The Babysitter …. oops! 2004
I can do a lot of things, l am however not very practical, and l am somewhat clumsy. Worse than that, l am logically clumsy in comparison to naturally clumsy and before you say it, yes there is a difference. I am mostly clumsy because l don’t think and whilst it would be all too easy to say l am on the spectrum and therefore l am naturally clumsy, whilst l don’t deny there is an element of that, mostly accidents happen with me because l am always too much in a hurry to get things done, so l don’t look or l am just generally impatient.
Of the many things l can do, most of those are in the academic line rather than the physical line. But there are a few things that l most assuredly cannot do, and one of these is ‘Babysitting’, l am too hyperfocused at times and of course this too can lead to accidents, not normally from me but from others, this tale is about one of those hyperfocused accidents.
The other night Suze and l were watching a series on Netflix called Scorption. We don’t watch a lot of TV generally, but try and find a long running series, and watch at least one episode a night after dinner for wind down, and we have been watching this series for the last few months. It’s okay, although at times the main charactor portrayed as in Walter O’Brien gets a little bit annoying with his “I am a genius and l have a 197 IQ!” Which is the cause of huge controversial debate anyway, however not wishing to digress were watching this episode called Bat Poop Crazy and in it was this scene concerning Ralph and Halloween candy called ‘Too Much Candy!”
In 2004, l was married to my now ex-wife, and l was tasked with the job of babysitting the 5 year old son of her two best friends, Steve and Elaine who had two kids, Jake and Abigail. Steve and Elaine were due to get married having been together for a number of years, and Steve had finally popped the question to Elaine, she had accepted and so they were readying themselves for the big day….which just happened to be the day after l was babysitting Jake!
I had been working with the animals all day and so was incredibly tired when l walked through the door that afternoon, to be met by my wife who was explaining to me that l had to babysit Jake, whilst She, Elaine and Steve attended the wedding rehearsal at the church with their daughter Abigail. At my own concession l wasn’t particularly impressed with this role. Jake was okay, but a real handful at times and worse than that, l had been slogging almost 18 hour days with the business so was pretty drained myself, and all l really wanted to do was walk the dogs and enjoy some quiet downtime with the TV. Also l have never really responded well to changes being thrust into my face with no advance warning, so this was a true handful.
My wife had been given a huge box of chocolates as a thankyou for ‘babysitting’, which was kind of ironic considering l was babysitting and she was there because she was a bridesmaid helping with the rehearsal! However, the time l was told was 5.30pm and Jake was arriving at 6.30pm, so l had just enough time to walk all the dogs [we had six back then] and be back for Jake, when the rest of them departed for the night.
Come half six, l was there when Jake walked through the door with everyone following and within five minutes, they had departed and were due back in a few hours, so l had Jake, the dogs and the cats and l was tasked with entertaining him!
I didn’t have a clue how to entertain Jake, so asked him what video he might like to watch, which was Thomas the Bloody Tank which did occupy him for all of the first 15 minutes, until l heard “Uncle Rory, do you think it will be okay if l can have one of those chocolates?” He asked pointing at the box of chocolates that my wife had been given.
“Sure Jake, but not many ok, the last thing we need is for you to become ill on the eve of your parents big day eh?”
“Sure Uncle Rory, yeah that would be bad, my Dad would kill you!” He answered.
I can’t stand being called Uncle, l am an Uncle to my Sister’s kids, but to no one else, and as l am not even an Uncle in their eyes, just their Mother’s Brother, l have never felt comfortable being called Uncle by someone who is not even related to me, however he was five and that wasn’t his fault, just my wifes! Jake was a smart cookie at five, oddly enough it turned out he was an Aspie like myself, so there we go, however neither he or most assuredly l knew back then we were both on the spectrum. But looking back l can see the problem for the night! He was a five year old smart ass and l was a dumb 41 year old sleepy twit!
I fetched the chocolates down and put the huge tin on the floor, opened it up and discovered it wasn’t just a two tiered tin, but a three tiered tin, and so with the box open, offered him a choice of two chocolates from the top layer.
I had a chocolate fudge, he selected two of his own and we settled down on the couch to watch Thomas the Tank. I guess the time must’ve been about ten to seven or something of that nature anyway. I don’t remember much of the video ………..
…….. but l do remember waking up about 9pm to the sound of screaming!!!?
I launched off the chair and stood there bleary eyed looking at all the startled faces of the dogs and cats looking at me as if l was a loony tune! Nothing was wrong, well that is if you didn’t have a problem with a five year old watching Hellraiser!
“Jake!! What are you doing??” I yelled as l quickly reached for the remote and turned off the TV, and ejected the video. “When did you put that on?”
Well what followed next was a mini horror of its own, as Jake turned he reminded me of Chucky with his grin and his incessant babbling and gibbering speech which was travelling at about 90 mph?
“Slow down Jake what on earth are you on about, no slow down, why are you talking so fast!!?” I stammered, still half asleep and wondering why Jake had suddenly transformed into Chucky? At the same time two things happened one; the telephone rang and it was my wife saying that they were on their way home and Steve and Elaine would collect Jake, and two as l was speaking on the phone, the full horror was opening up in front of me as l looked around the loungeroom and saw sweet wrappers everywhere!
Oh my God!! I screamed inwardly to myself.
“Yeah, sure no problem, no he’s been fine, yeah, yeah and yeah he has been an angel.” I answered as panic swept through me.
Once off the phone l turned to Jake and said “How many chocolates have you had Jake?” i reached for the tin and saw that the crafty little sod had eaten the entire bottom tray and half of the middle tray!! Oh grief, this wasn’t just bad, this was seriously bad, Steve would slaughter me!
I sat down beside jake and asked him how long ago he had eaten the chocolates, and he answered that he was feeling a little bit ‘grumbled in his tummy’ and so had stopped eating. Phew l thought, maybe that’s not so bad. I made a pact with a five year old that night, that he mustn’t tell his Mummy and Daddy about the chocolates he had eaten, and it cost me £10. Ten quid! Boy this sod was shrewd.
Everyone arrived back ten minutes later, Jake was collected and as we said goodbye and that we would see each other the next day, he winked and gave me the thumbs up. You wouldn’t think he was five!
I had a hell of a time explaining to my wife why the chocolates were half eaten. “It was a full tin Rory when l left, l hate you for this! They were my chocolates and you have practically scoffed the lot! Did you even have the decency to offer Jake one? Or were you too busy just noshing away?”
It was pointless arguing with my wife, who had a serious weight problem, and wasn’t really allowed the chocolates any more than Jake and were! So l just made the appropriate hand gestures and let her carry on. So pissed off with me as she was, l even had to spend the night on the couch and had to endure the dreaded silence all the next morning, all the way through the wedding and she only spoke to me at one point in the day.
After the service, l saw Jake speeding around like Taz, l mean he must have been close to 120 mph around all the guests at the wedding. My wife came up to me and said “Last night? Jake? You? Anything untoward happen?”
“Untoward? What do you mean untoward? It’s a funny word isn’t it? Un To Ward rolls off your tongue l think.”
“Damn it Rory, that’s the guilty you, you are lying, you can’t lie why try?” She demanded.“I ask because last night, the moment Jake got through the door he ran to the kicthen and drank almost a litre of Coke in one sitting and started spinning around the room like a bat out of hell, and if that wasn’t bad enough, at 4am this morning he started projectile vomiting all over his room, and Steve and Elaine have been up all night and thought that he may have to go to hospital – BUT Stewart found a chocolate wrapper in his trouser pocket? Any ideas how that got there?”
“Blimey did he really, you don’t think it was the Coke he drank do you? I mean he had a few chocolates, like l did…” I stuttered.
“Oh grief Rory how many did he have?”
“I fell asleep, l guess he may have had twenty by the time l woke up. Ooops!!”
“Ooops? Did you bribe him to not say anything, as they also found a ten pound note in his pocket? But he said you let him have it?? If you did, as Steve is ready to knock your head off, deny everything!”
Before l could answer, Steve walked over with Jake hand in hand, “Alright fella, anything you want to tell me?”
I looked at Jake who winked and shook his head no.
“Hey Steve, congratulations and all that, no, nothing. Sorry to hear about Jake though, tough break.”
Steve looked at me with a sly ‘l know you did this you prick’ look, and walked off with Jake still holding his hand. However just when l thought l had gotten away with it, Jake turned around and said “It’s okay Uncle Rory, l didn’t tell them about the chocolates!”
I ran out of that garden to the pub that day with Steve running behind me, l think l may even have run a good two miles before l stopped. It took them a year to forgive me, and l never once babysat for Jake or anyone else’s kids after that – ever! You see, l am not very practical, l will try my hand at anything, just not babysitting again!
There was some good to come out of it as well, my wife didn’t speak to me for a week!