I just babysat my friend Annette’s three-year-old for approximately one hour and forty-five minutes before being shoo’d home whilst the kid screamed bloody murder. Why is this, you ask? Aside from my horrendous child-care skills (this horrendousness, by the way–acquired, because I know a certain troika of McCleerys who never EVER EVER screamed bloody murder at me like I was the Boogeywoman), you ask? Well, it could be because of the following oddly-prophetic conversation:
ME: "So, what will happen if he wakes up and you’re not here? Will he flip out?"
ANNETTE: "He won’t wake up. He sleeps like a log."
Cut to approximately one hour and forty-five minutes later and the pitter-patter of little feet upstairs (checking his mother’s room, finding it vacant) and the understandable freakout that followed because WHY DID THIS FREAKY-LOOKING ZOMBIE EAT MY MOTHER? is probably what he was thinking (nb: this kid and I have met and hung out before, but this did NOT matter tonight, I’ll tell you that). But what always worked with McCleerys in this position ("Mommy’s coming RIGHT BACK, I promise–let’s play trucks!") was met with more screaming and clutching onto the staircase as if it would topple, kill the mother-eating zombie, and resurrect the mother a la "Little Red Riding Hood." Poor kid. I mean, seriously–let’s say you’re a three year old kid. The LAST thing you would ever want would be to wake up in the middle of the night to find ME in your living room. That kid is going to be haunted for the rest of his life, and I believe my career as a graduate-school babysitter is over as soon as it began (do you hear me, Eric and Soledad? Your as yet unborn spawn Baby Shaq(ette) will HATE ME so it’s best not even to try).