The Best Babysitter Since Sliced Bread

, , , , | Related | April 24, 2018

(I have a second cousin who is autistic, and is about five years old. He often comes to family parties, and I’m usually the one to watch him, since I’m decent with kids and he likes being with me. His mom appreciates the break, and I have fun playing with him. At this particular party, my dad has made focaccia, an Italian bread that is made in a baking pan. It’s about an inch thick, and you eat it by itself. My cousin and his mom have just arrived, so I grab two pieces of focaccia and give one to him. His mom smiles at me.)

His Mom: “Good luck getting him to eat that. He won’t eat bread by itself.”

(This isn’t out of the ordinary, since my second cousin is extremely picky. However, I am still pretty embarrassed, and secretly wish I had asked first. Although he isn’t really eating it, my cousin still wants to hold the bread, so I let him keep it as we go to the basement. In the basement, my cousin wants to play with the exercise machine. He gives me his focaccia, which he has nibbled on, but hasn’t actually eaten. On a whim, I tear off a small piece and give it to him. To my surprise, he eats it! I am very surprised, but rather cheerful, since that means the bread won’t go to waste. Piece by tiny piece, my cousin finishes that piece of bread, until it is gone. I tell his mom what happened.)

Me: “…and he ate the piece! Turns out, he just didn’t like biting it!”

(His mom gives me a funny look.)

His Mom: “Sooo… When do you want to start babysitting him?”

(Since they live about an hour and a half away, I haven’t gotten the chance to watch him yet, but I do hope to watch him soon!)

Parenting Pays

, , , , , | Related | April 23, 2018

Once while out shopping, my husband saw a terrible child and quietly slipped our kids each a quarter “for not being that kid.” It became a family “thing.” Sometimes the kids will see awful behavior and just hold out their hands. This joke persists to this day.

When our son was in high school, he and his dad went to a game shop. They were standing in line when another family came in. The mother in the other family was awful. She was swearing and rude and pushy.

Our son silently looked at my husband, pulled a dollar out of his pocket, and gave it to his dad. Later, he said that the woman was so awful that his dad deserved a dollar for “really, really not being that parent!”

Phoning In The Discipline

, , , , | Related | April 23, 2018

(Since I’m an only child of a large family tree, I’m a bit of a loner, comparatively. I don’t mind being by myself and actually enjoy silence, which is the complete opposite of most of my family. One day, I take a roadtrip with my mom and members of her side of the family. We end up carpooling with one of my aunts, her husband, and their three kids. My uncle is driving, with me right behind him, and my aunt is in the passenger seat, with my mother directly behind her. All my cousins are shoved in the back. We’re all chatting amongst ourselves, but my aunt is admittedly monopolizing most of the conversation. After a while, I get bored and pull out my phone to read. I reason that, since no one is directly talking to me, and some of my cousins are also on their phone, this is all right.)

Aunt: “[My Name]! Are you paying attention?”

Me: “Huh? Oh, no, sorry.”

Aunt: “Ugh, your generation and phones. Always texting and never talking with the actual people around you!”

(I put away my phone to pay attention more to the conversation, but it turns out she didn’t want to say anything specific to me, as she’s sharing a story. After a few minutes, I pull my phone out again, but my aunt reaches over from her seat and plucks it away from my hands.)

Me: “Hey!”

Aunt: “I warned you already! Now you can’t use it for the rest of the ride!” *slips my phone into HER purse*

(I glance back at a cousin sitting behind me, who’s been on his phone this whole time.)

Me: “But—”

Aunt: “You had your chance. You’re being disrespectful!”

Mom: “She has a point, [My Name]. Besides, we’re traveling through the countryside. Why don’t you enjoy the view?”

(I’m frustrated, but decide not to argue. After trying and failing to pay attention to their conversation, I do what I normally do, and what anyone else probably does and has done without the aid of their phones: I daydream. My mind takes me to the medical article I was reading and branches out in crazy directions. After a while, however…)

Aunt: “[My Name]?”

Me: “Hm?”

(I look at my aunt, staring at me strangely.)

Aunt: “What… What are you thinking about, sweetie?”

(At that moment, I was remembering a surgical video where a doctor removed some sort of gnarly cyst from a patient’s back. Knowing that’s a squeamish and gross topic for most, I freeze.)

Me: “Uh… You don’t want to know.”

(I immediately look back out the window, but not before hearing my mom and uncle chuckle to themselves. We’re stuck driving for another hour before hitting a rest stop. After I’ve taken my bathroom break, my aunt approaches, wordlessly hands me my phone back, and passes me to use the bathroom.)

Me: “Uh…”

Mom: “Wow, I guess she really was bothered.”

Me: “Wait, what?”

Uncle: “Aw, she gave you back your phone? That’s the most quiet [Aunt] has been in years!

(Turns out, I was really zoned out and hadn’t noticed when they started talking about me. Specifically, my aunt freaked out and asked my mom what was wrong with me. My aunt wasn’t used to seeing any of her own kids staying calm while doing nothing, so when she saw me sitting there, dead-eyed and perfectly still, it had creeped the crap out of her. I didn’t help matters when she asked what I was thinking about, and it caused her to stay silent most of the ride, periodically looking over her shoulder at me, unnerved by it all. On the plus side, I was able to use my phone until we reached our destination. If anything, I was surprisingly more attentive when I needed to be, compared to my cousins who complained and fought with each other when our phones ended up having bad reception!)

And I Like Turtles!

, , , , | Related | April 22, 2018

(My younger cousins come over to my house. For some reason, my brother and I are arguing whether girls and boys on the whole tend to have biological personality differences, or whether it’s society and upbringing. I am about 11 or so, my brother is around nine, and my cousins are around five and three, as far as I can recall. My cousins are asked their opinion.)

My Five-Year-Old Cousin: *paraphrased* “I think some boys are like boys and some are like girls, and vice versa.”

My Three-Year-Old Cousin: “I think boys and girls are different from crocodiles.”

Call Of The Dead

, , , , | Related | April 21, 2018

(For many years, my father has been famous in his circle of friends for the… unique greetings he records for the family answering machine. I call their house phone today and get the following:)

Message: “Hi, this is the [Our Last Name]’s answering machine. They say life begins when the kids move out and the dog dies. Since we still have a healthy and active dog, I guess we’re not alive. If you wish to speak with the undead, please leave your name, number, and a brief message, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks.”

(I left a message asking if I should call back later or just double-tap. Looking forward to the reply!)

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