I'm a Babysitter and I Love It

I'm a Babysitter and I Love It

I was once told by a three-year-old that she could hear ants.
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I started babysitting when I was about 12 or 13 years old. I did it then just to start making my own money. I was too young to work anywhere and I didn’t get paid for chores (more like I hated doing chores). But, I wanted to start being able to pay for whatever I wanted. I liked kids enough that I decided babysitting would be it.

I started out just watching neighborhood kids. It was typically really easy, the kid I watched in the neighborhood most often was usually asleep by the time I got there, so I just got to sit and watch TV and movies. Another girl I watched one summer loved when I blew bubbles or colored with her. But, that’s where it started out. Watching neighborhood kids for a few extra dollars.

I got my license the summer of 2014 and that’s when I knew I needed a job. I hadn’t done any babysitting in a while and didn’t have any other jobs either. During that summer though I had met a few younger girls in a group I was helping coach on my club team. They loved me and I really liked them as well. At the end of the summer swim season, I wound up talking to a girl’s parents and something awesome happened. She loved me that much and her parents could see that, so I picked up my first babysitting job in almost a year!

I started babysitting for them and did so consistently. Along with their daughter, they have a son who is about 3 years younger than her. They are awesome kids. But, they could also be difficult. Very difficult. I had never had to break up fights between siblings before, or even act like I was the parent. I had to uphold the parent’s rules, while also trying to stick to how I believed situations should be handled. Sometimes it was handled by sending them both their rooms for time out, but as they got older, it turned into simply taking the item away. Sure, they might hate me for five minutes for deciding they couldn’t watch TV anymore since they were fighting over what to watch; but the girl practiced piano instead and the boy went and found something else to play with. I grew close to these kids and watched them grow for about two years.

Along with babysitting them, I wound up getting two other families going into this past summer. A family from my church needed a babysitter and my youth group leader helped them out by posting to Twitter asking if anyone needed a summer job. I replied and got the extra family. The other family I got was because of my best friend. She was moving that summer with her boyfriend and asked me if I would like to take over that family for her for the summer until I left. I gladly agreed.

The kids from those families are also awesome! The children from the church were two boys who are nine and five. They are the politest boys I’ve ever met. They listened to me every time I told them to do something, I never had to stop them from fighting, never had to yell at them, and they always responded to me. They helped me if I didn’t know how to do something- like doing something with their TV. They are insanely funny, and I always got hear about how the youngest is convinced he’s going to be Power Ranger when he grows up.

The family I got from my best friend, I got really close to. I babysat for them a lot during the summer and their three girls are the best. The girls are eight, six, and three. While the oldest is definitely stubborn and hard-headed, she is also very caring. She wanted to get my number and Facetime me when I left for college. The six-year-old loves when I do her hair and talk about Disney movies with her. The youngest is obsessed with Minions, loves being tickled, and always said the weirdest, most random, funniest things. While I had to settle arguments here and there, they were some of the most fun kids to babysit.

On top of that I also wound up working in my church’s daycare, which was also some of the best times with children I ever had. I also got close with the kids in there- especially a two-year-old foster girl, who got attached to me and sometimes even called me ‘mama’. She was difficult, but so sweet. She gave me a hug and kiss on the cheek at the end of every day for the last month I was there. Some of the kids preferred me over the other people working- even the kids whose moms were working in the daycare.

Babysitting and being a childcare provider has been one of the greatest decisions I’ve made. I can see the impacts I make on the kids every time I’m with them and how they impact me. They force me to be patient and think more reasonably. They make me come up with solutions in just a few seconds- and creative ones at that. They taught me how to think and act kindly and explain things sensitively and think of others first. I thought that was something I had always done, but I really learned how to do it when I worked with kids and had to explain everything to them. Not only that, but I literally got trained to be a parent. I can feel confident in saying that I know how to change messy diapers, sooth a crying baby, handle a baby and a toddler on my own, and keep multiple children happy while maintaining my own sanity.

I know it’ll be different when I have my own, but at least for now, I don’t feel so overwhelmed or scared as to what to expect when that time comes. I miss these kids, but I’m happy knowing that I’m now in babysitting service along with a few other students from my school as well. I enjoy knowing that I can make a child smile and make them scream with happiness every time I go their house. I can’t wait to see my old kids, but I can’t wait to find new families to babysit and make smile as well.

Cover Image Credit: Emma McGee

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
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The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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Summer = Rest?

Sometimes it feels as if we need a vacation... from our vacation.

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Ah summer: Popsicles and sun burns, mixed with fresh-squeezed lemonade that local kids are pandering to make enough money for Roman candles and Black Cats. The crack of the bat can be heard among the simmering charcoal grills and Troy-bilts humming through the ever-lasting sun. School is out and children are wild. It's a paradise.

Or is it?

But after countless sports camps and tournaments, other camps, vacations, school (?) events, traveling teams, VBS, summer seems to have been sucked fun-free.

Maybe it's Hollywood and Harper Lee's fault for giving us this utopian view of what summer should look and feel like (I'm looking at you Sandlot). But how can we really rest this summer? Because everyone needs some actual rest, even adults.

First thing is do NOT pack your summer full. Say no to some things. Coaches and Families can expect too much and it's okay to say no to them. You have to. There is no time for kids to be kids anymore.

Work can take a backseat. Vacations need to be taken. Families need to reconnect.

And for all my super-scheduled people out there, please PLEASE don't schedule out your vacation. Just enjoy it.

Another bit of advice would be to put away the technology and spend some time outside. When was the last time you tried to catch lightning bugs? Or went for a swim? Or listened to birds on your front porch?

I may sound like I have an old soul, but I really feel like we have lost this connection to the outside world. Summer is all about getting a farmer's tan and getting stung once or twice. I can guarantee you that's some of the best therapy in the world.

Maybe this sounds all over the place. Maybe this sounds like me ranting. And it probably is.

But I'm telling you that this stuff matters. Don't let summer whiz by and you arrive in August more drained that you were in May. Enjoy this time with family and friends.

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