"Hi! I'm Heather. I'm their usual nanny. I'm gonna go over some stuff with you real quick if that's okay?"
I peered over to the TV room (open floor plans are so bougie) and saw all four of the children, already showered and in pajamas, watching a show in catatonic silence.
"Ahuh yeah absolutely!" I overcompensated uncomfortably while I thought Damn. This girl is so maternal. She even made a list.
"So yeah so I just wrote down all their stuff here. Emergency numbers, and all their bedtimes. I already got them ready for bed, so it shouldn't be too difficult. Did you have any questions for me before I get going?"
"Nope! No! This is great! This is perfect, thank you!" I replied. So cheerful. So murdery.
"Okay well I'm gonna take off then, and if you need anything let me know. Feel free to give me a call."
The next three hours were spent watching a show called "The Blue" which was a cartoon about a mixed race family that lives in the ocean in a submarine and learns about deep sea stuff from sea monsters to merpeople. I repeatedly tried to talk to the kids and got no response, eventually resigning to my cell phone, trying and failing to find service. Ultimately the silence was broken by the eldest daughter, Katherine, who was ten years old.
"Hannah...I don't feel good. Like, my stomach hurts."
"Aw sorry Katherine! Want me to get you some water?"
"Yeah...I need... I need-- a straw. Too." She responded between groans like a soldier who just got shot.
Ultimately, my lackluster babysitting skills proved that Katherine did in fact have a fever. I tried to give her bubblegum flavored medicine, but got nowhere.
"DO WE HAVE ANYTHING ELSE?!" She begged between short breaths. "The flavor! It's gonna make me throw up! PLEASE PLEASE another flavor PLEASE??? Can you call my daddy? Where's my daddy? Call him? Can I talk to him?"
Katherine's daddy agreed to come home early from his work dinner. Ten dollars less for me, and less time to get the gaggle of children into bed while Katherine refused to move from the couch, a cold cloth on her head and consistent moaning. My first challenge was the youngest, a four year old named Michael.
"Alright Michael! We're going to bed!"
"Yes we are."
"I don't want to have to text your parents and tell them you were bad, Michael. You don't want that. I don't want that. Come on, let's just um... let's go to bed."
"...You don't have their numbers." He argued defiantly.
"Yes I do."
"No you don't."
"YES I do."
"MICHAEL!" Interjected the oldest brother, Trevor. "Michael you go to bed right now. Or all your shows will get taken away. And you won't be able to go to the carnival tomorrow." He wagged a fatherly finger at Michael, other hand on his hip in his superhero pajamas the size of my ankle.
"Nope!" Michael was unmoved, unafraid. To this day, I strive to come at life with the same sense of abandon and fearlessness as this asshole of a child.
The next thing I did was below the belt (or a great parenting tactic, who's to say really?). I took his favorite stuffed animal named "Mee Ma" and brought it upstairs and tucked it into his bed with a cup of water and a book. Michael was on the floor downstairs giggling, drowned out by Katherine's groaning, while the other two Trevor and Alex had taken their ipads to their beds. I stood on the stairs and eyed Michael, daring him to try his shenanigans again.
"Alright. We got a story, we got water, we got your stuffed animal! All that you need is upstairs in bed. It'll be so comfy, we'll read a story, it'll be great."
"No!" He smirked while in a frightening contortion on the floor. I had no one to blame at this point but the devil.
"Michael, I'm serious. This is ridiculous." I marched down the stairs and tried to pick him up, wrestling him up the stairs until he wriggled free and bolted back down into the living room. He then stood next to his sister Katherine and looked at me like he was about to kill me, nothing short of a Stephen King character. He reached into his pants slowly while I stood on the stairs paralyzed in fear. Suddenly, a small worm of a penis made its way into his waistband and he stuck it in Katherine's face with a maniacal laugh.
"MICHAEL!" She screamed in pain, tears streaming down her sunburned, chubby face. "HANNAH! He... put... his... privates! In-- my, FACE." She cried between sobbing breaths.
Michael cackled, and ran into the kitchen, while unbeknownst to me he had somehow retrieved Mee Ma from his room. I marched downstairs and snatched Mee Ma, holding it up and explaining that Michael had to go upstairs and go to bed to get it back. Suddenly, he curled up into a little ball on the floor and wailed over Katherine's crying, screaming "I WANT MY MEE MA! I. WANT. MY. MEEEEEE MAAAA!!!!" All I could think is This is what hell is. This is why moms go crazy and drown their children.
In a moment of desperation, I frantically called Heather, begging her for advice. She tried to talk me through it, when suddenly Daddy walked in, suit coat slung casually over his arm and a stylish manbag across his chest. He had a kind, friendly face. I had an exasperated stressed out face full of lines, phone poised to my ear, and two out of his four kids were crying, one of them on the kitchen floor. All was well.
"Hey, guys. What's going on here?" He asked, soft and mellow. After about 5 minutes, he had gotten Michael to bed, and Katherine was happily watching a show.
"So, what do I owe you? I'm sorry I just-- my uh, wife usually does this. She's out of town, so." He promptly gave me my undeserved money, and even walked me to my uber under an umbrella since it had started pouring. He texted me to make sure I was home safely, and I proceeded to feel like the biggest asshole ever while I downed Chardonnay on my couch to forget it all. This evening was mostly traumatic, but I learned a few powerful things:
1. Not everyone has a paternal gene, and it's fine but maybe don't babysit for a living.
2. "The Blue" is a solid kids cartoon.
3. Never underestimate the power of a dick in a waistband.