Adventures in Babysitting/ You never stop worrying

Deathwish AugieThe day was going well, right up until I had to call poison control.

Now, I’m an anxious babysitter and I blame my kids for this. They turned me from a strong, confident woman to a mass of quivering jelly. But, still, during those long years, the period I refer to as the “40 years in the wilderness”, I clung to one saving mantra.

“They will grow up.” I told myself. “They will move out.” I told myself. “One day,” I told myself, “I will be able to stop worrying.”

Surprisingly, I didn’t remember those 40 years in the wilderness when my husband and I discussed what we would do when we retired.

“I want to be a grandparent.” I declared. “Grandchildren are just way more interesting than golf. Just as long as they don’t call me ‘gramma’, I’ll be ‘Ane’ (A-nay)”


So these days, one day a week I am a counselor at Camp Uncle Josh for my four grandsons (ages four, three, two and one). Uncle Josh is director and entertainment, I am diapers and dishes. This all takes place at Aunt Tracy’s. Aunt Tracy has neat climbing toys, rolling fire-trucks, a good hill, and the world’s largest sand box. It is a good place to babysit.

As the day began, the boys started out fighting over a new kids toy.

“Outside” I proclaimed. “All boys outside.”

Once outside, the boys transform. They co-operate. They move sand from one place to another, turn the hose on and off, and push each other up the hill in those firetrucks.

Even better, we achieved a rare Trifecta. Three of the 4 boys napped at once. The baby was in his crib; DeathWish Augie was in Max’s child-proof bedroom; Max was contently in the parents’ big bed; and Abel was amusing himself with legos. All was well at Camp Uncle Josh.

We cleaned; we sighed; and anticipated respectively, a nap, and a book.

At that moment, Augie cried out from the top of the stairs.

“Oh, well.” I shrugged. “It had been too good to be true.”

But when I went to let Augie downstairs, I noticed something. He was not in Max’s bedroom. And there was a first aid kit lying opened on the bathroom floor.

“Augie.” I squeaked, pointing and trying to keep anxiety out of my voice. “What’s that Augie? Did you put anything in your mouth Augie?”

I called down to Uncle Josh.

“Augie? Augie? Did you eat anything? What have we told you about medicine?” Uncle Josh said sternly, hoping to impress him while I called poison control.

At that point Aunt Tracy arrived home for a 5 minute break. Tracy is an early childhood specialist. She couched down, and calmly asked the toddler if he would mind showing her where he went and what he did.

“Yeah,” she admitted afterwards “I do have mad interrogation skills for the under 3 set.”

Augie, himself, seemed rather pleased with all the attention.

He had told me that he had sprayed himself with a sore throat spray and taste-tested some anti-itch medicine. He pointed out a half-squeezed tube of Crest toothpaste to Uncle Josh.

He was even more forth-coming with Aunt Tracy. His adventures were numerous. At a side-table in the bathroom he pointed to a tube.

“What did you do with that Augie?” Aunt Tracy asked in a quiet, interested tone.

“I put it on my leg.”

Then he described his victories with the toothpaste, throat spray and anti-itch salve. Then, he had explored Aunt Tracy’s bedroom.

“Were you able to take the cap off that bottle?” Tracy asked, looking at her pre-natal vitamins.

“No.” replied Augie, a little sadly.

“What do you do with that?” she inquired, looking at her makeup brush.

“I put it on my face…”

Meanwhile, to my relief, the poison control lady sounded a little bored as she assured me that neither toothpaste or anti-itch medication would do him any harm.

Then I called his father.

“Hmmm.” He said. “Are you sure he ate it? Usually he just likes to squeeze stuff out of tubes…”

And of course, Aunt Tracy did not have anything really dangerous within toddler reach. I really didn’t have anything to worry about.

But that night I woke up at 3 am, and could not get back to sleep. I had dreamt that the baby I was supposed to be watching escaped because I forgot to pay attention.

And then I remembered Augie. Of course! Augie!

It’s true that grandchildren are way more interesting than golf. But I think I might need valium in my life. And prayer. Much more prayer. For me, and and for my grandchildren, and for all the grandchildren in the world.

Like my mother said. “You never stop worrying.”

2 comments to Adventures in Babysitting/ You never stop worrying

  • Julie Shorrock

    I love the adventures of Death Wish Augie!

    And I’m so sorry that ode rive pleasure from your pain!

  • holey moley!! what CREW!! you will have to save these stories to embarrass them when they come visiting with dates! (ha ha ha!!) like the naked baby on the fur rug photos!!

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