Sunday, April 08, 2012

Spiral Notebook Sunday: Tuesday, October 20, 1987

Lately, Seventh Niece (who will be three in June) has taken to hissing like a cat when she is so displeased that words fail her. She has done it a couple of times to Daughter-Only or I and her mother reports that it's happened at home as well. As the youngest of six siblings, it's perhaps not surpising that she might find herself annoyed or overwhelmed from time to time.

It got me thinking about an incident that happened with another three-year-old in my life--one I babysat briefly just after I got married. I was nineteen at the time and hired to babysit full time, with light housekeeping duties, which seemed like an ideal job to me since I'd always been great with kids and enjoyed being around them.

The reality was somewhat less than ideal. It became apparent pretty early on that nearly four-year-old Lindsay and her seven-year-old brother Corey were demon spawn. In addition, it was a two family household--Lindsay and Corey's mother (Diane) lived with her sister and her two kids, who were teenagers, which meant that the housekeeping was signifcantly less light than implied in the original ad. Within weeks, my paychecks began bouncing on a fairly regular basis. Eventually, I had to threaten Diane with legal action in order to get the last of the money she owed me.

Tonight's Spiral Notebook Entry is a glimpse into a morning with Lindsay.


Tuesday, October 20, 1987

First thing this morning, Lindsay went up to the bathroom and came down bawling hysterically because Vito had bitten her. What she didn't mention was that she had slammed Vito's tail in the bathroom window so he was hanging there by his tail and when she tried to pull him out, he wasn't pleased at all. By the time I got up there, Vito had nearly wiggled himself loose and I lifted the window just a bit to let him the rest of the way out. Now the only question remaining is did Lindsay do it on purpose?

It was a few hours ago and Vito seems to have forgiven Lindsay completely for whatever part she played in this whole episode. As for Lindsay, she had a scratch on her hand that was worth a good ten minutes of whimpering and cuddling, but she seems to have forgotten it completely since then. 


  1. Ahh, what lengths the youngest will do to get a little attention. Look at what Lindsay had to do to get a few minutes of cuddling. It sounds like that whole family was struggling.

    1. That's so true. Though the situation wasn't outright abusive, the kids didn't have much positive attention from the adults in their lives. It was as though they were afterthoughts who often took a back seat not only to their mom's work schedule but to her "play" schedule as well. I have wondered off and on during the years how things worked out for all of them.

  2. I was a nanny at 19, I flew out to NY to live. It's funny how the description of the job never turns out like the actual one.

  3. It's so tough being in an environment where you just want to make everything right and raise kids properly, when they're not your own...heartbreaking.

  4. Yowch! Poor Vito.

    With families like that, you do have to wonder how it all turned out.