Adventures in Babysitting

I babysat my grandboy last week so his parents could have their first-ever nights away from him since he was born.

I was ready for this event…I’ve been working out, doing yoga, walking, sleeping less, scaring the crap out of myself, testing my reflexes … I wasn’t even close to ready. Following is my three day diary:

Day one:

The kids left today for a much-needed three-day anniversary getaway. They look so young, so excited, so trusting and confident as they leave me in charge of their almost three-year-old.


I feel good, and like a high class au pair since they flew me to their home in South Carolina for the maiden voyage of the SS Operation Eli. I’m a little nervous because they’ve never left him overnight – like, ever – and I will be the one to find out tomorrow how that’s going to work out for him.

Still, I’m confident as I remind myself I successfully survived raising two of my own (or more accurately they survived it), so how hard can it be?

With the naivete’ only an excited grandmother can feel, I waited for them to leave then sprang into action. I am officially Super Ya Ya.

I’ve got this.

Yeah, no I don’t. Not really.

First, he balanced on an exercise ball while standing up, followed by a soccer ball. He lacks the fear gene, and was working his way down to standing on an oiled-up marble. I’m beginning to  suspect he has DNA from the Walinda line, specifically the flying branch of the family. I found out he has a sense of humor because he laughs when I’m scared. Every time, and he laughed a lot.

By evening, he had graduated from balls to his car turned on it’s side, because … no fear gene.

The kid has no respect for gravity – he will climb on anything, and also jump on or off of it, depending on his mood and my proximity.

He is smarter than I am, except for when it comes to the child safety locks – thank God and so far.

Still, I sense I have met my cardio goal for 2018 and I’m only 8 hours into a 48-hour gig. Somehow, I don’t remember feeling this way 30 years ago.

Tonight, I sent many photos from the day’s adventures and a rosy picture of my unending stamina. Secretly, I am terrified that when he doesn’t see his Momma and Daddy in the morning, all this will change.

Day Two:

I wake up to a precious boy smiling at me next to my bed, which is the best thing in the world even if it is 5 a.m. on a Saturday morning. My understanding is that this is what it looks like when he “sleeps in”, so I am sleepily grateful and attach my coffee IV.

(Note to everyone who knows me: it was 4 a.m. in Texas, where we all know I don’t think that  anything before 7 a.m. actually exists).

Most of the day was a blur of true adventure – Cheerios, walks around the lake, him riding me like a horse when I was on my hands and knees searching for puzzle pieces and a game he made up called “I have the remote and you are old and slow.”

Pro-tip: I hid everything that was round and taller than four inches off the ground.

We had drive-in movie time in the living room, trampoline time on anything with bounce –including my stomach – and an impromtu trip to the CVS store around the corner due to a broken phone charger.

CVS was the game-changer.

CVS is where any pride or illusion of competence I had was unceremoniously stripped away.

I remember thinking “how hard can this be?”  as I strapped him into the carseat.

Eli answered that question with a solid, “hide and watch.”

Surveillance videos will show that as I entered the store, I located the phone chargers and naively put Eli down and held his hand as I searched for the right charging cord.

They will also show that he dropped like perfectly-cooked pasta, wrenched his hand loose from mine and ran for the door. And by ran, I mean sprinted; and by door, I mean automatic death trap.

I haven’t run on purpose in about 35 years, but this day I was Flo Jo. I caught him as he caught his first breath of outside air. Any illusion I had that I was a glamorous or classy woman evaporated that today.

If you don’t believe me you can ask the 50 shoppers who were there although they never made eye contact or assisted.

As an added bonus, I had on no makeup; my kinky hair was thrown up in a bun with a groovy head band to keep me from looking like I had been electrocuted.  Also, I was wearing stretch pants, a t-shirt and tennis shoes and I was sweating two minutes into the visit.

Not willing to give up, I gathered him up and made my purchase with the ease of a blind person trying to play Whack-A-Mole.

I got Eli buckled into his car seat, and by then it was like strapping in an octopus. I started the car and checked the charger in my phone. It didn’t fit. There were real tears, and they weren’t Eli’s.

I repeated the scene, only this time we got a cart. I went through the motions of getting a refund, then purchasing one that would actually fit my phone. After I paid and freedom was near, I looked in the cart and my precious boy had loaded the cart with juicy fruit and he was really proud. By now I’m looking homeless and defeated and the cashier looked genuinely amused.

I’ve been around the block enough times to know the boy now smells blood in the water.

Dinner tonight was a battle of him trying to tell me he always gets to eat spaghetti in front of the TV, and me not believing him.

He passed out from all of the excitement shortly after that and I realize I have only 12 or so more hours of being on high alert.

I can’t feel my legs.

Day 3:

I wake up yet again at 5 a.m. to a smiling boy. We have survived, and we celebrate with Cheerios for him and coffee for me. Also, Mickey Mouse Club House and the Hot Dog Song was thrown in for good measure.

All is well….

By the time a very rested Mom and Dad got home at 11 a.m., Eli and I have already had what I used to call a full day.

He is happy. He survived. I survived. His parents are happy.

I’ve got this.

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