Friday, February 20, 2009

Five Year Old Sitter

I discovered something today. Five year-olds do not make good babysitters.
I'm thinking that many of you will not be surprised by this. I, however was.

My five year old LOVES her baby sister. She asks what 'jobs' she can do to help me with Jnr. all day long.

She helps with diaper changes. (Mostly so she can comment on the color and smell of the contents!)
Assists with feeds and baths. Runs to get clothes and binkies. No job is too dull. It's amazing. I fully expected the novelty to have worn off months ago.

So imagine my surprise when all of sudden the loving care just ground to a screeching halt.
I needed to take a shower. It had been a few days since my last one (Insert your poor British hygiene joke here.)
So, I put baby in her crib with a big pile of toys and asked the five year-old to sit nearby with her book.
"Yes mummy" she said with pride "I can do it."
"Come and get me if she's crying, OK?"
I jump in the shower.

If you are a parent you will know that the shower becomes one of your favorite places in the world.
(Assuming you are getting to take one without children.) It's indulgent and luxurious. It doesn't ask anything of you but makes you feel good all over. It's a place to think independent adult thoughts. Relax, cry or just veg.
I turn the shower of feeling rejuvenated.
Then I hear the screaming. Full on, blood curdling, screaming. I bolt into the bedroom, naked and dripping.
A million catastrophic scenarios racing through my head.

There in her crib is the 9 month old, purple faced with tears flying out of her eyes at a 90 degree angle. There's no blood, or any other apparent problem.
Sitting calmly at the foot of the crib is the five year-old reading. READING!
Not even aware of the distress one foot above her. How is this possible?
"What happened sweetie?"
"Huh?" (Education paying off there.)
"The baby is crying."
Oh? OH?! "Didn't you hear her, didn't I ask you to come and get me?"
"I was reading."

With those three words all became clear to me. She was busy, engrossed even. Her charge forgotten.
Five year-olds have the attention span of a gnat - I had forgotten.
Her pride and interest in her task had worn off before I even applied the shampoo.
She literally didn't hear the cries.
Lesson learned, back to showering at night when the husband is home......

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