A few of you commented that you might miss the drama if all of my families are normal this year. Rest assured, the families are generous with me, appreciative, and I like them . . . most of the time. Allow me to re-frame 'normal' and assure you that there will be plenty of head scratching this year.
I believe I once referred to the absent-since-early-November guy as World's Worst Baby. Well, he turned 2 in October. I will call him William in place of World's Worst, not because he deserves to ditch that label. It's easier to type.
As a baby, he didn't like his formula's taste. He had allergies. I was the only one who could get him to drink it. The dad came here for a lesson.
Me: WELL I DON'T SIT. I SWADDLE HIM AND I SING TO HIM. I DON'T LOOK HIM IN THE EYE. I NEVER LET MY HEELS TOUCH THE GROUND. CONSTANT MOTION. *This is no joke.
The dad is a goof. A few months later he asked me if I had an iPhone. When I said no, he was like OH THAT'S TOO BAD, BECAUSE I SHOW HIM VIDEOS ON MY PHONE IN ORDER TO GET HIM TO EAT.
A) you need to stop doing that
B) my android is a smartphone, moron. It plays videos just as easily as yours. (This man is a device/video game junkie- how did he not know about an android? His older son had two phones that were HIS as a kindergartner. Don't get me started.)
C) William developed a hatred for food, they say this stems from a bad eating experience i.e.: disliking his formula. He'd scream constantly. I got death stares from people last fall when we went to places because it appeared that I was torturing him. I finally told his parents that he was hungry. Um, I was right. But he had to go to therapy to learn how to eat. In case you didn't know, this is a thing.
So this family is still here, and while they are very generous- paying me during the pandemic (when we were locked down and they couldn't bring him) and grateful in recognizing that I've helped William a lot, they aren't mainstream types, in my humble opinion. Not deal-breaking issues, but sometimes irritating:
A) They rarely show up at the designated drop off time OF THEIR CHOOSING, which makes my life a little hard. They are often over 40 minutes late. I hesitate to lay the twins down for naps, because while it doesn't take long, I prefer to be in the kitchen when a kid arrives. Same goes with sitting on the couch feeding a baby a bottle. Should I start the bottle NOW? Or are they going to drop off in 2 minutes and interrupt the bottle in order for me to welcome Mr. Tears?
B) They're almost ALWAYS late to pick up. She's not a teacher, so she picks up later, around 4:30. She asks often if her kid can stay later than he's supposed to stay - like beyond 4:30 or 5. *editing to add, at the risk of lengthening this: she texted me this afternoon - "Can William stay till 5:00 or do you want his dad to come get him?" Like why is that even a question - if the dad could get him on time, why wouldn't you just send him over (they work from home, a 2 min drive from my house) rather than ask me a favor?
C) They can't say no to him. And they wonder why he cries when they drop him off here in the land of WHAT ERNIE SAYS GOES. (this is why Coach often says, YOU'RE THE BEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO THESE KIDS).
EXHIBIT A: This morning, William's mom told me that he had a toy from home in his hand (I don't allow toys from home because I don't want to keep track of them - most families tend to forget this and I honestly haven't done a reminder message in a while). It wasn't just a no-brainer matchbox car but a part of a set he had at home. She said: I COULND'T GET IT AWAY FROM HIM. She wanted me to snatch it as soon as he put it down.
I'm sorry, but . . . WHAT I JUST HEARD YOU SAY IS THAT YOUR 2 YEAR OLD IS STRONGER THAN YOU ARE AND THAT YOU'RE UNABLE TO PRY THAT TRAIN CAR FROM HIS GRIP. I do get the 'pick you battles' thing and that two year olds are tough, but lay. down. the. damn. law. Some parents just make things harder later (steps off soap box and kicks it out of the way).
So last week, William came back after a 2 month break/quarantine. We braced for his arrival, assuming he'd scream and throw a fit. Like all the other kids who cry when they arrive, they are fine in seconds- usually. William can linger with his tears, so I warned my kids who were still on break: DON'T EXPECT TO SLEEP IN.
And then . . . he cried on the driveway, but he stopped when he came inside. Head on Mom's shoulder, acting like he was shy. Tank dragged the toy kitchen set out of storage in the basement in advance so there was something new and exciting in the family room. Diversions: my secret weapon.
Me: (taking him from her) WE MISSED YOU. White lies are acceptable in my line of work, by the way. I put him on the floor in the family room. He instantly ran to his favorite drawer of trains.
He picked up the Little People bus that was already on the floor. His mom said he'd been talking about this bus. Last time we saw him he had very few words.
Slowly I turned. Step by step. I inched my way back to the kitchen. That's when I heard it . . .
YELLOW BUS. YELLOW BUS. YELLOW BUS. YELLOW BUS. YELLOW BUS.
|William playing with the minivan AND the |
YELLOW BUS back in August when words weren't his and sanity was ours.
Is it me, or does this phrase belong on a t-shirt?
I froze. Curly was eating breakfast at the island. Her eyebrows shot up. We were both like OMG! NOOOOO!
Young William must, and I mean MUST, show you the toy he might play with and repeat the name of it 1,000 times until you acknowledge said toy. He sort of did this with colors starting in the fall.
Mini babysits for William and his brother on weekends. These two boys are 100% screen addicts. Once the folks wheeled a big screen TV into the living room. Baby (keyword here) William was getting teeth, they told Mini. He was fussy, so they put his shows on in the family room. So that the older son wouldn't be stuck without HIS shows, they set up the other TV for him. Mind blown.
I assume that the dad 'taught' William his colors by playing the same video over and over again - on his prized iPhone, till he was like a robot, because in the fall he'd hold up a toy and repeat the color in not-so-clear speech but he'd NEVER play with it.
The goof dad came to pick up last week and was like: SO DIFFERENT KID, HUH? HE'S REALLY TALKINKG A LOT.
Me: YEAH, REGGIE WAS LIKE 'HI WILLIAM' AND WILLIAM SAID BACK TO REG 'HI WILLIAM' .
*I so badly wanted to say, YEAH, HE'S CLEARLY GIFTED. GET HIM REGISTERED FOR HARVARD. Followed by: MY KIDS STOPPED CRAPPING IN THEIR PANTS AT 18 MOS. HE'S OVER 2. GIVE THAT TASK SOME ATTENTION.
*full disclosure: not all of my kids had the poop in the potty mastered by 18 mos, but we were working on it and most were done, if not close. They call it TRAINING for a reason.
*I know it's my hang-up, but parents rarely TRY to get a kid potty trained until they're almost flipping 3. WHY??? By that time, they can practically change their own damn diaper. You know when a perfect time to potty train is? During a pandemic when you aren't leaving the house.
A week later, he's still on constant repeat. I know repetition might be a stage, but LAWDY it's the worst. The other 2 year old I sit for is younger than William, and he can respond to a YES/NO question without just repeating it. As in: DO YOU WANT TO READ THE TRAIN BOOK? William repeats it back.
Reg finds the repeating a greeting thing so funny, that he greets William a million times. It never gets old, for Reg. Will the real 2 year old please step forward?
Since this family has been so generous with me, I feel awkward correcting stuff like showing up late at pick up, forgetting to knock on the door (yes, they are falling into this habit too!), bringing their own toys, or not giving me a set drop off time. The mom IS very nice and if it gets super annoying, I guess I'll approach her.
This isn't horrible - no where near Narcey, but the drama DOES exist, maybe more frustration than actual drama. I hope you're happy. (I had another smallish story about another family who I ADORE, but going over my self-imposed word limit . . . more later).
Coming Friday . . . a memory capsule just discovered accidentally, I didn't even know it existed. Half the size of a normal post, perfect for your busy Friday.