“Just give him a bottle” she said. “Just rock him until his eyes close” she said. “Oh, our baby never crys” she said.
Sound familiar? It should if you’ve ever been asked and/or tricked into babysitting. Ahhhh, babysitting…funny thing that word. Okay – it’s not funny at all actually. The word is a straight lie. If you’ve ever had or been around these young souls we call babies, then you know that the one action (or inaction I suppose) rarely bequeathed upon one caring for a child is exactly that – SITTING!
At this point, I’m going to assume that you typically answer no to the question most commonly asked under the breath (or even whispered!). Well I’m here to help but to get the disclaimer out of the way – I’m in no way claiming expert status on the topic of babysitting! Enough with the formalities: I’m about to blow your mind on the topic of caring for stranger’s children….wow. Some things sound quite odd when you read them back to yourself! Creepy description of babysitting aside, let’s do this!
1. Don’t panic. I get it. Really. Babies scream, and cry, and do everything they can with their tiny little bodies to scare the ever loving hell out of you. DO NOT LET THEM. It is a mind game. Deep breaths. Use the process of elimination, or the triple threat as I like to call it – Diaper? Hungry? Tired? Its.that.simple. Cover the basics and nothing else matters! In the end, you’re just a filler until the SWAT Team (aka Madre and Padre) arrive to make you look like a struggling donkey at the Derby.
2. Tips for a screaming baby. I don’t know what our parents did without ipads, but these sweet little morsels of tech are probably the strongest weapon in your arsenal against the angry babies of Mother Earth. Now I’m not saying that you should surf to YouTube and let the kid go to town, but educational apps that stimulate the eyes and ears go a long way!
Don’t have a tablet or smartphone? No worries! It’s all about diversion. My mom always said, “Divert. Divert. Divert.” It works 99% of the time! Playing in a dangerous manner? Gain their attention and present an alternative, preferably something that lights up and/or makes noise! If you’re lucky and patient, you should have a happy baby in no time! This was taken no more than 2 minutes after a world class meltdown:
My saving grace this time? Pooh Bear of course!
3. A little rule breaking isn’t always a bad thing! You’re in the trenches. Shots fired. People dying. Drastic steps sometimes need to be taken. Okay, that was a little overkill but seriously, a little extra sensory stimulation goes a long way in keeping you (and the baby) sane until the holy parental grail returns!
Hopefully I’ve given some semblance of advice and haven’t offended anyone in the process! I do know one thing – these principle guidelines led to my night ending peacefully, with a happy, albeit tired, little rascal on my lap watching his favorite.
Moms, dads, babysitters for hire – I want your comments and feedback! Please, as always, keep it constructive and on topic!