Thursday, October 14, 2010

Babysitting a bully

Babysitting was my first "real" job.  My first chance to earn money from people who were not my parents.  I was very excited when I landed a regular gig babysitting for a family of 3 -- two girls and a boy.  I was 13-years-old, and had just completed my babysitter training class. 

The two girls were dolls.  Exactly what I wanted -- two young girls that I could play Barbies with and teach crafts.  

Image by SweetBaiTsa
Then -- there was the boy.  Sean.   A nine-year-old terror who figured he really didn't need a babysitter.   In all honesty, I didn't really think he needed a babysitter either.  What was I supposed to do with a nine-year-old boy? 

Did I mention he was bigger than me? 

At thirteen, I had yet to hit puberty (one of my many traumas), so I stood 4' 10" and maybe 100 pounds.  Sean was a big-for-his age nine-year-old who liked wrestling and bullying 13-year-old shy girls.  Oops.

Did I mention he thought the occasional body slam was "all in good fun?"

I'd try sending him outside to play, and things would quiet down temporarily.  Then I'd look out into the backyard.  Wait... where did those other kids come from?  I'd head back to find out he had invited over 3 neighbors to play capture the flag, or slip 'n slide ... or something more violent. 

Did I mention that the parents approved of the extra kids hanging around?

When I would tell the parents I did not feel comfortable keeping an eye on the neighbor's kids, they said it was fine!  After all -- it would keep Sean occupied, right?  How did I go from babysitting 2 girls and keeping an eye on their older brother... to refereeing a war in the backyard?

Did I mention I was making $1.50 an hour?

In addition to watching the kids after school, the parents would occasionally ask for some weekend babysitting.  This was nice -- in theory -- because I just had to put the kids to bed, then watch some TV. Right?

Did I mention that the nine-year-old was bigger than me?  Oh, yeah. I did.

Getting this boy to bed was a joke.  I basically gave up.  How does a thirteen-year-old shy girl get a nine-year-old bully boy to bed?  She doesn't.  He wanders the house until he falls asleep.

Did I mention the parents were heavy drinkers?

The finale.  One weekend night, the parents walked in the door after their night out, and they were wasted.  


This drunk father would have to drive me home (I was too young to drive).

At a shy thirteen, I couldn't tell the people that hired me, "Hey, sorry -- I gotta call for a ride.  You are way too drunk to drive me home.  Can I still get paid?"

After that night, my mom and I decided that I didn't have to babysit there ever again.

This post was prompted by Mama Kat's writer's workshop.  I was responding to the prompt, "A memorable babysitting job."

Mama's Losin' It


theworkinghousewife said...

Oh my! I would have felt the same way about baby-sitting a 9 year-old boy.. Esp at 13. I had a hard enough baby-sitting a 3 year old boy at 15, haha.. but for different reasons.. :)
Glad your mom stopped you from baby-sitting after that incident - that would have been scary.

Elle said...

Talk about a nightmare! I'm speechless!

Rachel M. said...

Wow that really sucks! I was paid $1.00 per hour at the same age but I really enjoyed my gig, maybe I should write about that.

Kristen said...

OHHHH if we all shared babysitting stories the world would be SHOCKED! I one babysat for a young couple who seemed old at the time who were potheads -BIGTIME- and they drove me home. I also frequently had to rescue my college roommate from a boy like the one you descibe who tormented her. He was allergic to dairy and would purposley eat cheese as soon as his mom left the house.

Jennifer said...

THIS is why I never did baby sit. I had a sister 8 years younger than myself and I was frequently required to watch her... and she was defiant and mean... I didn't want to take that on the road.

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