Thursday, October 14, 2010

Writer's Workshop: Boysitting

Mama's Losin' It
This week I choose prompt #5, A memorable babysitting job.

Waaaay back when I was 17-18...

I was married and my husband at the time (NOT my current hubby) had been transferred to a different store in a different town. The commute was long and the graveyard shift was dull and boring. I went along to help keep him awake. A local woman was looking for a babysitter for her 6 boys, ranging in ages of 6 to 12. The job came with a place to stay on their property and it was just blocks from the husbands work. Her husband was a truck driver and she wanted to go with him to help earn extra money.

I was extremely scared to take the job. I mean we are talking BOYS and being responsible for all of them 24/7 was a huge thing to consider. My husband was all for it cause of the location and housing and apparently men are not intimidated by a group of boys. In the end we accepted the job.

She took me through the tour of her house and showed me the ropes of money, chores, food and schedules. In two days of getting to know the boys and there routines the "Parents" were gone. I say "Parents" cause I still felt like a child in soo many aspects, I was instantly terrified! Thankfully the husband was there to enforce the authority and the boys were very kind and on their best behaviors.

What made it memorable other than the boys, that should be memorable enough, RIGHT? Well a few things stand out.

The mother helped me get my drivers license that first weekend they came home, so I could use their van to take the kids places and so she wouldn't have to come home as often. On another weekend they purchased a one ton flatbed pick-up, I got taught how to drive it. That was very intimidating but yet thrilling and powerful too. I always manage to remember her when ever I get my license renewed or look at my birth certificate that she sent away for.

I was exposed to a new religion. Mormon. They weren't the type of Mormons you hear about, they didn't have a harem of wives and kids. They were like the Brady Bunch, him and his kids, her and her kids, makes for one crazy house! I slightly took an interest in their religion till I got to the levels of heaven.

My Grandfather died on my 18th birthday and I went back to Maine for the funeral and to say goodbye to my parents who were staying in Maine. My baby brother bawled his head off and begged me to put him in my suitcase and bring him back with me. The tears flowed for many reasons that week. My husband came up the next day and we left together. At the change over in New York, the husband got his wallet stolen.

I was exposed to the lovely quality of organizing. With six boys, the mother came up with a system for her children. Each child had his own color. This color was on everything that belonged to that child. In the toes of their socks was a loop of that color thread, it was also found on the tags of their clothing, in the waistline of the undergarments. They had their own set of dishes in that color, of which they were responsible for washing. Even their towels were of their own color. There was no confusion of who's stuff belonged to who and blessedly no fighting over things. I found this system to be amazing. She had a chore chart that had that child's color on it for what chores they were to do for that day. When the child did said chores they got a popsicle stick that had been mark with their color and at the end of the week they turned them in for a quarter apiece for their allowance. I also learned the importance of financial organizing.

I took the kids to the city pool for some fun, a good time had been had by all and we stayed till they closed. We got back to the house and all the kids lumbered out of the van and into the house. I let them leave their stuff in the van with the strict instructions to retrieve it in the morning. The next morning we was rushing around getting ready for school and I sent one of them to go get all of their shoes out of the van. The boy rushes back into the house and yells that the van is GONE!
The whole herd went out the door to confirm this. I called the police, the school and then the parents. Come to find out it was a repo. I had experienced my first repo! I'll tell ya though, walking out in the driveway and that van being gone was a moment I will never forget!

I guess the mother felt it was too much hassle to try to keep up with the financial things at home and being out on the road, so she came home. We stayed another two weeks and then moved on.

All of my time with them was an experience that will always be remembered.

Now go visit Mama Kat to join in or just read some more posts.


Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I just got goosey-bumps... I love meeting new people... especially ones like this that give you new perspectives on life. Great post!

Lady Rynn said... [Reply to comment]

Wow,that is most certainly the most interesting babysitting experience I ever heard of. I'm glad you learned something out of all of it. Thank you for sharing such a great story!

Elle said... [Reply to comment]

This is a great post! I love knowing what shapes people into who they are.

Joanie M said... [Reply to comment]

wow wow wow!!!! I'm amazed that those parents would leave their kids with practically strangers!!! They were very very lucky they found good honest people in your hubby and you! Great story!!

JustMom420zaks said... [Reply to comment]

Wow! What a story, and what a life experience. 6 boys! Thank goodness they were Mormon, who else would have worked out the awesome color system? (j/k, my mom's family worked out the color system with their 5 girls, and they were Catholic... Mormons can just be super creative at times)
I loved reading this.

SuziCate said... [Reply to comment]

Wow, that was quite an experience, and a learning one, too! I am impressed with that woman's solor system.

Lucy said... [Reply to comment]

Hi Heather, I want to thank you for your encouragement in one big huge thank you.This was quite a story.I had 5 kids and all were boys but one so I kinda understand your panic.

Erin said... [Reply to comment]

I love the color coding! I might even do that with mine...I only have two!

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

What a wonderful experience. That mom sounds like she had it under control (except for the repo part). Very interestind story. You had such a colorful teen years experience.

Dreamfarm Girl said... [Reply to comment]

Quite a tale! I guess having 6 boys might want to make you take a little break and hire a sitter : )

We had 3 kids under one roof for a while and we bought color coded bath towels, which worked pretty well. I don't think I couldhave organized color coding for everything though.

Rose said... [Reply to comment]

you were quite young to have the responsibility of all of those boys. sounds like the mother was a help. take care rose