A couple weeks ago I realized that a friend I rarely see these days was posting a lot about not having time to finish her work projects and that her son was really lonely. I made a few small overatures of “Hey, send that kid my way” by text message, but heard nothing back. Then a couple days ago we ran into her son at the bagel place and he attacked hugged my son and dragged him all over the place clinging to him. His mom wasn’t with him, but his grandmother relayed the story and later I got a FB message asking if I was at all interested in babysitting. So yesterday I took my big kids to school & headed over to her house to see about making arrangements.
It boiled down to me taking her son about four hours a day, twice a week, on our non-MDO days. He and my son get along famously, so it’s not much more than a couple overly-long playdates a week. In exchange I get nifty art for my wall and art lessons for my boys once the holidays are over. I think it’s an awesome trade, so I said yes.
As we were talking, I realized that she wasn’t looking at me. I thought she was just doodling, but she was, in fact, trying to work and visit all at once. So I scooped up the boys and went home. We played for a couple hours and had lunch and the spare boy (A.) was about to be picked up when I got a call from another friend. She was having a terrible day and needed somewhere to park her eldest while the younger two slept and she got something done. Since the morning had gone so well (I got my kitchen 100% clean while the kids had argument-free playtime), I said “sure.”
So the two moms show up in my driveway at the same time (which wasn’t part of the plan). The spare boy was devastated to have to go home now that there was a new kid to play with. He didn’t tantrum, he just quietly balled up and cried, so I caved and kept both kids for the afternoon. Play with three kids was different than with two. Greg and K. would have played house and grocery store and restaurant. With A. there, they had weird competitions and poured water all over the construction kit. It was…not optimal. K. came inside for “alone time” for a while and I built her a curtain for the reading nook (an adult can see straight in from above, but kid sized people cannot – perfect). The boys were sad that they’d made her need alone time and made rules for further play, such as “no competitions, no slamming doors, K. gets alone time because she’s a girl, and no water in the bedroom because we’ll put it places it doesn’t belong.” Greg picked flowers from the backyard and gave them to her. Things went well after that. 🙂 I got a couple loads of laundry done before snacktime and then we got everyone off to their own houses.
Of course the day didn’t end there. After that I had to take all of my kids to the store to buy supplies for the box car derby. Then come home and make dinner (it was my night). Then drive kids to/from scouts. And then after all that, time to work on PTA stuff.
What a day. It was exhausting. The sad thing is, other than having two extra (and super nice) kids, it wasn’t that different from a regular day.