For an explanation of my NaBloPoMo theme, click here.
I didn’t do much babysitting when I was a kid. This is partially because my parents used me as their free, live-in sitter for my brother, leaving me bitter about babysitting in general (even the kind where I got paid) and partially because, well, I just don’t like kids all that much. (At least not enough that the measly pay to be received was worth spending my evening with them.)
However, one of the few kids that I did like babysitting for was Mikey. Mikey was the son of a woman whose parents lived around the corner from us. I had idolized her growing up, because she was older and had permed hair and wore lots of mascara. (She was truly a child of the 80’s.) Mikey’s mother had moved to the town next to ours, and she was a single mom, which meant that if she had any hope of getting out of the house she needed to hire a babysitter. Enter moi.
I must have been 13 or 14 during the time that I babysat Mikey. I know he was about a year old at the time. Mikey was a cute kid – very agreeable, easy to please, and usually asleep about 2 hours into my babysitting gig, leaving me plenty of time for watching TV and talking on the phone with my friends.
One particular Saturday evening, I was scheduled to babysit while Mikey’s mom went to a bachelorette party for one of her friends. I came over around 6 or so and was planning to stay until 2ish while Mikey’s mom had a big night out. (I remember thinking it was so cool that she was going to to stay out so late, and I remember adoring her giant hoop earrings and tube top. Oh, what a loser I was.)
Things were going well with Mikey. It was around 7, which meant time for a bottle and maybe reading a story. I had to go to the bathroom, so I put Mikey in his crib for a minute. Except Mikey no likey – he started screaming his head off.
So, fine, I figured – the kid can come in the bathroom and sit there while I pee. No big deal. I put him on the floor, finished my business quickly, washed up, and… the door handle wouldn’t turn. Hmm. That’s odd. Maybe if I just pull a little bit harder. Nope. Maybe if I try to stick something in the door frame? Maybe if I pull as hard as I possibly can???
After half an hour of cursing at the door and trying everything I could think of to get it to open, I gave up on it. It wasn’t going anywhere, and there was nothing my scrawny teenage self could do to make it open. (At least not without tools of some kind, and the only things available to me were blush and a rubber ducky.) So I tried to make the best of the situation. We played with bath toys and sang songs. We played in the sink. We played pattycake. It was fine… for a while.
Bath toys and pattycake can only get you so far. Because after a while, Mikey wasn’t having any of it. He was hungry, he was bored, and he was in desperate need of a diaper change. And after 2+ hours in that bathroom, I was feeling ready to scream as loud as Mikey was.
What to do, what to do. I surveyed the situation. The apartment was on the first floor, but the bathroom window was still up very high, and it was very small. There was no way for me to climb out of it, especially with Mikey, and I couldn’t leave him in there alone even if I could climb out by myself.
I realized that I’d have to yell out to someone passing by, but the bathroom window faced a courtyard that clearly didn’t see a lot of foot traffic. And so I spent the next hour and a half trying to calm Mikey while still climbing onto the toilet every minute or so to peer out the window for someone, ANYONE, to help us.
Finally, I saw someone walking underneath the lights on the other side of the courtyard. “Excuse me!” I yelled, and then crossed my fingers that the person could hear me.
“What? Are you talking to me?” the person yelled back.
“Yes, please come here! I’m stuck!”
“What? Stuck where?”
“Well, I’m stuck in… the bathroom…”
“Is this a joke??”
“Just please come over here!”
As the old man made his way over to the window, I considered how to best explain the situation. “So… I’m babysitting, and we were in the bathroom, and the door is stuck and I can’t get out.”
The old man was very nice, but refused to believe that the door was actually not opening. He kept suggesting that I try pulling harder, and turning the handle, and blah blah, until I said (trying very hard not to be rude), “Nothing has worked, and I really just want to get out of this bathroom. Can you please go get someone who can help??”
Old man scurried off to find the building’s Super, and we continued our wait. Mikey was now an inconsolable mess, and we were both hungry, tired, and cranky. Finally the Super arrived, and used his key to open the front door to the apartment. Except… I had the security chain on. So now it was another 20 minute search for some bolt cutters.
Finally, finally, there were people on the other side of the bathroom door. I felt vindicated when they tried to open the door and failed (I TOLD you it wouldn’t open!) and then we waited some more while more tools were found. Eventually they took the door off its hinges and we were finally free.
This is one of those stories that I will never live down. For years, whenever I would excuse my self to use the facilities, someone would have to speak up with, ‘don’t get stuck!’ However, I’m sure you can now see why babysitting was not the job for me.