Adventures In Babysitting: I Saw the Dark Side of Motherhood

baby I don't have any kids. And after what happened to me less than 24 hours ago, I may have to rethink my plan to one day have a child or two of my own. Last night I babysat like I've done hundreds of nights before, but this time, something was different. This time, I stumbled upon the dark side. This time, I'll never forget.

I'll start by saying that I adore the family I sit for. The parents are kind and very cool, and the kids, a 1-year-old daughter and a 3-year-old son, are so cute I'm only half-kidding when I say that I've thought about waking them up just to play with them.

But I'm no mother. I've only really seen the cute lovey-dovey side of parenting. The mac and cheese dinners, the tickle fights on the couch, the soft pajamas and the sweet bedtime hugs.

That is, until last night.

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I guess Mother Nature wanted to send me a wake-up call and snap me out of this idyllic view I had of motherhood. And let me tell you, Mother Nature can be a real bitch sometimes, and she slapped me so hard last night my ovaries shook and possibly imploded. It all started with a bottle of milk.

Cara, who just turned one, was sitting on my lap, winding down for bedtime, enjoying a bottle of milk when all of a sudden she and I were startled by a rumbling sound. "Wazzat?!" I said in that stupid high-pitched voice I do whenever I see a human under the age of 4. "Wazzat wazzat wazzat!!" I continued, making a game out of it and bouncing her on my knee. Then I found out. Wazzat was that I had been shat on. That rumbling we heard I guess was Cara's exploding guts. She smiled and ejected what can only be described as bio-diesal carnage into her diaper, down her leg, up her back, and onto my jeans.

Welcome to the dark side.

With shit all over me and her, I was making my way to the bathroom holding Cara at arm's length when 3-year-old Jeffrey intercepted us with some news. He desperately, desperately, wanted to play with me. He was freaking the fuck out. He wanted attention! And now! And trucks and toys and Lego's and Nick Jr were not, NOT, enough!

Shit-stained baby in both arms, 3-year-old meltdown at my feet, everyone in tears, I stood frozen. And that's when the pit bull started showing me her teeth.

Oh! I didn't mention the family dog is a 100 pound pit bull rescue?

No biggie. Usually she is an extremely sweet dog. She plays with the kids almost like she's their mom (I mean, she licks them, nudges them gently, sleeps outside their bedroom door) but this night, she wasn't happy. She didn't like the chaos, and she was starting to lose trust in my abilities.

Has a pit bull ever snarled at you? Because I soon became worried that Cara might not be the only one shitting her pants that night. I was terrified. I remember thinking that it was good that the dog would only go after me, and not the kids, should she choose to attack, and I remember feeling comforted by that, then moved fast. I got everyone in the bathroom, shut the door and left the dog in the hall. And I focused.

I stripped Cara down, got her in the tub, balanced the grossest diaper I had ever seen on the corner of the sink, told Jeffrey not to touch it, threw him a bath toy, asked him about school, rinsed off Cara (she's screaming, BTW -- she may be the only baby on the planet who hates baths), listened as the diaper fell to the floor (why the hell did I put it on the counter?!), listened to Jeffrey yell in my ear something about his daddy and his trucks, picked Cara out of the tub and wrapped her in a fluffy towel, listened and felt as the fluffy towel turned into a shit basket, smelled Cara's latest diarrhea fill the confined bathroom air ...  and that's when we started the process all over again. The bath, the screaming, the boy who wants to play, the dog that wants to kill me outside the door ... the poop. The poop, friends, cannot be underestimated. The madness.

Things eventually started to calm down. The poop was coming to a stop. Cara's screaming had turned into giggles (I can only imagine her sense of relief), and Jeffrey was sufficiently entertained by the drama and the chaos. When I opened the door, slowly, I saw that the dog had stopped channeling Cujo and seemed ready for bed. We all were.

The worst of it behind us, there was only a slight struggle with which pajamas Jeffrey wanted to wear, a slight obsession with the Baby Powder that led to a slight spill, and a slight issue with me leaving the room -- Jeffrey instructed me to stay until he and Cara were asleep. Those gd sheep couldn't jump over the fence fast enough -- I needed to get out.

It was a harrowing 48 hours. Well at least it felt like it was a full 48, but I guess it was only about two. When I finally came up for air, shit-stained, tear-stained, battle-stained, I felt like I didn't know what to do first. I felt like my eyes were simultaneously bulging out of my head and trying to close to sleep.

I don't know how you moms do it. I'm exhausted today. I even thought about calling in sick. I know those kinds of nights happen more often when you're the parent there 24-7 to witness the good, the bad, and the shitty, but God, women, how?

So I guess my question is, how do you do it? How? Seriously. How. I guess when the war zone had simmered last night, and I saw those two little babies asleep in their soft pajamas after their sweet bedtime hugs, I felt good. Maybe that's how you do it. But that dark side of yours? That real motherhood stuff? Humbling.

So, what's your secret? How do you survive nights like that?

Photo via jvh33/Flickr

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