Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Babysitter and the Pirate

“Wanna know why I stealed it?
“Because I’m a pirate.”
One person who has made a huge difference in my life- possibly the biggest- is a pirate. Or so he tells everyone. Then again, there are a lot of three year olds who say they’re pirates.
This pirate is named R. R is a boy I have been babysitting since the beginning of my eighth grade year and his presence in my life has made it that much better. I have been through everything with him- from time outs to ice cream to his big boy bed to temper tantrums. I’ve been with him since he was almost two and his sister A since she was four months. Now, R is almost four and A is two and a half.

R pays a lot of attention to the world. Once, he took his toy phone and “called the mayor,” telling him to do a better job of street cleaning. He ranted into the phone for maybe three minutes. That’s a long time for a three year old to talk to nothing. I took a video of it and watch it when I need a laugh. I wonder what his opinion of the teacher strike is. Another time, he “called the Internet company” when I told him my house had been out of Internet for two weeks. He told them “Elizabeth needs her Internet!” and he proceeded to give me the Internet back by handing me an imaginary Internet.
Having R in my life gave me a sense I didn’t have around other people. I had a certain amount of power over him, because I was a caretaker, yet I was also a playmate, therefore a friend. He wanted my opinion on things, he wanted my help with things. One of the memories I have with R that really sticks out in my mind is once I was babysitting until ten at night and I had been putting him to bed and he begged me to stay. “When you leave, I’m going to cry, I’m going to cry so loud so everyone will know I miss you,” he told me.

R is funny, and he knows it. When not all the popcorn kernels are popped, he says, “it makes me angry!” in the silliest voice he can muster. He likes to run a restaurant in his plastic kitchen sometimes, making sure the “health inspector” comes around frequently. Of course, crazy things would happen in the restaurant and rarely would it pass inspection. R has made me laugh probably more than anyone else I know. 
I know a lot of people don’t like working with kids. But honestly, kids are the most healing things you’ll ever come across. Someone going through hard times could definitely benefit from working with kids. They have this unconditional love for a caretaker and they never fail to make you laugh. I know R (and his sister) have brightened my day countless times. It’s incredible to watch a child grow up: getting their big kid beds, starting to drink out a cup, their first haircut. It’s worth it; all the screams and all the smiles you get when you work with kids.

Yeah, I know a pirate. He’s a very sweet, funny, kind, adorable pirate. He’s setting out for buried treasure on his fourth birthday.
Pirates in books are vicious and greedy. R is neither. He may pretend to be a pirate, but he will always be a prince in my heart. I hope that if I ever have kids, I want them to grow up like R. I think it’s always good to have a R in your life. Both the caretaker and the child get so much out of it. People babysit to get paid, but to me, seeing R and his sister was absolutely priceless.

The above was written by our former mother's helper, Bessie, as an English class assignment.  Bessie was the best thing I could have asked for during those evening hours when the kids wanted -- make that needed -- to play, and I desperately needed to focus on dinner.  Helpful is a raging understatement -- while Bessie was in our home, she literally was a literally a second me.

Even though she no longer works with our family, Bessie continues come to my rescue by sending me a gorgeous piece of writing just at the point where I've got a raging case of writer's block -- when everything I write seems to taunt me with its looserishness. 

We were lucky to have her in our home at least weekly for two years.  

We are luckier to still for this treasure.  

Thank you, Bessie.

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