Sunday, September 6, 2009

How Bad Do You Need A Babysitter?




Along with the other big fears I have about kids -- they refuse to lie about your appearance and they are always sticky by an unseen source -- one that ranks right up there is that my influence will somehow damage their little minds. A minor point, perhaps, but still I'd like to aim higher than the moms of the year you see featured on reality television.

Strangely enough, on rare occasion, I actually offer to baby-sit those kids who show amazing promise. My friend Jen's daughter, Abby, for instance, is very creative, perceptive and beautiful, which are the three requisites that must be met to hold my interest when it comes to children. (With these qualities, if someone should mistake a child for mine, were we ever to go in public, I wouldn't be embarrassed.)

The first (and last) time Jen actually took me up on my offer, Abby enjoyed jumping out to scare people and speaking in a "scary voice," which sounded similar to Jacob from Children of the Corn. To let her know I was listening to her and am one of those hard-to-find fun older people, I played along. Next thing I know, she was bending her finger at her mother and saying "Redrum" in the "scary voice." Had I known the effect this would have, I would have taught many other children the same thing, believe me.

While my family and now my friend Jen know I'm not a role model for anyone who still believes in Santa Claus, it wasn't always this way. For one summer when I was 17, I was actually entrusted with the lives of two small children: a boy and a girl, each pre-school aged and each as energetic as a coked-out puppy. I even spent quality time with the kids rather than snoop through the stuff of their parents, but only after learning about the types of pictures some husbands like to take of their wives, no matter how the wives look naked.

Back then, no one (including me) really knew not to leave their kids with me. My sister-in-law, however, got the message that her kids might be better off with the family dog even before my first nephew was born. He's now five, and I haven't been left alone with him yet.

The good news is, I can get away with a lot when there are other people around, and I don't have to feel guilty, because I'm not in charge. How awesome is that?

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