Hello Sweet Silence

I have always loved kids, and though I don’t have any of my own, there was a time when I really wanted them. Actually, if I recall correctly, I used to wish for a “slew of boys” – that was long before I realized just what I was wishing for.

After babysitting my friend’s five-year old for twelve hours today, I find myself beaten, broken and badly bruised. On the drive home I felt like I had just escaped a “Twilight Zone” episode. It just confirms the wisdom of the Universe. I really don’t know if I would have been the patient, attentive parent I had always thought I would be.

Honestly, I think five-year olds are the answer to the war on terror. If prisoners of war had to spend even six hours with a bubbling, boisterous, energetic, flittering five-year old, they would probably divulge all of their secrets in exchange for freedom – I bet they’d even elect to be put in solitary for life.

Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating – a bit – but think about it. Here’s how I see the first five minutes of intel going:

A five-year old and a terrorist in a room with a two-way mirror, much like they’d have in a police interrogation room.  On the other side of the mirror are various intel officers and psychologists – it’s being recorded.  Hours before, little Jimmy was given several keyword triggers and then he was plied with various sugar-filled foodstuffs, fast food and tons of soda – the hard stuff – no lite, caffeine-free, sugar-free crap for our boy:

“Hi, I’m Jimmy, what’s your name?  Hey mister, what’s a terrorist? What’s a Jihad? Why do you wear a scarf over your face? Is it hot with the scarf on? What language are you speaking – are you from the city? Why is your face getting so red and sweaty? Hey, your ears are red too. Why do you hold your chest like that? We have to put our hands over our hearts when we say the Pledge of Allegiance. Do you know the Pledge of Allegiance? I do – want to hear? Hey, what’s an allegiance anyway? I want ice cream, do you have any money? Why are you holding your head, do you have a headache? My mom gets headaches all the time. We have a dog – do you have a dog? Sometimes when mommy gives me something I don’t like, I feed it to the dog; he eats everything. Did you ever pull a dog’s tail and watch him chase it?  (Giggle) Dogs are silly.  Don’t you have anything you want to talk about? Let’s play a game! Games have rules, but I don’t know what those are. My grandpa said I didn’t need to know what rules are yet. Do you have a grandpa? Mister? Mister? Hey mister, why are you crying? Don’t cry, crying is for sissies – my grandpa told me that too.  But I don’t know, ’cause one I cried and my mom bought me ice cream. Don’t you want ice cream, mister? I do.  I ate a hot dog before but I threw it up.  Did you ever throw up?  Once my dog threw up and when I looked at it, I threw up right on top of it. … Mister?”

Am I not right about this?  In under ten minutes, not even close to the twelve hours I put in today, that guy would be spilling the coordinates for every place of interest on Earth.  He’d sooner sell his soul than subject himself to one more minute with little Jimmy.

Of course there should be mass security surrounding the kid, but as you have just read, I think the little bugger would have that terrorist reduced to tears in no time.  But just in case he decides to lunge at little Jimmy before he purges his intel all over the floor in some fit of verbal vomit, we of course want to keep the kid safe.  But really, I don’t think it’s possible to Jihad and cry at the same time.

Nope – I’m just happy being a friend to friends that have kids, the aunt, the cousin and everything in between, because as much as I think kids are cute and funny and they always tell the truth – some attributes I’d appreciate seeing more in adults – I’m always happy at the end of a day like today to see the parent or parents come walking through the door.

All I really know for sure at this moment, right now, is that I’m just happy to be home – alone. Now, I can laugh about all the fun I had today, although at the time it didn’t seem quite as hilarious. Still, I know I’d do it all again (and probably will).  But for now, “Hello sweet silence.”

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4 thoughts on “Hello Sweet Silence

  1. Good on you for surviving, this makes me laugh as I just got off the phone from my sister who has 3 boys who are 15 (twins) and 10 and it is at times like she lives in a war zone – only they are winding her up and driving her mad!

    The thing is, what happened to you is not really how it would be if you had your own, because you would have the 5 preceding years to fall in love with the little man and by the time he is 5, you’ve been kind of trained to deal with it. Thrusting our kids on friends isn’t to be done lightly.

    I recently asked a friend to watch my children (9 & 10) for 2 hours – she is 64 years old and it was her 1st babysitting experience – wow, then I felt like I was being cruel and insensitive, creating all that anxiety after she had survived all those years avoiding that responsibility. Thankfully it passed without incident, apart from my son joyfully saying to her as soon as we were out the door “Cool, we are free, now we can do what we want.” She handled that one ok 🙂

    • thanks for the kind words. i do have a special place for kids – i appreciate their innocence and honesty – and the first time you realize they’re comfortable with you, you feel honored. I have a deep respect for parents, especially mothers. thanks for sharing your story. and i love your blog, BTW. great writing.

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