“Mahayla!” my mom called. “There’s someone on the phone for you!”
“Coming!” I yelled back. I took the stairs two at a time and bounded up to my mother. I held out my hand and she placed her cell phone in it. “Hello?”
“Mahayla? Hi, I’m Mrs. Matthews. My husband and I are looking for a new babysitter and our neighbors, the Longeneckers, recommended you to us!”
“Oh, yeah, Paige is my sister Abby’s friend.” I was slightly confused why Mrs. Longenecker had recommended me, because I had never babysat for their family before.
“Yes, that’s what they said! Mrs. Londenecker said you were great with kids and were really patient.”
“Oh, um, thanks,” I said, feeling slightly uncomfortable.
“Anyway, we would need a babysitter every Thursday from 5:30 to 7:30.” I thought for a moment. I needed the money for my class D.C. trip, and it would probably be a good experience.
“Okay, that sounds good. Hang on, let me check my calender.” I flipped through the empty pages. “Yep, that works!”
“Great! We have two girls, Kaelina and Marin. Kaelina is four, and Marin is almost two.”
“Awesome! I’ll look forward to meeting them!”
“Thanks! I’ll see you next week!” And with that, Mrs. Matthews hung up the phone.
“Who was that?” my mom asked.
“A lady named Mrs. Matthews. She wants me to babysit her kids every Thursday from 5:30 to 7:30.”
“That will work! And now you will be making some money for your class trip! Did you tell her that was okay?”
“Yeah, and she said I start next week.” The following week passed by quickly. Wednesday night, when I was laying in bed, I found that I was slightly nervous for my new job. It’s okay, I told myself. They are just little kids!
It wasn’t the babysitting part that was making me nervous; I had babysat plenty of times before. I was afraid that the parents wouldn’t like me and would fire me. Then how would I get my money? I knew my thoughts were probably just silly, but I was still anxious. The next day at school, the day flew by much too quickly. I wasn’t ready for this yet! I wanted to meet the kids and the parents first!
Before I knew it, it was 5:20.
“Ready to go?” my mom asked.
“No,” I said.
“Oh, whatever. Let’s go.” We followed the house numbers to the correct one; Mrs. Matthews had emailed my mom their street address and phone numbers. “Well, we’re here. Text me if they are going to be late. Otherwise, plan on 7:30.”
“Okay. See you soon,” I said as I climbed out of the car.
“Love you!” my mom shouted as she backed out of the driveway. I turned and faced the small house. It was white brick, and had a giant window in the front. It looked welcoming and homey, and I took a deep breath and walked up the path to the front door. I knocked sharply on the door twice, and a voice from inside said that it was open. I swung open the door and stepped inside. I removed my shoes and placed them out of the way, then looked around.
“Hello?” I called. A short man in a biking suit came out of the kitchen.
“Hello, Mahayla, I’m Mr. Matthews. Mrs. Matthews is working late and will be home at 7:30. I work out every Thursday, and she just picked up some more shifts at her job, so that’s why we need your help.”
“Oh,” I stuttered.
“Why don’t you come in and meet the girls?” Mr. Matthews asked politely.
“Okay,” I said awkwardly. I followed him into a spacious living room.
“This is Kaelina,” he said, gesturing to a small girl hiding behind his legs. “Can you say hi, Kaelina?”
“Hi,” the little girl whispered shyly.
“Hi, Kaelina! I’m Mahayla.” There was pause, so I added, “I really like your shirt.” Kaelina just gazed up at me from between her father’s legs.
“What do you say, Kaelina?”
“Good job. Come into the dining room, Mahayla, and I will introduce you to Marin.” I trailed behind Mr. Matthews into their dining room. A cluttered table was surrounded by a mismatching of chairs with cushions on them. Marin sat in her highchair, waving her crushed chicken nugget at me.
“This is Marin. Can you say ‘hi,’ Marin?”
“Hi!” Marin screeched in her baby voice.
“Hi, Marin. It’s nice to meet you.” Marin ignored me and went back to her food.
“So,” Mr. Matthews said turning towards me, “do you think you can get her into her pajamas okay? She also might need a diaper change. Will you be alright with that?”
“Yeah. I have a lot of younger cousins, so I know how to do all that.”
“Good, good. I set out some food for Kaelina, but she said she wasn’t hungry yet. Marin is eating her food right now, and she should be okay with that for the night. Their rooms are right down the hall.” He seemed to be talking to himself more than me now. “I left a list on the table with everything you need to know, and it has my phone number and Mrs. Matthew’s number on it. Marin needs to go to bed around six, and Kaelina needs to get ready for bed at seven. She doesn’t have to be asleep when we get home, just quieting down. Well, unless you have any questions, I think I’m going to head out.”
“Um,” I said, struggling to remember everything, “I think I’m okay. I’ll ask Kaelina if I need any help.”
“All right,” he replied, affectionately ruffling her hair. “I’m sure she’ll be a big help. Bye, honey.”
“Bye, Daddy.” He bent down and kissed Kaelina on the head, did the same to Marin, then went out the door.”
Immediately after he left, Kaelina stated, “I have to go to the bathroom.”
“Okay, well can you do it by yourself, or do you need me to help you?” I desperately hoped she could do it alone. She stuck out her lip.
“I’m a big girl. I can to it myself.”
“Okay, just call for me if you need help.” She spun on her heel and marched down the hallway into the bathroom. I turned and sat down in the chair next to Marin and started to make faces at her as she ate.
Not five seconds after I sat down I heard, “Babysitter, I need help!” Oh great, I thought. I walked into the bathroom and found Kaelina standing with her arms folded. “I can’t reach the light.”
“Oh,” I sighed, relieved. “Do you need anything else?” I asked cautiously, flipping on the light.
“Okay. Well, I’m going to go make sure Marin is alright.” I walked back into the kitchen and plopped down next to Marin. As soon as I sat down, I got a face full of mushed berries. “Gross, Marin!” I shrieked.
Right then Kaelina yelled, “Babysitterrr! I need helppp!”
“Oh, great,” I sighed. “Hang on! I’ll be there in a minute,” I said louder. I wiped my face with a tissue and went back into the bathroom. Kaelina was sitting on the toilet with a frown on her face.
“I want you to read me a book,” Kaelina demanded from the toilet.
“Okay, what one do you want?”
“You can choose.”
I shuffled into Kaelina’s room and picked up a small book from the floor. Skimming the pages, I saw that it wasn’t very long. Satisfied, I walked back into the bathroom and proceeded to read the story to Kaelina.
“‘Toby Goes to the Doctor, by Fred Winslow....’” I read.
“Thank you,” Kaelina said when I finished.
“Your welcome,” I muttered, surprised by her sudden change of attitude.
“I’m done. I want dinner now, please.”
“Okay, you can go eat as soon as you wash your hands.” After Kaelina was finished, I warmed up her dinner and checked on Marin.
“Da!” Marin greeted me.
“Hi, Marin.” As the girls finished their dinner, I read over the instructions for their bedtime that their parents had left for me.
“‘Put Marin to bed around six p.m.’” I read aloud. I glanced at my phone. “Hmm, it’s already five fifty. And your not even done yet!” I jokingly exclaimed, turning to Marin.
“Done!” Marin screeched. I lifted Marin from her highchair and put her on the ground.
“You can play for five minutes, then you need to go to bed. Okay?” Marin ignored me and started playing with a Barbie Doll. I sighed and turned to Kaelina. “Are you done yet?”
“Yes.” After I had cleaned up the dishes, Kaelina said, “I want to play now.”
“Okay we will play in a minute, but I’m going to put Marin to bed real fast.”
“I’ll come too!” Kaelina announced, running down the hallway.
“Alright, Marin, are you ready for bed,” I said in a baby voice.
“Nooooo!” she screamed.
“Oh... Um.... Well let’s go read a book then.” I hurried into Marin’s room before she could protest. “Here, lets change your diaper and change you into your pajamas before we read our book. I laid Marin on the changing table and unwrapped her diaper. After she was clean, I pulled another from her diaper bag. “Which way does this go?” I wondered. It had a picture of Winnie the Pooh on both sides. I shrugged and chose a random side to face up. After I picked Marin up, it became clear that something had went very wrong.
“You put it on wrong,” Kaelina giggled.
“Oh, thanks, Kaelina,” I said sarcastically.
“Your welcome,” Kaelina laughed, not noticing my sarcasm. I lifted Marin back onto her changing table and pulled of her diaper.
“Oh, great. Which way does it go?” I turned the diaper around, trying to figure out which way it went. I guess again and sat Marin up.
“Again?” Kaelina asked.
“Oops...” I hurriedly took of Marin’s diaper and flipped it around. It was finally right. “Okay, Marin, what pajamas do you want to use?” Marin ignored me and started to play with her feet. “Alright then....” I picked a random pair of pajamas from Marin’s closet and shoved her feet in them. When I picked her up, something didn’t look right.
“You’re not very good at putting things on the right way, are you?”
“Shush, Kaelina. I’ll fix it.” Exasperated, I took Marin’s pajamas off of her and flipped it so the buttons were facing up. I scooped her up in my arms and started to bounce her. “Kaelina, can you turn off the lights?” Kaelina looked up from the kiddy book she was reading aloud and flipped the light switch.
Marin immediately started crying. “Shhh, Marin,” I said. I made soothing noises until Marin’s eyes started to droop. She soon rested her head against my shoulder. I quickly laid her in her crib and hurried Kaelina out of her room. Well, that only took thirty minutes. I thought sarcastically. I cracked the door shut and started to creep down the hallway. Halfway, Marin started her wailing again.
“Let’s just go,” Kaelina said impatiently.
“Okay, maybe if we just ignore her she’ll stop.”
“I want to play doctor,” Kaelina exclaimed excitedly.
“Okay, who’s the doctor? You or me?”
“Both of us!”
“Who’s the patient then?” I asked, confused.
“My froggy!” Kaelina then pulled out a huge stuffed frog from the toy tun on the playroom.
I blinked, surprised. “Well, okay then. Where’s your doctor stuff?”
“Here,” said Kaelina, pulling out a box of fake doctor supplies. We spread a blanket on the floor and laid our “patient” on it.
“Alright, I’ll be the nurse. Doctor, I think we’re loosing him! We need to hook him up to the machines, stat!” I said in a bad British accent.
Kaelina giggled. “You do that, nurse. I need to give him his shot.” After a couple of minutes, I noticed that Marin had stopped crying. I checked my phone and the paper Mr. and Mrs. Matthews had left for me. The next thing on the list said, ‘Get Kaelina ready for bed at 7.’
“Hey, Kaelina, let’s go get you ready for bed then we can play some more.” Kaelina reluctantly but obediently got to her feet. After she had changed and brushed her teeth, we hurried back into the playroom and continued our game until her mom pulled up.
“Awww,” Kaelina whined as her mom walked in. “I don’t want you to leave! I want to keep playing!”
“I know, Kaelina, I do too. I’ll be back next week though. We can play some more!”
“Yay!” she exclaimed and threw her arms around my neck.
“Well, it looks like you two have certainly become friends, doesn’t it?” said Mrs. Matthews as she walked into the room.
“Hi, Mrs. Matthews, I’m Mahayla,” I said. straightening myself.
“Hello, Mahayla. It’s nice to meet you. It seems like you did a pretty good job here. Kaelina obviously likes you and Marin seems to be asleep. Were they good for you?”
“They were great,” I said grinning at Kaelina. Mrs. Matthews handed me a twenty dollar bill and ushered me to the door.
“Thank you, and we will see you next week.”
“Bye!” I yelled as I hurried to my mom’s awaiting vehicle.
I continued to babysit for the Matthews every Thursday, though none of the times were as hard as the first. However, I learned an important lesson that day; taking care of kids and being responsible for them is a lot harder than it seems.