Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Impressing the New Babysitter

One day last week we found ourselves in need of a babysitter.  MP has babysat (sat on our babies?) before, but only with the older two, so she was understandably a little apprehensive about keeping the baby too.  Her mama and I decided it would be a good idea if they came over to visit one evening so that she could spend a little time with Small.  Honestly, I wasn’t worried because he’s such an easy baby and my theory on babysitters has always been that, in the grand scheme o’ things, as long as the kids are safe and alive when we get home, it’s been a good night.  Pretty low standards.  Just use some common sense, and it’ll all be okay.  Turns out, I shouldn’t have been worrying about MP as much as she should have been worrying about the dynamic duo made up of Large and Medium.

Where's the Warning Label
on these things?
We made arrangements for MP and her mama to come over one evening before bed time, and I figured I’d let MP give Small his bottle and snuggle with him for a while so that they could get to know one another.  Meanwhile, the older boys were sitting at the table finishing up their homework and then working on thoughtful, hand-made holiday gifts for their teachers.  MP and her mama would be doubly impressed with my well-behaved children and their propensity for giving unto others.  This is a nice family from our church, after all, and I want to perpetuate that MYTH that we are a charming, well-mannered brood of little southern gentlemen.

But then I decided to let them work with beads.

While MP and her mama sat on the couch oohing and aahing over my sweet little angel baby, Large and Medium were mere feet away, silently plotting the demise of THE MYTH.  

They have been working on making lanyards for their teachers’ ID badges.  Medium is my little artiste, so we had gone to the craft store and picked out all the necessary supplies.  I had envisioned complementary colors of the spectrum, but Medium chose bags of black & white, greens & blues, rainbow, and iridescent clear.  Not what I would have chosen, but the gifts are from the kids, so I took a deep breath and purchased the beads that would soon become a glaring eyesore of mismatched colors hanging from his teacher’s neck. 

I carefully opened each bag’s contents onto paper plates so that the boys could choose their colors easily and the beads would stay neatly confined on the kitchen table. 

Hello, my name is Medium.
It’s obvious where I’m going with this, right?  I’ve told enough stories about my Medium that you are now picturing the Tazmanian Devil dressed in a Peyton Manning jersey winding up in my kitchen.  And he’s fast.  In fact, last Sunday at church, in the time it took to sing ONE hymn, he had colored with blue crayon on the pew, the back of the pew in front of us, and the floor in our gorgeous, 200-year-old, historical place o’ worship.  (I scrubbed with a baby wipe while giving Medium the stink-eye and silently hoping that the baby Jesus would be so busy listening to everyone else’s prayers that He wouldn’t be able to hear my less-than-Christian thoughts.) 

Lo and behold, he knocked over one of the paper plates of beads.  Beads.  Everywhere. 

Tiny black and white beads jumped across my hardwood floors for what seemed like 10 minutes, and there was Medium, wide-eyed and sad-faced: “sorry.”  

In the interest of having him take responsibility for his actions, I instructed him to get out the mini-broom and the dust pan while MP’s mama looked nervously from MP to me to the kitchen to MP to the kitchen to me, and repeat, trying to decide where her services could best be offered.  Every time Medium and I tried to sweep beads into the dustpan, however, approximately three beads would make it into the dustpan and 20 would begin another jumping journey across the floor. 

Cue MP and her mama: “oh my, look at the time!”  They offered to help, but I think they sensed the quiet before the storm and recognized that they wouldn’t want to have to testify against me at my trial, so it was really just best to make a gracious exit. 

Finally I broke out the vacuum cleaner and reveled in the sound of the beads (**now sold in packs of 500!**) being sucked into the bag.  Medium “helped” by sweeping wayward beads out of every corner and crevice of the kitchen. 

So if you’re wondering about the contents of our vacuum cleaner bag, they are as follows:
  • ornament hooks that I was too lazy to bend over to retrieve and so I vacuumed instead.
  • That powdery stuff that is supposed to take the odor out of your carpet when the dog pees on it, (even though he JUST WENT OUT!) but really doesn’t work and is sold to Type-A consumers who are suckers for marketing which promises a clean, non-urine-stained area on which your baby can crawl.
  • Black and white beads that are no longer destined to be a part of the sassy lanyard Medium is making by hand.  For his teacher.  Out of beads.

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Be nice, kids.