Saturday, March 25, 2006

A Babysitter's Nightmare

Thursday was the most eventful day I’ve seen in a while! It began in the morning, as days usually do with me awaking around 6:30am. The sunlight was already streaming in and for the second time since Jane has been here, I felt perky. Brandon seems to scoff at the idea of me being “perky” in the morning, but that’s what it was. (I should mention that Jane has been here for a week and plans to stay until the second week of May when we will head south all together for a couple of weddings.) I bounced out of bed, got dressed, made breakfast, washed dishes, fed the family, and was in my painting clothes getting some paint out by a little after 8am. To make a long explanation short, I was painting the boy’s closet so we could put their toys in their and leave the door off completely, but it was a pale green color that made the place dark. I trimmed the closet in- good ole dover white- and then Jane swapped with me and I cared for the kids while she rolled the closet. We had three coats trimmed in and two coats rolled by lunch time.

At lunch I fed the kids Jane’s help and then she graciously allowed Brandon and I to leave early for his doctor appointment and have lunch out together. We had a lovely lunch at Longhorn’s thanks to a coupon we’d been given for a “buy 1 get 1 free” lunch entrée. I had some LaFayette Chicken and Brandon had a burger. We got Fried Cheesecake for dessert and that was some of the most yummy stuff I’ve had! Afterwards we ran a few errands and made our way to the dermatologist. Brandon was scheduled to have three moles excised and I was just along for the ride- or the drive home rather. We arrived just before 3:30- the time for his appointment and as we were pulling in, I called Jane to see how things were going:

Mary: Hi, Jane. I just thought I’d call to see how things were going there.

Jane: Well….it certainly has been a different afternoon.

I’ll stop the word for word stuff here because I won’t get the rest accurate, but I think I can communicate the basic idea. JEFF! Actually, Jane told me that Jeff had gone down for his nap at 1pm, but that at 2pm, when she put Rachel down for her nap, she discovered that he was engaged in another activity altogether than napping. She found him sitting in a pool of white paint on the floor just inside his bedroom. To be more precise, it was about 3 and 1/4 quarts of white paint- the entire gallon can having been emptied. You see the top hadn’t been put all the way firmly on and Jeff just thought it was a great thing to play with. Jane later told me that he was completely white from about the chest down with a few spots in his hair (some still remain) and on his face. So she spent the next 2 hours and 30 min. cleaning up Jeff and the paint.

When I called about 3:30pm- I phoned Kimberly and asked her to please go over and help Jane and she did. I was comforted knowing that someone was there to help her and just be a support as well as keep Jeff out of trouble while Jane cleaned the floor.

Brandon got out of his appointment just after 4:45pm and as I was leaving around 5pm, I decided to phone Jane again and see if things were back to normal. (I think somewhere in there I had called her to see if Kimberly had come and she had.)

Mary: Hi, Jane. So….are you dead yet?

Jane: Yes (sob, sob, wail, wail)
Jane explained that Kimberly had to leave to check on some food at home and while she was gone and Jane was in the bathroom, Jeff escaped from the house. When she went searching for him, she found him on the steps in the front hall of the main house having just emptied an entire bottle of baby shampoo onto the stairs, both hardwood and carpet, in a puddle. At that point I think she sort of lost it. I personally don’t understand why she didn’t loose it over the paint, I would have, but she didn’t. It was the shampoo that did it. She told me also that when she came back home from the shampoo and finished telling the older boys to go outside she found Jeff standing in the kitchen with an opened bottle of PineSol prepared to dump the contents on the floor. She caught him just in time.

I called Kimberly again and she had already found the shampoo and was cleaning it up, so I thanked her again for rescuing Jane. When I got home, I told Jane to go take a break and that I was sorry that every thing had gone so hard.

Mary: You’re probably not going to let us ever go anywhere again!

Jane: No, you just have to take Jeff with you!

I’m still not sure why God chose to let all these things happen, or why it happened to her, or why it had to be on a day that I wasn’t around to do anything, but I do know this: Jane had a great attitude about it and I would have cried long before she did. She also was seen holding Jeff in her lap later that evening and I realize how perfectly it displayed the love of Christ. And there’s nothing that helps like getting out and shopping, which we did after the kids went to bed.

I’ve joked to a lot of people that I have slave labor at my house for the next few weeks and she does have a servant spirit, but even slave labor doesn’t have to possess the kind of love and self sacrifice that she displayed that day!

Now, don’t get worried…my kids aren’t always like this- in fact, I told Jane I thought she had dealt with one of the largest disasters in our house I had ever heard of. The paint and shampoo were way above the level of the toilet fingerpainting, or James hitting Jonathon in the face with a hammer to wake him up in the middle of the night (though that was more violent). This was by far the most time consuming and potentially the most difficult because there was virtually noone to be a support. Well, there was Kimberly, and I don’t mean to discount her help, but I usually have Brandon at my beck and call for emergencies and we were both gone!

Since that day, we’ve kept the paint out of the room. Actually, the closet is finished, but even if it wasn’t there would be NO paint in there. Friday, we were more vigilant with Jeff’s discipline and as a result, the second half of the day he was very obedient.
Well, there’s my Sabbath post for the day. Hope you all enjoyed it. I’ll just leave you with a few disclaimers. I did not make any of this up. If reading this makes you feel that you should avoid having children or getting married or babysitting my children or babysitting children in general, or visiting my house ever again, please call me to discuss the situation before making such rash decisions and I’ll be happy to give you the other side of the coin. I do love them.


Mrs. RF said...

Three cheers for Jane and her great attitude. (Just think what fun it would be to play in a gallon of paint!)

Kim Kelley said...

WOW Jeff sounds like my nephew.. Good job Jane for keeping a great attitude. I would have lost it.. I always do when it comes to little kids

brilynne said...


lis said...

Three cheers for Jane!

And no, Mary, I'm not scared away from borrowing your kids again. Just gotta get in the same hemispheeeere....

TripleNine said...

OY VEY!! I can't even imagine what I would do if faced with a day like that. Three cheers to both you and Jane for raising them as well as you are.

Eva said...


Well, I have to say after reading this post that I've given up having kids or babysitting kids, oh wait, it's too late! Ok, so I'll keep the kids, but I know the kind of day, and believe me I believe that all of that happened. No doubt whatsoever in my mind! I'll let you guess why!