Thursday , July 24, 2014 - 12:00 AM
Notes from the Field: (Of a woman whose youngest ‘child’ is nearly 30 years old and who cheerily agreed to house, feed, and protect four young children, ages 1 to 8, for four days so their parents could go on vacation….)
How can one child fill a diaper so full so fast? I just walked back from depositing your last poopy diaper in the garbage can and here you have another one waiting for me. Shouldn’t you be kind of withered and dried up by now?
Speaking of garbage cans and poopy diapers, note to self: Just take them on outside to the trash can. The bathroom is a such a small room for such a large smell.
A dishwasher left open will end up being loaded twice.
A grown woman can survive on kid leftovers, because that’s all she has time to eat.
Hotdogs can be prepared in a surprisingly wide variety of ways.
Practically any food can be finger food.
Guard a napping child. They’re much, much easier to tend when they’re asleep. And so darn cute.
Don’t overestimate my ability to handle any situation. Don’t underestimate their ability to create any situation.
The world’s best toy is water. A small plastic wading pool, a twirling lawn sprinkler, a couple of buckets, loads of sunscreen, a cold drink in my hand and a comfortable lawn chair make a perfect afternoon for everyone — marred only when it’s time to go in and they don’t want to. And I can’t leave them out until they do want to come in because they would starve.
Bathtub water is also a crowd pleaser. Again, until they have to get out.
Slather them in sunscreen all the time. Over and over again. No one should hand over a sunburned baby to a parent.
You can never read too many stories out loud. That’s what they think; that’s what I finally realized.
Not only does a mess take a lot longer to clean up than it did to make, but a child will drag her feet, get distracted, and wonder why this mess needs to be cleaned up at all since she’s planning to pull it out again within the hour. There isn’t a really good answer to that question.
You can have a wall of store-bought toys to play with, but the refrigerator magnets always win. So do wall plugs, sharp objects, stove knobs, curtain cords, and all the other intriguing and dangerous things seen at a 2-year-old’s eye level. The child’s level of interest in something is commensurate with the level of danger it poses.
The dirt in an indoor potted plant is still dirt, meaning it feels, tastes, and scatters around just like outside dirt.
Getting an out-of-reach toy for a kid makes you an automatic hero.
Pay attention. All the time.
Kids generally don’t know when they’re in danger. That’s your job. Their job is to help you do your job of keeping them out of danger by presenting you with frequent opportunities to practice.
A willing, dependable, responsible 8-year-old is worth his weight in gold in this situation.
If bedtime is at 7:00, start working toward it at 6:00.
Kid prayers beat adult prayers. Every time.
I eventually go to bed, but never completely to sleep. Odds are 4 to 1 that someone is going to need something at some time in the night.
A couple of days of this remind me why God doesn’t send infants to older people. It would kill off my generation.
There’s nothing as satisfying as saying goodnight to the last child and then relaxing into to the calm and quiet as they drift off at the end of their busy day.
And now that they’ve gone home, this calm and quiet is driving me crazy.
You can contact D. Louise Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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