Today, Aisling and I went to a local church that hosts our city's Mothers of Pre-Schoolers (MOPS) group. Our purpose was not to be part of the Bible study and conversation and yummy treats part of the program, since Aisling is no longer very preschooly, being somewhat taller than I am, but rather to provide care for the kidlets that belong to the moms.
Ah, the things we do for money.
Money, you see, figures in. Caregivers get paid seven dollars an hour for their babysitting services, and since each meeting is three hours long and since there are two meetings per month, that equals forty dollars of happiness that we wouldn't otherwise have had. Forty dollars, which is nothing to sneeze at nowadays, will buy my blood glucose testing strips for the month. Or a pair of shoes for a family member. Or maybe a very, very large bottle of prescription painkillers to lighten my mood. I'm just saying. And what I'm saying is that it's been a very long time since I had to be a babysitter for a bunch of kids ranging in age from seven down to thirteen months and it was really hard. *collapses into a quivering heap*
While I will be glad to receive my forty dollars, and while none of the kids there were the spawn of hell, they were a lot of work. Which is what made me wonder if prostitution would be easier. I hear it's better paid. And at least I'd be able to lie down. I'd have to fake some enthusiasm, but I had to do that at MOPS anyway, saying things like, "Oh, Evangeline, you are the BEST HAND WASHER I have ever seen!" and "Georgie, you are SUCH A GOOD BOY for giving that sand pail back to Lucinda!" and "You did A GREAT JOB at telling me you had to go potty, Trevor!"
It was just exhausting, all that smiley, bright-eyed cheerfulness. *collapses again, just thinking about it*
Plus, there was this: Some frikking GENIUS at this church decided to donate one of those big molded plastic beds that looks like a car, right? This is the extra-fancy bed, though, the one with the actual roof and everything. I think it's big enough to hold a twin-bed sized mattress. Well, instead of the mattress, this car-shaped bed has a plank in the bottom to make a floor. And the floor? Well, it holds about THREE MILLION little plastic balls, those kind of balls that are in the ball pits at outdoor McDonald's playgrounds.
Only guess what? This playground isn't outside. It's a playroom. And that car bed wasn't meant to hold all those little balls, it was meant to hold a mattress. And a sleeping child. So see if you can figure out what happens to all those balls when three or four little children climb in there to bounce around.
Have you figured it out? And I do mean what happens other than the children all pegging each other with gaily-colored plastic balls right in the face.
You're right! They all spill out all over the floor! And they make the biggest, most heart-wrenching mess you have ever seen and the person that donated that fun bit of business should be escorted out to the parking lot by grim-faced child care workers and shot.
Then we had this mom who brought in her thirteen-month old son, who came into my arms with green snot leaking down his face. "I don't know what that's all about," she said, the trollop. "He just woke up sneezing and with this runny nose." And she giggled and handed over her designery-looking diaper bag and I was tempted to grab it by the strap and bludgeon her with it.
The baby looked at me with bleary eyes and rubbed his nose, smearing toxic mucus across his chubby cheeks. He barely bleated as his mother, with a cheerful, "'Bye, pumpkin! You be a good boy!" left the room and went off to have a cozy three hours' chit-chat with her friends.
"You should be at home in your bed," I told him as he yawned fretfully. "At home, instead of giving your cold or your possible H1N1 virus to the rest of us here in the nursery." He indicated that he wished to be placed upon the floor, so I set him down and watched him tack an uneven course across the room, stopping along the way to pick up and lick about fifty different toys. Eww. I went to my handbag and got my little bottle of sanitizer out and used about half of it.
Aisling and I dealt with one wet pants accident and two wet diapers and the other helper in the room, a university student named Daisy, tried to boss me around by displaying her vast knowledge of early childhood psychology and I was all, like, yeah, someday you'll grow up and have kids of your own and then you can demonstrate your wisdom to me by getting up off your keister and pouring everyone another cup of apple juice instead of sitting there while I do it.
I am wrecked. Absolutely wrecked.
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