Well, they don’t jump off of roofs with sheets around their shoulders, but the younglings I spent yesterday afternoon with were certainly a lively bunch. You see, my roommate baby-sits for one of the professors on Monday afternoons, but she was sadly taken with a sore throat and couldn’t make it. Being the sweet and generous soul that I am, however, I offered to take her place and watch the little darlings myself. Boy, did I get a show.
The first thing that happened when I arrived was a general putting on of shoes. You see, since its been raining and the temperature has not gotten above 45 degrees in the last four days, wearing shoes while playing outside is usually considered a good thing. Yeah. Anyway, we all put on our shoes and I got to (slowly) accustom myself to the crown, which moved at a rate of velocity roughly equivalent to that of electrons. I could have sworn when I arrived there were ten heads running around that yard, in various sizes, and stages of undress. “Maddie, put your shirt on.” Anyway, after a while the movement slowed to light speed and I began learning names, connecting faces, and getting a more accurate body count.
There were only nine.
The fifteen, fourteen, and twelve year olds took care of themselves. They found food (all boys) and trooped upstairs to promptly be quiet for the ensuing two hours. That left me six. Twins age of ten (boys), a seven, a five (both boys), a three, and a one (both girls). Hoo-boy. The really fun part was when they had me guess all their middle names (each has two). I had the first names given to me by mom and they were pretty easy, being largely drawn from the canon of the Mass. However, the saints in the middle were a little more obscure. I felt somewhat uneducated when I was guessing name number four.
“This saint talked to the fish and when he died everything shriveled up but his tongue.”
Turned out, it was St. Anthony of Padua. Cool. Only a ten-year-old boy could find it in his unsqueamish little heart to give the babysitter that clue. I guessed most of the rest of them with ease, though, once some obscure feature was trotted out for my guessing aid and enjoyment. These are really well-rounded kids, man! I mean, the next thing that happened was a play production, of all things. They sat me down in the darkened bedroom (bunk beds make a better puppet theatre than any other article of furniture have ever seen) got all the little ones quiet, and a ten and a seven performed A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It went like this:
Mickey Mouse: Hello, everyone! I’m here to introduce our play, Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the star of the show, Donald Duck.
[enter Donald, left]
Donald Duck: Hello!
MM: Okay, let’s begin!
[exit Mickey right, Donald left]
[enter Donald, lies down and begins to snore]
[enter Mickey, with Lincoln Log gun]
MM: Wake up, Donald! It’s time to go hunting!
DD: Oh, boy!
[produces Lincoln Log gun from thin air]
DD: Let’s go this way!
[they hunt up left, down right]
MM: Nope, let’s try the other way!
[hunt up right, down left]
DD: There’s something!
[sounds of gunfire, giant stuffed duck enters center, quite dead]
MM: Yay! Let’s cook him!
[they cook the duck and eat him, duck exit up]
MM: Time to throw out the bones!
[various Lincoln Log bones are spewed forth from the stage into the audience. One-year-old’s face covered by babysitter]
DD: That was great!
[exit Mickey, scene change, Donald sleeping]
DD: (waking up) Wow. What a great dream that was!
MM and DD: The End! (bow)
I kid thee not. I’m going to write a paper on it for my Shakespeare class someday. It was just too rich. Anyway, I recovered from that to my immense self-satisfaction, no diaphragm muscles were damaged, and we moved on to something slightly less edifying, yet still culturally rich. Catholic Simon Says. This disintegrated into a tickling party after a while, though, so we got up and decided to play the piano. This was the miracle bit. Each one of the noisy, rambunctious, excitable little guys say down in some manner or another (theoretically the feet should be closer to the ground than the head, but I’m not picky) and watched me play the piano. I sight read a Chopin Waltz for them, played the first movement of the Moonlight Sonata for them, and then (really impressive) did the Pink Panther Theme. That was their favorite.
In fact, when mom got home that was the first thing she was told.
“Mom she plays Pink Panther!”
“He’s wearing my shoes even though they’re to big and I can’t wear his make him give them back!”
“Can I go to Cameron’s house?
“No, I didn’t finish my school!”
“I’d hadded a dordy diaper, mommy!”
“Aaaaaaa burble burble.”
“And she’s the first babysitter we’ve had who was good at piano and she’s the weirdest babysitter we’ve ever had and she’s left handed!”
I think I made an impression. Mom asked me if I’d come armed when I return on Monday to watch them again.