I Don't Think You Get It
As a teenager I would babysit for my neighbors kids. Usually I'd have at least 1-2 jobs a week for a few hours at a time. When I look back on that job I realize that I totally thought of it as a way to make money and not a way to teach and nurture children. I used to turn on the tv and plop the kids in front of it even though they would beg me to play with them.
I didn't want to PLAY with them - I wanted to eat popsicles and watch tv. Many parents requested that they only get 1/2 hour of tv time maximum. I of course would turn it on the minute they left the driveway. I would also talk on the phone to my friends while I was there. As most people know teenage girls need telephones surgically removed from their ears.
Fast forward to now - and I feel really guilty about the way I used to take care of children. I was never mean, never punished them really, always cared for them and changed their diapers. Let me explain the guilt by using my friend Jennifer.
Jen had me over last weekend to hang out and have a few glasses of wine while we played with her kids. I asked her if they ever watched TV she said they wouldn't even know what it was. They think its a method to listen to music and dance - since she has those music channels by genre. She said they play with toys and read all day long and that's how she likes it. I totally agreed with her. I agree that if you take the whole TV element out of the equation at least when they are really little their brains have room to expand.
So she asked me if I could babysit this weekend and I got all excited knowing that we would sing songs, dance, play games, and read. That's when this memory hit me of how I despised that as a teen. Maybe it's because now I can imagine them being my own kids and I know that I'd want mine to be interacted with.
I made sure to let Jen know that I really know nothing about children. Sure I've changed my fair share of diapers and fed them cheerios. I've even snuggled with them and played games. I just haven't done that stuff in YEARS. It's as if you go into some sort of time warp in college where you don't see anyone under 18 for 5 years.
When she asked me to do it I responded with this email:
"Sure you trust me with your kids? I only pretend to know how to take care of them... really I know nothing. All I know is how to sing."
To which she responded:
"They love to sing. What more do you need to know?"
So now I'm totally freaked. I dont' remember how to do this? I imagine it's how most first time mothers feel when they take the baby home from the hospital....except that would worse of course. I'll be sure to update about my adventure so you can all tell me everything I did wrong.