Weekend Special – Adventures in babysitting – Part 3 – The Fights and the neighbor lady

JSK58765_FA85_083013sJust look at them… Sweet as can be, Right? (say yes 😉 ).. Those of you who read my random posts over the summer saw me do a lot of complaining about these two, usually accompanied with phrases like Kill Me Now.. Those moments usually came as these two, ahem.. angels, were in the midst of their latest scuffle over who had what and which one had the most. I’m not going to lie, I remember having similar arguments with my sister. To be on the listening end of it though, I feel I owe my mother an apology. Dad never put up with it. You see, the arguing typically started, on the days when they were determined to make my life a living hell, the second they would walk through the door.

One of the first things I told their father when I agreed to do this, was not to bring them hungry.. I guess I forgot what it was like being a kid and being told to get out of bed and do something. It was always a production and I guess these two are no different. Each morning, 5 days a week, they would come into my now trashed house. One of the first phrases out of their mouths was always, “I’m hungry”.. My question response was always (and still is), “what do you want me to do about it?”. Of course I knew what they wanted but what good is it to be an uncle if you can’t tease the kids a little bit. Besides, I don’t eat breakfast and haven’t in years. Occasional restaurant visits aside, it gives me heartburn for the rest of the day. Since I moved from my parent’s house, now nearly 30 years ago, I have bought perhaps 4 or 5 dozen eggs total and zero boxes of cereal. I don’t bake either and wouldn’t even know where to begin…

A little off track, visits to the store to get food always came with the requirement that I wasn’t going to buy something I won’t eat myself. That rules a lot of things out. The reason is simply that I don’t want to be stuck with the stuff and I hate wasting food. Their father would occasionally bring stuff if he remembered to do it or had time but the typical fare around here was sandwiches. It is something they could fix for themselves and it usually would stop their bellies from rumbling. I came to learn that the only thing I would buy that they would eat, was Salami… They didn’t like the $8 per pound (on sale) London Broil roast beef that I would buy and she, hated, my Hananaro ham (too hot).. I also learned, to buy them their own stuff to make the sandwiches with because both have an aversion to washing their hands with soap. Yes, even after doing their ‘jobs’ in the back yard. So they had their own packages of lunch meat, their own bread, and their own condiments. All should be good, right? Wrong.. I mentioned previously that if they don’t have the Exact same thing, there was going to be a fight. It became his job to make the sandwiches  for the two of them. The reason being, she emptied an entire bottle of mustard, drawing happy faces on her sandwich. Then she wouldn’t eat it.

Remember, everything had to be equal.. One day I could not believe my ears… She was complaining that he had more mayonnaise on his sandwich than she did. How she came to that conclusion is beyond me but this was an hour long argument. I know it was never about the amount but about her asserting herself  and being heard. If not the mayo, it would have been something else. One day we walked to the local pizza place down the street for some ‘slices’. I got him 2 slices, her 1 slice. I knew that’s all she would eat. Well, she didn’t eat any because she was mad he had 2 and she only had 1. Guess who got her slice? She left it there on the coffee table on the plate, and Melvin got pizza that day.

For the most part I blocked them out and came back here to my oasis on my computer to chat with you fine people. Something about debating housewives was far more appealing to me than listening to them argue about who had what. Especially when it came to His iPod. I don’t know what version it is, don’t care, but it’s his. Most times he will share it, I suspect he has been told to, but when he doesn’t want to (as is his right), she will snatch it from him and the argument is on. Typically I would just let them go until one starts screaming (her) that the other one hit her (even though she usually swung first).. That is, until the weapons come out. That Mayo fight, ended with him stabbing her in the knee with a screwdriver. My fault.. I left it there on the table.. He didn’t get a good land, she wasn’t ‘hurt’ beyond a tear in her pants but, that’s when the belt came out. No I didn’t hit them with it, only promised to. Seemed to have worked and I suspect, they’ve felt the sting of a belt before because, whenever it came out, they straightened up quick fast and in a hurry. Neither ever laughed at the other because of it either because I promised not to pay any attention to which behind got lit up if I started swinging.

I don’t want you all thinking I believe her to be some devil child, they each give as good as they get. He is nearly 3 years older than she is and her entire existence when they are together is keeping up with her big brother. Having the same as he does, and doing the same things. Remember I have a younger sister and I did feel the need to apologize to my mother.

When their arguments would come to blows, it was always mutual.. My solution would be to separate them and tell them to stay away from one another… That would last all of 38 seconds and they would be back at it. Boredom I guess… He would stick his feet in her face, she would stick her butt in his. Then they would sit on each other and again it would begin. Ah, sibling love. I remember it well..

Relief, for me, came when they discovered there were other kids in the neighborhood. More than I ever knew there were and I have been here 18 years. When I was their age, kids were always outside playing, riding bikes, and just generally making sure that no adult had a peaceful day. You know, being kids.

Real relief came for me when one day we were returning from the store and the neighbor was just arriving with her kids. They are 6 and 4, once again, my two are 10 and 7. I’ve known these kids all their lives and known their parents for 15 years. I never see them away from their house or yard unless the mom knows exactly what’s going on. This woman has the patience of a saint and can shut my two up with a look. I don’t know how she does it. Before I knew it, Uncle Jeff was persona non grata as when the kids would arrive, it wasn’t my door they wanted to run to, it was hers. Natural I guess, she has kids to play with. That is the only other house in the neighborhood that my charges were ever allowed to go in to.. The routine became, they could go see what was going on and if she wasn’t busy with something they could stay. That was usually good for half a day. She would even feed them. Yay! I always kind of felt I should offer her the babysitting money but I knew she would refuse. She was probably just as happy having someone for her kids to play with as I was to have them for mine. Besides, I didn’t want to insult her with half of my $20 for the day. There was only one requirement of them and that was they didn’t give her any trouble or fight while at her house. Most days I got a fashion show of Halloween costumes and dance class outfits. I would show you but I don’t have permission to show the neighbor kids online. I have to say though it was rather comical watching my 10yo nephew squeeze himself into a 4yo’s Spiderman costume. With my niece it was always princess outfits.

There were other houses in the area as well. Usually found while chasing the ice cream truck down the street. I always made it a point to meet and get the phone number of the adult in charge but I know that isn’t always enough.. One day my niece came home from one dressed in someone else’s bathing suit and announced she was going swimming. While I am glad she told me before she did it (I suspect the mom made her do it), there were several things wrong with this picture. First, she was in a house she wasn’t supposed to be in. Second, she got nekkid and changed her clothes in said house. Let’s just say her father wasn’t pleased with this prospect. Forget about My rules, they had broken His rules. While I have known them all their lives, even the neighbor kids are not allowed in my house without their parents knowledge. They can come play in the yard whenever they want or even sit on the porch but Never in the house. There are just too many people with sick minds and I don’t care to deal with what they may say. I don’t care to fight with them in an attempt to make them mind their own business.

The neighbor’s participation in my adventure ended when she had to take her kids out of state to visit relatives before school started. Before leaving, she took them on a date of sorts, to get ice cream and go to a movie. This was all done with dad’s permission and it was so the 4 kids could see each other one last time before school started. I doubt I would ever volunteer to watch her kids, it just isn’t my thing, but I owe her the world for saving my sanity. I will give her a nice thank you gift come Christmas in a card for her and her kids.

About MelTheHound

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6 Responses to Weekend Special – Adventures in babysitting – Part 3 – The Fights and the neighbor lady

  1. Kaereste says:

    Our kids stll fight like your nephew and neice and they are 15 yrs older! Reminded me of all those terrific arguments over the bathroom or how much spaghetti sauce was on their pasta or the size of their meatballs … lovely.
    I’ll bet they never forget this summer – in a good way.

  2. Just Wondering In Jersey says:

    Better you than me Mel. I’ll stick to cats 🙂

  3. Joan says:

    MTH – when my nephews were young, they were well-behaved but would fight with each other sometimes. I would use the “three strikes” process – first time, I would tell them what they were doing that was not acceptable. Obviously, they already knew in most cases, but couldn’t hurt to be clear about it, and it also served to start the count-down. I would tell them if they didn’t stop, the activity that was going on prior to the fight would stop. I would tell them that they would get only one more warning. If they then resumed, warning two. No explanation of what the unacceptable behavior was. And If they started again, BAM. Video out. TV off. Game over. Once we were at an amusement park. BAM. In the car. Went home. Needless to say, I rarely had to go beyond the second warning once they knew I meant business. Their mother used to freak out – why were they always so well-behaved after a day with me?

    • melthehound says:

      I found bargaining with these two to be a pointless exercise so it was right to the third strike (the couple times needed to go there).

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