Since I was old enough to be left home alone, I’ve been babysitting. I’ve held many steady babysitting jobs through the years, my longest currently in its third year.
I’ve managed to hit the family jackpots, all good kids, easily managed and loving. That was until I started with this new family in January.
Let’s talk about monsters. These kids were some of the most unmanageable kids I’ve ever encountered.
The first few weeks were sheer misery. It seemed like no matter how hard I tried; they refused to give me any authority over their little lives. I had a wild card in my back pocket though, one they never really saw coming.
A card, or mindset that is, that they don’t have to like me. As they continued to push the envelope harder and harder, my boundaries held firm. Rules have a purpose. They aren’t always able to be thrown to the wayside.
It seems that 90% of the time we now have an understanding that what I say goes and you can’t change my mind. Last Friday, however, I was confident I was going to pull all my hair out. Instead of having them for a few hours, I had them all day because of Easter break.
I got there around 8:15; by 10 one of them had already been to time-out a handful of times. What could have been explained as our worst day yet ended on a much brighter side. As I was getting ready to leave; the main time-out culprit approached me. She hugged me. Then in her precious 5-year-old voice said; “I’m really sorry I wasn’t good today, let’s have a better day next week, do you forgive me?”
“Yes, Soph I forgive you and I think we can have a much better day next week.”
Today was that day. It was fantastic. I haven’t had a day go so smoothly with these girls. There wasn’t a time-out, there wasn’t arguing, there weren’t rude voices. It was as if I was watching two entirely different kids. They were sweet and loveable, using manners, and sharing.
If these girls have taught me anything; it’s the importance of holding to expectations and how to start over with a clean slate.