I have learnt a few things about kids over the past few weeks of baby-sitting. One of the main observations that remains fixed in my head is that kids get sticky or dirty very quickly and an ungodly amount of time is spent wiping noses, mouths, fingers and also changing underwear and shorts after ‘accidents’. My two and a half year year old Mr. Boo, who doesn’t wear diapers, even pooped in his pants once and then looked at me waiting to see what I would do. I was pretty much horrified at my nightmare coming true and kept on telling him (very nicely) how exasperated I was and how I could not believe I was changing him. He understood enough to stand still and let me change him without his usual giggling and squirming. When it was over he let out a giggle going all silly again but I insisted that this just wasn’t funny. But you see Mr. Boo is unbelievably cute and I lessened the gravity of his act by washing my hands and giving him a big kiss in the end.
Overcome by his cuteness sometimes, I would try to look him into the eye and tell him that I loved him and that he was the cutest. To which he would firmly reply, “No!”. He wouldn’t bother making eye contact with me as he would be far too preoccupied playing with a toy car. Such a heartbreaker. Admissions of love, along with hugs and kisses, would only come if he managed to physically hurt me somehow or if I expressly told him that I was sad.
With the two kids, I practised all the French imperatives. I could feel myself employing the use of the subjontif I had been teaching my students. In ne faut pas, il faut que, je veux que, tu n’as pas le droit, on doit, on ne doit pas. I also sharpened my negotiating skills, (a lollipop if you please please put on pants to play outside) and my use of the time-out (it worked brilliantly and I only needed to use it once). Reaching close to bursting point also got the job done as the kids probably sensed my limit and started behaving just before the dam burst.
I have also realised that kids are exhausting and also boring at times. I guess if they are not my own and if I’m not their teacher with a day all planned out and goals to achieve, it can get boring to spend 10 hour days with kids. At least I know that working with small children is not my cup of tea. I do know that is easy enough to spend 10 minutes with little kids talking and playing; spending full days with them is another.
Which brings me to realisation number three. I am nowhere near ready to have kids. Right now, I can happily put it off another 10 years. I guess now I understand what people mean when they say they have other things they want to do first, that they are too busy or that they don’t see babies in their lives. I am well aware that I may eat my words sooner than I realise. I have frequently changed my views on when I would want to get married, how I would want to raise my kids and when and if to have kids. At least now I know to wait until I actually feel like bringing babies into my life. Until then, I’ll make do with my chubby-cheeked, green-eyed, sentence-twisting, pant-wetting Mr. Boo.