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Friday, August 1, 2008

Adventures in Babysitting Day 1--The Cries Heard Around the World  

After 12 hours of traveling and a delay in getting from the Philadelphia Airport to Lancaster County, the kids and I arrived at Ryan and Emily's home in Leola--right in the middle of beautiful Amish Country. A day and a half later, they left for the Ukraine and I started my adventures in babysitting. Even though the name is already taken, I can't think of a better title for the daily log I have decided to write while I watch my two boys and Ryan and Emily's three children. Yep! I am on my own for 10 days--completely outnumbered by five kids under the age of 8.

The adventures started for real when I couldn't find the McDonald's play land today. Armed with a GPS system, I made it 15 minutes to a fun library in Ephrata. I am sure there must have been some fast-food restaurant with a play land near there, but I couldn't find it. Technology!!! I was able to get back home where I fortunately ran into one of Emily's kind neighbors who stopped to ask me if I was lost. About that time, Chase got a bloody nose. If you aren't familiar with the long list of bloody noses Chase has had, there is really one thing you need to know... They are horrible--lots of blood, last a long time, and get EVERYWHERE!!!

I managed to somewhat keep it together the entire time Pam was kindly writing down directions for me. The blood seemed to let up a bit and about 20 minutes later, we arrived at McDonald's play land. Time for a brief respite while the kids played, right? WRONG!

We walked in, I shipped them all off to the play land while I ordered, but asked Chase to go in the bathroom to clean up his war-tattered face (there was dried blood everywhere--nose, chin, neck, shirt, you name it). In the middle of ordering (no small task mind you), I hear the cry that sounded around the world. If you haven't heard this cry from Chase, the only way to describe it is to have you imagine a cow mooing the loudest MOO in the world--better yet, imagine a hurt or sick cow. It is the only comparable thing I can think of.

So... I have four kids in the play area, a long line behind me, am in the middle of ordering, and I look around the corner to see what in the crap Chase is crying about, and there he is back in the war zone--blood oozing everywhere. I tell him to lay down on a bench, throw him some napkins, and try and finish my order. I am completely brain dead at this point, can't remember what I have ordered and where I am at. The lady looks at me helplessly. I order a babysitter. She doesn't laugh. So, I finish ordering and wait to pay and look back around the table and there, to my amazement (do they give awards at McDonald's for the world's best service?) is the manager with a grandma customer, attending to my son. Plastic gloves on with the world's largest supply of napkins and moist towlettes, they are cleaning my son's face, rubbing his forehead, and telling him it will be OK. "Don't you have the most beautiful eyes, they say?" His tear-stained eyes are full to the brim with gratitude for the love and attention these two women are giving him--attention he hasn't seen from his mom in 2 days apparently :).

The other kids play and Chase basks in the one-on-one from the kindest women in the world (I am definitely writing a letter to corporate Mickey D's.). Finally, he gets his wish and goes to play in the play land. Nope! No other accident happens with him. Instead, Rachel--perhaps one of the cutest 3-year-olds in the world--goes to the bathroom. I was watching as she made her way down the path. Connor wanted to "help" his cousin. I turned my head for one minute only to find out 3 minutes later that he had taken her into the boys bathroom. How did I find this out? When I heard a shriek... (we are quite the loud bunch it turns out). Rachel was in a stall in the boy's bathroom. Apparently, she loves to take her clothes off when she goes to the bathroom. Right as she finished, she saw a spider, started screaming her head off. Her fright was so contagious that Connor ran out (he's totally afraid of spiders), leaving her along--naked--with the spider. Her and Chase are tied for first place for the loudest cries at this point.

So... I am sprinting for the bathroom, not quite sure if I should run in or not. I get Jacob to go in and everyone in the restaurant is looking at me, asking themselves why anyone would be alone with five kids. I got the same look when I took them all to the grocery store with me an hour later. A guy said, "How are you fitting all of that in one car--referring more to the kids than the small amount of groceries I had?" I wanted to tell him how amazed he would be to see the creativity of parents doing this everyday in Utah. I promptly called my mom to ask her how she did it with 6. WOW! Is all I can say. I feel like a wimp in comparison.

Stay tuned for more tales in Jyl's Adventures in Babysitting--10 Days in Lancaster County With 5 Kids and 1 Loony Parent :).

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3 bits of juicy gossip: to “ Adventures in Babysitting Day 1--The Cries Heard Around the World

  • Laurel C.
    August 1, 2008 at 4:08 PM  

    You have just described how I feel every day, and I only have 2 kids! I can't imagine 5! You are one brave woman.

    I am glad to see you back on the blog again. I have missed you! :)

  • Tara @ Feels like home
    November 23, 2008 at 5:55 PM  

    Oh my goodness! I have ONE child, and I feel like that some times. I can't even imagine tackling the day with five.

    Thanks for your Things to Write Home About submission; I'll definitely include it.

    And, incidentally, I live about twenty miles away from Leola. Small world!

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