I helped my neighbor babysit this weekend. She has a three year old who is an only child and typically is used to getting all of the attention. Unfortunately for her we were babysitting another three year old and two year old as well. She didn't particularly care for sharing the attention. While I'm not a mom yet I hope to be someday.... hopefully I won't have three toddlers at one time. For now I definitely got some good practice in. Thankfully after I was done I could go home to my house for some peace and quiet, and to reflect on a few lessons learned:
1) Never feed ice cream to a three year old - They're already bouncing off the walls so sugary ice cream does not help. Plus, more ends up all over their face, their hands, their clothes, and sometimes, your hair, than in their tummies.
2) Water is fascinating stuff, heck the bathroom is a fascinating place. While helping the troupe take turns at the potty I observed them all gather around the toilet bowl, fortunately I caught them before they stuck their hands or anything irretreivable in the water. However, it takes hours to wash their hands because the water coming out of the faucet apparantly is entertaining to watch.
3) Tractors and semis are also fascinating - Took the rugrats for a ride in a wagon. I live in Alta and we walked right past the Co-op. Every time a tractor or semi came by we had to wave to the farmers. Typically the farmers would smile and wave back and we even got one of the semis to honk his horn. We were a regular sight to see parading down the street with a wagon load of kids, a couple baby dolls, a stuffed cat and a My Little Pony and the another neighbor's dog on a leash. Somehow, we got everyone home safe and sound.
4) Their favorite word is "no," - However, that's only if they say it. If Mom or someone else says it, watch out here comes the fireworks.
5) Barney and The Wiggles are cool. I admire you moms out there who have to sit through shows like that. It may be worth it for the few minutes of quiet. That is until one of them decides they want to get closer to Barney and blocks the TV and the other one doesn't like that so he pushes her out of the way.
6) Hugs and kisses really do make owies better.
7) They may be only 2 or 3 but they're smart - The harder you try to keep the house clean, the more of their dinner ends up on the floor. And how half the sand from the sanbox ends up on the sofa - is their secret. You can brush them off top to bottom but somehow they'll hide the sand somewhere.
* Jennifer Nelson is a news reporter at the Pilot-Tribune. Reach her at email@example.com