I was hired to watch three kids one Saturday while their parents went to the local Oktoberfest. I supervised my kid best friend, named Kid, his younger brother, Little Brother, and the child of a friend of the parents, Tom.
Kid is seven, Little Brother and Tom are both three. During the course of watching these kids, based on the things I said, I realized that I had transitioned into an actual Adult, a real Grown Up.
An example of the Grown Up things I said:
When giving Little Brother and Tom beverages that did not have lids: “Don’t spill this.”
When informed for the 8th time in an hour that Little Brother wanted food, I responded: “You’re not hungry; you’re bored.”
When I found Little Brother in the garage rustling around in the dog food container: “Do not feed the dog food to the birds!” I then had to comfort a crying three-year-old, who was sad I wouldn’t let him feed the birds the dog’s food. Patiently, I explained that the birds have lots of food outside, and what does his dog have to eat? Dog food. That’s right. She can’t eat the seeds on the ground, or all the apples, or worms. All she has is dog food. Do you really want to feed all her food to the birds? Do you want your dog to go hungry? No, you don’t. So we don’t feed dog food to the birds.
About 20 minutes after giving Tom a lidless beverage: “I TOLD you not to spill that.”
When Kid asked me for permission: “No, you may not repaint the jeep.” He tried to convince me that, since I was the adult, it didn’t matter what his parents thought. I was in charge in that moment and should make decisions based on what he was wanting, not what I thought his parents might or might not find reasonable. “I’m not changing my mind. You may NOT repaint the jeep.”
After touching a spot on my jeans: “Why am I sticky?”
While watching Little Brother: “Did you just lick that?! Don’t lick things.”
When Tom handed me a pretzel to eat: “Um, Tom…this is wet. Why is this wet? I don’t think I’m going to eat it.”
When Little Brother touched his crotch for the third time in two minutes: “Are you SURE you don’t have to go potty again?”
When asked for more juice: “You guys each got three refills and now the bar is closed.”
When asked for more juice: “You can have water or milk,” I informed Little Brother. “I want juice!” he responded reasonably. “You can have water or juice,” I repeated.
When watching Little Brother play with his trucks: “Do NOT put that in the dog’s water then lick it!”
When supervising both three-year-olds in the sandbox: “Be gentle when you throw that.”
When supervising Little Brother’s potty time for the fourth time: “Get down from there. That’s not how you go potty.” He’d been sitting on the front of the toilet, lid down, facing the tank.
When Tom sat on me: “Why are you all wet?” His diaper needed changing. While wrangling Tom into a new diaper, Kid and Little Brother began wrestling. Little Brother bonked his head into Kid’s nose, causing Kid to fall to the ground crying. Forced to abandon my attempt to herd the wet pants’d Tom into a new diaper, I attended to a now-bleeding Kid. I got him a tissue, he stopped crying, and then he walked me through the steps of how to change a diaper. At that point, I really only had theoretical knowledge and not much actual practice, and none in the past decade.
As soon as that was done, the parents got home.