Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Double Duty

It's a testament to the economy that I say what I'm about to:

I am babysitting 14-month-old twins.

A friend of a friend opened a pie shop, and things have kept her and her husband (who's been laid off since last August) very busy. I'd met the twins (fraternal, a boy and girl) before, and when I was approached about babysitting, figured it was good extra money while I job-hunted.

So this week I'm going over for about 6 hours a day, just a couple of blocks from my house. It would be more entertaining if I had horror stories about food in hair and destruction, mayhem and ulcers, but the twins (let's call them Emma and Daniel), are actually remarkably well-behaved and happy babies. They are also extremely intelligent. The only time they get cranky is when they are hungry or tired; any other time, there is virtually no whining or fussiness. Need to leave one baby in a high chair while you take the other upstairs? No problem - you return to a quiet, patiently waiting baby. Seriously, these kids are amazing.

So we spend most of our time in the baby-proofed upstairs, where a baby fence allows me to use my laptop in the office area and keep an eye open.

Yesterday was the first day, and things went well. After awhile I began to get bored, so I put on the TV. I'd like to say that I tuned in to kids' programming, but to be honest, we all watched Divorce Court. (I figure you can't start the cautionary tales early enough.) I did make sure there was no Language, since they are starting to babble.

Today we went out in the stroller, and I experienced firsthand what it's like to be the woman with the double carriage trying to get into the coffee shop for a take-out decaf mocha. The kids? Never made a peep; just sat there, taking everything in. I'd commented to their father that they were lucky to have twins, because they kept each other company. I mentioned previous babysitting horrors, where kids needed your attention all the time; this way, they have a built-in playmate. I don't think he gets how lucky he and his wife are that their kids are so mellow.

Lunch is also funny; they sit in their chairs and split a jar of something savory, then move on to something fruit; Daniel's favorite trick is to grab the spoon in his teeth and laugh at his clever practical joke. Afterward, I wipe their messy faces with a damp cloth, which they find kind of claustrophobic; I've taken to calling it Baby's First Gitmo.

I'm a whiz at diaper changing, can sing Frere Jacques to the musical toy, and give great knee rides, belly raspberries, and foot tickles. Still, I'm glad to not have my own. This is fine for the extra money and the kids love me and they are beyond adorable, but I have to confess it's kind of boring. At least I can surf the web and read while I'm there, although I feel obligated to cut this short so that I can spend time with them rather than ignore them. But even if I do, they content themselves with playing with their toys and cracking each other up. It must be nice to be a twin.


SP said...

You know what you have to do?!? You need to talk to them in Spanish. Or German. Better yet, Cornish.

Maggie M said...

you survived! I am PROUD of you!
Also, it looks like the kids survived without any lasting psychological damage! BRAVO!
However, they MAY have been lulling you into a sense of false security...I will remain riveted for more siaptches from the "front"

JC said...

Well, they are getting Spanish, of course, because of the kids' programming, especially the commercials (Chuck E. Cheese - "donde los ninos pueden ser ninos.") I have brought my Berlitz German book to start working on that (Welches Fenster is breit? Das Blau oder das rot? Welches is schmal?")

they both seem to be coming down with colds. What does this mean? Are they cranky? Nope; they just sleep more. As they are doing right now. (Die Kinder schlarfen.)

SP said...

Ja, so Andrew started with his German in 30 Days yesterday and I think you and he should call each other to talk about what you zu trinken moechten and if you want your Kaffee mit Milch und Zucker. Im Flugzeug! Ja.

JC said...

Ich moechte The mit Milk, aber kein Zucker, bitte. And please don't hit me.

If people think clowns are scary, they should try beverage-wielding Swissair employees. With the hot hand towels!

JC said...

Oh, and Welches Fenster IST schmal? I've been speaking Deutschglish.