Adventures in Babysitting

Most of my babysitting years are behind me. I no longer rely on such skills as my primary source of income. In fact, this week I offered my childcare services for free. But it is good to know that the adventure still awaits…

Last week I was asked to stay with a friend’s kids while she and her husband were out of town. The gig was just three days. The kids were in middle school and high school and very self sufficient. I was there for entertainment. What could go wrong?

Famous. Last. Words.

The first day was so easy. These kids did their own homework, ate leftovers, and went to bed on time without a peep from me. My only jobs were to play board games and made sure the doors were locked. Easy peasey.

The second day got a little more eventful.

Picture this scene: I leaned casually against the kitchen counter around dinner time asking “How was your day?” type questions, when I glanced at the oven and noticed, not just smoke, but a dancing flame. Trying to be mature, helpful, and kind to her little brother, the high schooler had inadvertently selected a non-oven safe method of delivery and the flames mocked her choice. Upon investigation, the pizza pan’s heated plastic dripped precariously through the oven rack like lava taffy. As this point she looks at me and says, “Adult…. you’re up.” Gestures to me like Vanna White presenting a letter and moonwalks out of the kitchen. I then locate the fire extinguisher, smother the fire, and remove the molten plastic from the oven. After the literal dust settled, the plastic cooled, and the fight or flight response wore off, we laughed about this for a long time. It truly was just a whoops. This is a sharp girl; she’s going to do fine in life. She is independent and capable, and at a moment of need said, “Adult… it’s all you. This is above my pay grade.”

In this instance, I was the adult and dealt with the issue at hand effectively- just leaving a wee bit of a mess (and had to call their parents to tell them the saga)… But other times it is me asking for help from my elders when an issue is novel, scary, and feels above my pay grade. We need each other to help extinguish literal and figurative fires in our lives. Sometimes we’ll feel like the adult in the situation- prepared and equipped. Other times we’re forced to be the adult – trusting the training. Still other times, life’s fires are above everyone’s pay grade and all we can do is take them to the Lord and ask for help. It’s okay to know your limits and moonwalk out of the kitchen when you trust the one taking over. Adulting is a great goal – Take responsibility, show up, and know that you can do hard things. But also know there is no shame in asking for help. People need other people.

Adventures in babysitting taught me that this week. And for anyone in the future who may need babysitting services — I’m retired. 😉

Never had I ever scraped a mixture of pepperoni, plastic, and potassium acetate from inside an oven.
Please enjoy our very cool modern art piece entitled: Fahrenheit 451

2 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Glad you were calm under pressure and could put out the fire quickly and as always, turn this adventure into a life lesson.

  2. Funny in retrospect but maybe not in the moment. At least you had a fire extinguisher to locate and know how to use. I don’t have one of those. I did get a “fire blanket” which is supposed to smother kitchen fires but I hope never to test it!

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