Kids like messes. Kids like dress up and painting and glitter. Kids like markers, because sometimes they aren’t allowed to use them and they have to resort to crayons. They like popsicles. Actually, they LOVE popsicles. They like sugar and playing sharks and minnows. They like winning and sometimes they like cheating. Bathroom humor is their favorite. Kids like strawberries, too, unless they are allergic. Kids like being “allergic” to things, especially things like baths (and babysitters.)
I’d know. I started booking a summer of babysitting before I even left for Italia, and although I’ve been soaking up some awesome Atlanta social events, I’ve still spent an ungodly amount of time hanging out with elementary schoolers. Sometimes it’s frustrating, sometimes it’s tiring, most of the time it’s adorable, and always it’s entertaining. Thank goodness I’m starting to figure out a few things to expect, no matter the child.
Most of all, kids like asking questions. Actual questions I’ve been asked in the past week: Do you like cake? Do you have a boyfriend? Why not? Do you say hi to boys? What is your name again, BABYSITTER!?! (said disdainfully)
Do you know how to juggle three balls? Have you ever been to a castle? How old are you? Did you know you can drink alcohol now? Does that mean you love bud light?
What is a tweet? How old is your brother? Is he annoying and stupid? Is your room clean? What’s your favorite book? Do you watch PG-13 movies? Who is your roommate? Can I sleep outside?
Speaking of sleeping outside, kids love sleeping in bizarre places. (Insert obvious quip about adults loving to sleep in strange places too, ha-ha-promiscuity-ha). My brother used to sometimes sleep under his bed. Tonight, the sweet kids I babysat tried to sleep on the couch, and when I wasn’t loving this idea, they decided to really go for it and try sleeping outside. On the driveway. The pitch for this plan included half-deflated beach ball as a pillow; it was actually somewhat well thought out.
Kids also like dipping. Not the brown-liquid, somewhat-gross, quite-cancerous Southern tobacco, but the food-in-sauce kind. In the past 3 days, I’ve seen watermelon dipped in ranch by one child and ketchup by the next. Since when is watermelon good in dipping sauce? Is this a new culinary trend I’m not aware of?
Most of all, little kids are OBSESSED with the idea of becoming boyfriend-girlfriend with someone. I field deeper questions on my relationship status from five-year olds than I do from my friends; Nothing screams rock-bottom like questioning your romantic flaws with a kindergardener. They dig so deep!
It doesn’t get more classic than two elementary schoolers who have taken the plunge and become “boyfriend-girlfriend.” Just yesterday I was listening to the relationship problems of a seven year old and his “girlfriend” after he showed me her yearbook headshot. “I wanted to go see kung-fu panda. She wanted to have a candle-light dinner! Ick.”
Sounds like girlfrand has seen Beauty and the Beast one too many times, buddy. All I can say to your seven year old broken heart is goooood luck. On your first real candlelight dinner date, whenever that may be, your constant questions will seem charmingly selfless and your desire to sleep under the stars spontaneous and endearing.
I’d leave out the dipping-carrots-in-ketchup-thing; Then again, I’m just the babysitter. What do I know?