November 29th, 2010 7:30pm - Thanksgiving in NZ with Five Kids

Last Thanksgiving I was in India. One man told me that I was a whore because only whores wear one anklet instead of two. I had been wearing one anklet for two months. Hours later, another man cursed me with his sticks.
This year, I was determined to celebrate my favorite American holiday in New Zealand. My Thanksgiving was spent with the five children I babysat, and their grandma, who had been flown in for moral support while the parents were on vacation in Australia for a week.
After begging/harassing the grandma for an hour, she surrendered to my wily ways and made a pumpkin pie. In my twenty-four years of life, the most I've contributed to Thanksgiving dinner has been stuffing the already-made stuffing into the already-prepared turkey. Usually, I'm on clean-up. This comprises washing enough dishes to prepare food for an African village for a month.
Turkeys weren't being sold in the grocery stores in New Zealand. We made chicken. As we didn't have stuffing, I shoved mango slices into the breasts with my fists.
I prepared the plates with mashed potatoes, chicken, and vegetables. I was lighting candles and pouring myself wine when the grandma observed that someone would knock the candles over and the house would catch on fire. I put the candlesticks away and poured myself a bigger glass of wine.
I distributed the plates and washed child hands and sat down with a sigh at my Kiwi Thanksgiving dinner. I inhaled the pumpkin pie scents wafting out of the oven and sipped my Chardonnay, a small smile of satisfaction frolicking across my face. And then I heard the screaming. We had settled ourselves at the table without the three-year-old. He was outside in the backyard.
"I want to eat," he screamed, before all other words descended into incoherent crying.
"Oh no, we forgot about him! Poor kid, I'll grab him," I said and stood up.
"No. He has to learn. He'll come in when he's learned we're not going to react," the grandma replied.
"I'll just get him. I'll calm him down and we'll be inside in about ten seconds," I replied.
"No. He has to learn. Don't get him."
"But... it's Thanksgiving."
"He'll come in when he's ready."
He screamed. For twenty minutes.
During those twenty minutes, the nine-year-old described Age of Empires strategy. He listed the various characters and civilizations featured. He provided a full inventory of weaponry. I had stopped listening by the time he went into detail about the Abus Gun, culverin, indigenous ranged weapons, Rush military combinations, Janissaries, WV's and VC's. I played the martyr and acknowledged him. I felt like I had to, his parents were paying me. While the nine-year-old banged on about the age of Empires, the five-year-old screamed her refusal to eat meat.
"I am a vegan," she shrieked. "I don't want to eat baby chicken heads."
Instead of eating his food, the baby screeched, cried, and shook his head no. He was teething.
The seven-year-old had prepared a presentation on Thanksgiving. She had looked up the holiday online and printed out seven pages of articles. She stood in front of the table and read the articles. Word for word. No pictures adorned her poster. Just tiny little ten-point font.
When the three-year-old finally wandered into the kitchen sniveling, the baby was howling, the five-year-old was shrieking, the nine-year-old was detailing power and splash damage, and the seven-year-old shouted her Thanksgiving Day presentation over all of them.
Eight minutes later, the seven-year-old had been ordered to sit down and finish her dinner. The baby bawled like it had slammed it's hand into a drawer, so his sister dangled a carrot in front of it's face. Baby stopped crying. Grandma thought the seven-year-old was being disruptive and made her move to the end of the table. When the girl lowered herself to sit, she missed the chair and landed on the wood floor with a crack. Grandma removed her plate and refused to let her eat her dinner. I was just concerned for the kid's skull.

November 13th, 2010 11:08pm - Quotebook

* Three-year-old: "My big sister used to be a boy."

* Three-year-old: "Kara, do you love me?"
Me: "Of course I love you!"
Three-year-old: "Is it because I can do cool things? Or because I can tackle my big brother? I can make him cry like a baby."

* Five-year-old (to a friend's mom): "No, I can't have more than two marshmallows. I don't want to get diabetes."

* Three-year-old: "I was the winner!" I got craps in my hands!"
(Trying to say people clapped his hands for being the best tackler)

* Five-year-old: "I am NOT getting in the car. It stinks so bad. I'm not getting in."
Three-year-old: "I've been dreaming about the car."

* Me: "Oh no, you tripped over a rock and hit your chin?"
Five-year-old: "No, my chin hit a rock by itself."

* Three-year-old: "My foot is cold! My foot is cold!"
Me: "Your one foot?"
Three-year-old: "Yes, my one foot is cold."
(Crying five minutes later): "My foot is getting harder. I don't like my foot."

* Five-year-old: "Why do people have skin?"
Nine-year-old: "So nothing falls out."
Five-year-old: "You mean your intestines could fall out? Or like a bird?"

* Three-year-old: "There are no people outside. It must be raining."
(It wasn't raining)

* Five-year-old: "Look, the sky is cracked."

* Me: "Stop kissing my feet!"
Three-year-old: "Why?"
Me: "Because kissing feet is gross."
Three-year-old: "No, it's wonderful."

November 8th 2010 7:10pm - Left at a Birthday Party

This past Friday, the nine-year-old had his tenth birthday party. The boys met at the house before the mom took seven fifth graders go-karting. Within nine minutes, the screaming, sprinting mass of boys had successfully accomplished annihilation. Of everything. The five-year-old howled in a corner of the house because one of the boys had torn off her doll's head. I looked out the window to see the seven-year-old chasing after the fifth-graders shrieking and throwing rocks at them because they'd drawn in pen on the walls of the treehouse. Two of the boys were whimpering because they'd been attacked by two other boys who decided to be nine-year-old ninjas with nunchucks. I had seen one get conked on the head. Another boy foamed at the mouth with fury at being hit. I saw him wrestle a plastic sword from one of his friends before tearing past the window in pursuit of the ninjas. Another boy picked up a plastic child-size car to demonstrate his strength. When he threw it to further establish his prowess, it crashed into the concrete and one of the wheels dislodged. The five-year-old sank into sobbing hysterics because of the car wheel while still cradling her doll's decapitated head.
The three-year-old howled about his wet doodle. The baby cried because everyone within a twenty-foot radius of him was either bawling or running through the house rioting. The mom had tears in her eyes.
The mom had thought to meet at the house, feed the boys in ten minutes, and be out the door in fifteen. She managed to drive away fifteen minutes after they arrived. I walked through the house and yard holding Baby and trailed by the three, five, and seven-year-olds, all of whom sniveled or moaned their agony, two of whom sucked their thumbs.
We surveyed the wreckage. The mom had prepared an after-school snack for the boys of fruit salad, mini hot dogs, popcorn, cookies, and juice. The food had been impeccably presented on plastic colored plates and lined up on the table for quick consumption. Kiwi chunks were in the seven-year-old's hair. Smashed popcorn bits and cookies were ground into the sandbox and the concrete. Juice slid down the house windows. Dolls were missing limbs. We played Find the Dolly Parts around the yard and house. We never located one of the arms. Flashlights had been disassembled. A swing had been dismantled. Balls were over fences and up trees. A kite had been torn into three pieces. Someone had dug a coffin-sized hole in the middle of the grass. Someone else had turned on the hose and drowned the plants across one side of the house. The seven-year-old's Skip It had been used as a bunny leash and tied around Thumper's head.
I mollified the harassed younger siblings by giving them ice cream. I then put on a movie and texted the mom moral support.
By the time the posse of the antichrist returned, I had given the younger kids baths, put them in their pajamas, and subdued them into food comas. It was 6:30pm.
Five of the six child bombers' parents were at the house waiting to pick them up when the mom pulled up in her tank of a car. The thank-you's were said, the exchanges were done, and the pre-teen forces of destruction were gone. The family was going to their beach house for the weekend and wanted to leave immediately. The dad arrived and I helped them load up the car and strap in the kids. As the car backed out of the driveway, one of the birthday boy's friends walked out of the house and stood beside me.
"Your parents never came to pick you up?" I asked.
I ran after the car waving my arms in the air and screaming like a madwoman. When the car stopped, the window rolled down, and I explained there was still a kid left, the mom asked if I could just take him home, as she wanted to get to the beach house.
When I walked the friend up to his house, a babysitter opened the door. I explained that nobody had come to pick him up from the party.
"Weird," she said. "The parents are at a party, and I'm watching the other two kids. This is my first time babysitting. I didn't even know there was a third one."

November 3rd, 2010 11:04am - November 2011 Quote of the Month

Three-year-old: "I felt a secret dream. And I won't tell to nobody. Nobody can't find out because I don't remember it. Do you know it, Kara? Do you know my secret dream?"

November 2nd, 2011 10:27pm - Wet Doodle

By November, the three-year-old had been screaming and crying about his wet doodle for a week and a half. When his mom took him to the doctor, she was informed that his uncircumcised penis tip was too long and should probably be cut off. I had noticed for a few months that the skin hanging off the kid's wiener was exceptionally long. However, I'd never studied uncircumcised child penises. I thought it was normal.
I heard crying issuing from the bathroom, and realized that a little human sobbing in the toilet should probably be investigated. I entered to see the three-year-old with his pants and underwear pulled down. He was yanking on his willy like it was a stuffed doll he was trying to mutilate.
"I don't want a wet doodle," he screamed, tears exploding from his eyes.
"My doodle's wet, it's wet inside," he continued.
"Okay, okay, let's wash your hands and then go eat dinner," I attempted to soothe him.
He put his pecker-infested hands directly on my face.
Halfway through dinner, the three-year-old put his fork down and ruptured into tears.
"I have a wet doodle," he sobbed.
The five-year-old thoughtfully responded, "Luckily I don't have a wet doodle to worry about."
The mom and I were on our second glasses of wine. I nodded my consent, shrugged, and chugged my wine. I was glad I didn't have a doodle. I wouldn't know what to do with it. Those things operate independently of male bodies. They're like leprechaun aliens in the form of penises.
However, the mom answered her five-year-old daughter with, "You'll have a doodle to worry about some day."
I had to cover my mouth and nose with my hands so the wine in my mouth wouldn't attack all the children within a seven-foot radius of me.
The mom laughed. The five-year-old turned a bewildered face to me.
"Kara, do you have a doodle?" she asked.
"No, you know girls don't have doodles! You'll have a husband some day. Your mom's saying that you'll have to worry about his doodle."
The five-year-old pondered this for three seconds before replying: "I won't worry about his doodle. I'll smack it out the window."