Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Sucker Punch; Part I

If an old friend from junior high calls and says, "I want to go out for lunch today and thought I'd see what you're up to," HANG UP THE PHONE!
You're about to get sucker punched!


Last week I was innocent, dumb and happy!  When my "friend from adolescence" called I actually jumped with excitement.  I haven't seen her in a long time.  We weren't the best of friends, but hung out a lot when Clinton and Monica were hiding their love.  She has three kids now (a twin boy and girl as well as an older boy.)  I've wanted to see her and her babies for years because we used to have a blast together.

So she called and said, "I want to go out for lunch today and thought I'd see what you're up to."

"I'm completely free today," I blurted.  "All my kids are off track and our kids can play."  I giggled inside thinking we'd really get to hang out and catch up.  We'd have a ball.

Well, I shouldn't have giggled.  I should have run away.  As you read this, don't judge me; you might have made the wrong choice too and that's why I'm writing this story.  Maybe I took one for the team.  I wasn't smart enough to withstand her guile, but you can learn from my mistake!

"I'm so glad you're free, because I need someone to watch my kids while I go to lunch," she said.  "Can I drop them by around noon?  You're a lifesaver."

I paused, totally struck off-guard.  Was she serious?  I hadn't seen her in years and she wanted me to watch her kids.  I had never met them.  The happy situation had practically fallen off a cliff!  I went from excitement, to being the lifesaver who'd watch her three-year-old twins and their older brother.  

I don't mind kids.  I'm not the best with them if they aren't related to me or a VERY VERY close friend, but I don't enjoy babysitting new kids.  

That sounds horrible, but there's a reason behind every story.  
Once, when I was a teenager, I was asked to watch five-year-old twins.  A boy and a girl.  Their parents had just gone through a nasty divorce, where the kids didn't feel like anyone wanted them.  It was sad, horribly sad, but that didn't give them the right to torture me like they did.  They were worse than Peter Pan and his Lost Boys.  

It all began when those two sweet-looking, rich children asked if I'd play capture the robbers.   

"Absolutely."  I smiled, feeling bad for them.  They'd gone through so much and I wanted them to have the best time ever.  

"All right," the boy said.  He stroked his babyish chin and thoughtfully pointed to a few jump ropes.  "Those'll do the trick, Sis.  Lay down like you're the robber we caught in our bank!  We need to tie you up real good and tight.  That's what bankers do to the robbers."

I giggled and rested my head on the expensive carpet.  "Wow, you two sure have great imaginations."  As they tied me up, I grinned like a fool!  My heart told me they'd never tie me tight enough; they were only five.  I learned a lesson that day; My heart was wrong!  They tied a million boy scout knots.  I wriggled like a snake on hot coals, but couldn't get free.  Those twins laughed.  Their faces contorted in amusement and the taint of mischief danced in their eyes.  That's when they shut the bedroom door and left the house.
I screamed; yelled for minutes on end.  I rolled next to the door, but couldn't open it no matter how hard I tried.  It wasn't until the neighbor came to the front door, that I was saved.  

"Hello?" she hollered because apparently the twins hadn't shut the front door.  "Your kids are playing in the middle of the street and it's raining."

"I'm here!"

"Anyone home?"

"I'm up here!  Help.  Help.  They tied me up like a robber!"

She found me and untied the jump ropes quickly after that.  I remember blushing, mortified.  I'd been duped by five-year-old twins who liked playing in the rain!

That's why I dislike watching new kids--especially twins I don't know.  I turn into this drill sergeant who loathes jump ropes AND bankers!  It's a shocking change as if I can break children of their bad--boy scout knot--habits in less than twenty minutes.  Maybe like the first half of Nanny McPhee, just without the whomping stick and the total ugly appearance. 


I don't grow moles, and things all over my face, the second new kids come to my house but I do turn stricter than when the U. S. banned liquor.   If I am like Nanny McPhee, the movie never gets to the end because there's no happy reunion and pigs don't dance and fly when I babysit.

I thought of the metamorphosis that would surely unfold if I watched my friend's kids.  I'd heard about those children on facebook--what darling terrors they are. I wanted to run, to say, "no, no."  But that girl from my past persisted.

"I never get to go to lunch.  You're the only person I'd trust with my kids.  Plus your other ones are off track.  You just said it.  Maybe they can all play and have a great time."

I couldn't believe I was the only person she'd trust with her kids.  Poor soul!  That melted my resolve.  "Sure I'll watch them," I said.

When they showed up at the door, I looked at their amused faces and knew that was the beginning of the end.  A great battle waited in our future!