Adventures in Babysitting: Part III

“It was a success!” I declared.

“Umm. What exactly do you mean by success?” My husband inquired.

“Well…we’re still alive.”

The adventure had begun on a Sunday night. We’d just returned from a wedding in Florida; a trip that entailed a germy airplane and two 5:00 AM starts. My plan was to collapse for several days after we returned, but my husband had made a previous commitment.

We, and by we I mean my husband, had agreed to babysit our 1 1/2 year old grandson for 4 days so his parents could take a trip to Canada.

I had been dreading it for weeks. In fact, I had been fairly vocal about it.

“Your father…” I said ominously to my children. “Never met a germ he did not embrace! Two airplane trips prior to a 4-day babysitting marathon will not end well. Mark my words.”

But no one ever listens to me.

I sensed a perfect storm.

You see a week prior to our, I mean my husband’s, ill-conceived 4-day commitment; Abel had learned a new trick. He’d learned how to climb out of his crib. But my husband was not worried.

“It will be fine.” He assured me. “He won’t be able to climb out of the pack and play. We probably have at least a week or two.”

I shook my head. Mark my words, I thought to myself. This will not end well. And I was right.

“Umm.” My husband commented sheepishly. “I put him up for his nap and he was fussy. I turned the intercom on and came down to clean the kitchen. He cried for a minute but then quieted down. Two minutes later, I turned around and there he was downstairs in the dining room. He had climbed out of the pack and play, and come down the stairs. I must say, he did look extremely pleased with himself…”

Mark my words, I thought silently.

Sunday evening after we returned from Florida, Abel was, as always, very happy to see Grampa. He is actually a rather pleasant young man. His favorite word is “Yup!” and he loves to do errands. In fact, we spent a lot of the last 4 days asking him to do errands.

“Bring the coffee to Grampa!”

“Thank-you, now bring it back to Gramma!”

“Good boy, now bring it to Grampa.”

Abel has also learned my grandmother name -‘Ané’. He’s proud of this and walks around saying “Ané. This was the beginning of the perfect storm.

“See…he wants you.” My husband insisted.

“No. he’s like a cat. He can sense when someone is terrified, and stalks them, pretending to purr and be friendly….”

“Abel! Give Ané a hug and a kiss…”


Now, although he was pleasant during the day, he changed at night. He had a drippy nose. The first night he woke again and again when he coughed. Granpa got up. Grampa rubbed his back. Grampa talked to him. Grampa sang to him. Grampa took him into another room to sleep with him. At four AM, Grampa finally got up with him while Ané tried to sleep.

At 6 am, Grampa and the ‘young terror’ came upstairs and climbed in bed.

“He kept asking for Ané…” my husband yawned sleepily. “Give Ané a hug and kiss…”


The young terror had come to us with a miserable cold. While I spent the day with my daughter (another story) Abel spent most of the next day in Grampa’s arms.

The next day Grampa developed a miserable cold. Airplane trips, no sleep and germs are not a good combination.

I knew this would not end well.

The day after, I came down with this miserable cold. This was clearly the perfect storm.

I’m not sure that the young parents recognized our house when they returned. Or perhaps it looked eerily familiar. There were toys all over. Tupperware, spoons and turkey bashers could be found in random places. Dirty dishes were piled in the sink, and on the counter. The lawn had not been mowed. Varieties of odd un-child-friendly objects were piled randomly on every high surface.

They may not have noticed at all they were so chipper. They spent quite some time talking animatedly about all their meals, the museums, the sights, and the Cirque du Soleil. The young terror was also quite happy. He’d actually been generally pleasant throughout the week. He’d gotten over his cold within a day and generally slept though the night…although he continued to have a disconcerting habit of waking at 4 AM. But now, sitting in his mother’s lap, Abel was obviously very happy.

“Mama! Daddie! Yup!” he babbled.

He gave hugs and kisses to Grampa and Ané, and said another new word…”See ya.”

Grampa, with a straight face, assured the new parents that Abel had been just wonderful, and that we would be delighted to babysit any time.

Then as waved goodbye, closed the door and collapsed on the couch, planning not to move for the next several days, I said to my husband,

“See, I knew it would be a success.”

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