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Thanks, But No Spanks

, , , , | Right | May 17, 2022

I am a stay-at-home mom and am looking at possibly watching additional children to help contribute to my family’s finances. I post a few listings and a man reaches out to me. We chat for a while.

Caller: “What’s your take on spanking?”

Me: “I believe in other forms of discipline. I’ve worked with many children your daughters’ ages and am able to work with them to come to an understanding.”

Caller: “But you’d be an expansion of us. Like a third parent. We would need you to spank them.”

Me: “I am not comfortable spanking children.”

Caller: “Well, we would need you to when we hire you.”

Me: “I’m sorry. It sounds like we’re probably not going to be a good fit. I wish you luck in your search for childcare.”

By the way, his children were ten and twelve.

If You’re Going To Call The Police, Just Do It And Go Away, Part 2

, , , , , , | Friendly | May 14, 2022

I previously posted a story about how I got harassed for the audacity of being male while watching my friend’s child for her. The man who harassed me would often send his son to “investigate” me after that incident because he never seemed to accept that a man could actually care about kids and like spending time with them.

This story happened about a year after the last one. It was Halloween and I’d offered to take my friend’s kids trick-or-treating since their mother wouldn’t be able to; she had certain chronic health issues that could limit her physical activity. I had both of her sons outside already dressed for trick-or-treating, but we were waiting for their older teenaged sister who was tagging along despite being a bit old to trick-or-treat. As we waited outside, the son of the man who harassed me ran up to visit with the boys I was watching.

The son was acting normally this time, with none of the stilted and obviously forced asking of questions I saw when he was sent as a proxy of his father, so I assumed he was coming of his own volition this time to visit the boys. He was dressed up as a martial artist, and after chatting with the kids for a bit, he got excited and started mock-fighting them.  

At first, I was fine with some harmless mock-fighting, but the kid was getting too worked up and out of control. The odds of his actually hurting someone unintentionally were increasing, and my kids didn’t seem to be enjoying it anymore. I cautioned him that he should stop being so forceful, but he was too excited and didn’t heed my warning. Before anyone condemns this kid too much, I don’t think he was malicious, and I consider this sort of not being good at curtailing your play to be pretty common with kids that age; he wasn’t a terrible kid, just an overly-excited one.

I’m pretty used to getting tag-along kids wanting to join in with the play whatever kids I’m watching are doing, so I have some experience with trying to control and regulate play with kids that I don’t know well, but that doesn’t make it easy. Even in the best of cases, there is always a chance a parent will get offended if you try to tell their kid to do, or not do, something, and I already knew this kid’s father thought I was secretly a pedophile, so I doubted I’d be getting the benefit of the doubt there. So, rather than trying to force the kid to stop playing, I decided it was safer to redirect him.

I should mention now that I have first dan black belt in Tae Kwon Do. That isn’t too impressive since it’s only first dan and was from a tiny McDojo; I’m quite certain if I ever ended up in a real fight I’d still get my butt handed to me despite the black belt. However, it was a good excuse to distract the kid by first mentioning I was a black belt and then “challenging” him to a fight. He flared at me with even less control then he had with the boys, but I had enough sparring experience to at least be able to avoid the uncontrolled “attacks” of a hyper little kid easily enough. I’d throw the occasional mock kicks back at him, and he was safely entertained without any risk of a kid being hurt. I considered this a successful handling of the situation.

I’m sure everyone can guess what happened next. Lo and behold, the father belatedly showed up. 

Father: “What are you doing?! Get away from him!”

Me: “We are waiting to go trick-or-treating. Your son is the one who approached us.”

Father: “Why are you playing with him?”

Me: “Because I was worried he would hurt the boys with the way he was playing, so I distracted him.”

Father: “I didn’t say you could play with him!”

At some point during this exchange, my friend’s boys’ older sister had come outside; I honestly didn’t notice when. She now spoke up with the sort of sarcastic disdain that only a teenager can manage, ramped up to eleven.

Older Sister: “And we didn’t say [Kid] could kick my brothers. If you don’t want him playing with strangers, maybe you should be watching him better.”

Man: “Where’s your mother?!”

Older Sister: “In her room. I’m not getting her for you again. We are going trick-or-treating now.”

Man: “What? I didn’t—”

Me: “Sorry, but we are going to be late for trick-or-treating. Now that everyone’s ready, let’s go to the car, kids.”

Man: “You’re taking them without their mom?”

Older Sister: “Yes, like she said he could because she trusts him to, because he is good at taking care of my brothers, and we like him. You take care of your kid, and let us take care of my brothers.”

He tried a few more lame attempts to get me to answer his questions, but his righteous anger seemed to have been deflated by now, so I mostly brushed him off by intentionally ignoring the implied question behind what he was saying and giving him polite non-answers for the minute it took for me to get the kids in the car.

During that car ride, I learned that, apparently, this man had shown up at least twice to ask their mom about “the strange man” who was with her kids, and her daughter had grown quite annoyed with him after listening in on one of those conversations. Everyone in the household, minus the youngest kid who was too young to fully understand what was happening, was pretty much in agreement that he was an idiot and they weren’t going to put up with him anymore.

If You’re Going To Call The Police, Just Do It And Go Away

Knowing No Peace With Her For A Niece

, , , , , | Related | April 22, 2022

Because of the large age difference between me and my brother, my niece is significantly older than my own son. While normally having a default babysitter is a blessing, it would be better if she didn’t remember my own behaviour as a young twenty-something and wasn’t egged on by her dad seeking revenge for when I was her babysitter.

When my son was a toddler, he had an intolerance for dairy, and therefore wasn’t allowed ice cream. She got him sherbet.

When my son was struggling with his reading, I said he wasn’t allowed to watch Pokémon until he read at least two books on weekends. She got him the Pokémon novel set.

When there was a heatwave, I said my son wasn’t allowed to play outside because he’d already gotten heatstroke twice. She took him to the ice skate rink.

When I had to take back my promise to take them both to the movies because I was stuck working multiple shifts in a row, she took him to watch the latest Marvel movie without me. (And then they both spoiled the whole thing for me.)

When I tried to block naughty websites, my son worked out how to bypass my nanny filter. She blocked the sites for both of us.

I grounded my son because he wasn’t participating in English class. She showed him how to find the “inappropriate” jokes in Shakespeare’s plays. Now he participates too much.

My son is now nearly an adult. He is considering becoming a lawyer. It’s her fault, I’m sure.

As Long As He Doesn’t Progress To “Smashed”

, , , , , , , | Friendly | February 19, 2022

A close friend offered to babysit the entire weekend of New Year’s so we could have one more night on the town before our second child arrived. On New Year’s Day, I checked my phone and saw our friend had sent us a video.

The video had him hitting our son on the head with an inflatable mallet that squeaked each time it hit him. Our son kept laughing and was clearly having fun.

The caption for his video read:

Friend: “Just thought you should know [Son] has opted to celebrate New Year’s in the traditional manner of getting hammered.”

I Don’t Get Paid Extra To Babysit Customers

, , , , , | Right | CREDIT: pfghost | November 25, 2021

This happened a few years ago when I was a babysitter. I was working at a grocery chain and going to school. In the little free time I had, I slept at a friend’s house to be there with her three kids while she went to work. The kids were old enough to take care of themselves but not old enough to know what to do in an emergency.

One day after work, I went over as my friend was leaving, and there was no food.

Friend: “I don’t get paid until tomorrow. They can have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner.”

When we checked, there was only enough peanut butter for one sandwich. No biggie; there was another grocery store right down the street, so I could buy them something cheap for dinner. I drove all three kids to the grocery store and we started picking out dinner.

Here is where I kind of understand the confusion. Yes, I worked for the grocery chain, and I was in uniform, but I worked at a different store, and I was wearing a jacket so you could not see my uniform, and I was pushing a cart with three kids around me. You could clearly see that I was shopping.

I guess the top of my shirt poked out and this lady could see my uniform, because she came over and asked where something was.

Me: “It’s in the aisle with the condiments.”

The stores are laid out similarly.

Customer: “I checked there and didn’t see it.”

Me: “They might be out, then. I saw a worker at the end of the aisle behind us; you could ask him.”

Customer: “I asked you and you need to check.”

Me: “I don’t work at this location. I’m watching the kids here.”

Customer: “It’s so irresponsible of you to have kids at your age! And you brought them to work with you?!”

I was so tired that we just walked away. The kids were staying close because they were pretty freaked out by the woman. I told them to not say anything and keep walking. The lady followed us for a bit, ranting, until she found another poor soul.

I was at the checkout when the lady came over with a manager.

Manager: “Why wouldn’t you help this woman?”

Me: “I work at [Location], and obviously, I’m here just to get dinner for the kids.”

He sighed — he was obviously tired, too — and then walked away with the woman. The lady glared at me but followed the manager.