changed two diapers and am now watching Barnie. You gotta love Barnie at 6 a.m. “I love you, You love me”…
7 a.m. – I attempt to check emails and get some work in. Skyler is hitting the keys on my computer and erasing documents that I haven’t saved. How am I going to do this?
7:30 a.m.- My sister and I are getting ready to go work out. Kristin pulls her hair back in a pony tail and my niece walks over to her, looks up and says “mommy, no pony.” Apparently she doesn’t like pony tails. Although she could care less that my hair is in a pony tail.
8 a.m. – The babysitter comes..yay! I am already exhausted and can’t imagine running at this point, but my sister and I go to the gym, come back an hour later to an amazingly quiet household with two smiling kids. Not sure how the sitter manages to do this.
10 a.m. – My sister scheduled the sitter until 5 p.m.! We are going shopping. We spot these hot..really hot shoes at Gucci. Strappy nude leather, with snake skin 3 inch heels. I want them, but my sister really wants them… We spend a couple of minutes reminiscing about the days of all night salsa dancing. I tell her she should get them. She can’t imagine when she’d wear them now that she has two kids.
The entire day – I really miss those little guys… all day.
6:30 a.m. Wake up to Sky and Laighton mumbling to each other in the bedroom. It is so adorable to hear them talk baby talk in their separate cribs.
10 a.m. It is just pouring outside. So, my promise to take Sky to the park isn’t going to happen. After a very messy breakfast, we put our rain boots on and get out the umbrellas and make our way over to the indoor playground better known as the World Financial Center. It is where the trendy Tribeca families hang when the weather is miserable.
11 a.m. We stop in Banana Republic. I attempt to try on a pair of pants, but Sky jets out of the dressing room so I throw on my jeans and make my way to find her. We leave and go and get her favorite “Pink” (strawberry) ice cream. She has bounds of energy running back and forth down the corridor of the WFC. All I can think about is that I need to tell my trainer to step up the workouts.
3 p.m. I remind my sister and brother-in-law that they should take advantage of me and go see a movie. Instead they decide to go to Cosco…Is that considered a “date” now? Both kids are awake, I put Laighton down on his play pad, look away for one minute to then find Sky playing Sumo Wrestling with her helpless 7 month old brother. This brings back memories of my brother and me. I feel like telling her one day he will be stronger and bigger!
The next minute she is kissing him and putting his pacy in his mouth. She is the big sister. We do share that.
7 p.m.- Kristin and I are meeting our sister Karin for a girls night out. Sky is running around naked. Did I mention she isn’t potty trained? Jeff seems calm and tells us to have a great time.
7:15 p.m. -we take a deep breath now that we are in a cab. Less than a minute later, Kristin’s phone rings. Jeff? Yes. Turns out that Sky peed all over the sofa. Yes, this is the same sofa I sleep on.
2 a.m. My sisters and I got home really late and decided chips and salsa could be the best preventative care to a hangover and taking care of crying kids.
7 a.m. – UGH!
11 a.m. I get ready to go to the airport. I give Laight a kiss good bye and ask Sky to walk me to the elevator. She asks if she can help me get a cab and then gives me a big hug.
11:15 a.m. I am completely exhausted in a cab on my way to La Guardia. I can’t help think that despite the 6 a.m. wakings, the fact there is literally no time for yourself, it is still worth it…those big hugs or whispered “I love you”, my nephew’s big belly laugh, those funny things they say and those really special moments like when Sky says to my sister “ma you’re my best friend”.
It would be an understatement to say that my sister has a difficult job. It is one of those jobs that you can’t really think through the pros and the cons…you just have to know deep inside that you want to do it. I decided long ago that it was a job I’d sign up for.
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