Sunday, January 30, 2011

Liar, Liar, You Do NOT Use Contractions

As a child, I learned the phrase, "I didn't do it", as all children do.  I used it often.  However, most of the time, I was telling the truth.  There were also times that I used it when I was, in fact, the one that did it.  Yes, I ate the last banana and hid the peel behind the couch.  Yes, I ate an entire pound of grapes.  Yes, I MAY have played with hair spray and a lighter in my brother's room.  But they all soon learned how to read me...

When I was about 13 years old, my brother had a part time job at the People's Drug store.  Or was it Peebles?  Regardless, he worked there after school and on weekends.  Occasionally, he would bring home things that the store did not want or could not sell, like expired food or overstock.

In the several months following Halloween that year, he brought home approximately 100+ bags of Halloween candy.  The store had obviously over estimated their buyers purchasing power that year.  So all these wonderful bags of snack-sized candy bars made their way to my brothers room, where they sat on display across a long shelf.  The temptation was too great.  I took a bag of Reese's peanut butter cups for myself.  Oh, how good those forbidden treats tasted.  To top it off, my brother never noticed or suspected the loss.  Maybe I could take one more...or two...

Over the course of the next month, I took almost 30+ bags of candy off my brother's shelf.  He went about his teenage life, never noticing that his stash was now reduced by a third.  I hid the bags in the top of my closet, where I needed a chair to reach, and nobody would ever think to look there.  I didn't even know what to do with all of them.  I couldn't eat that much.  And then, I had another one of my brilliant ideas.  I would sell the candy to my friends.

I was born to be a salesperson. I took several different candy bars to school each day in my backpack.  I ate them in front of my friends, taunting them by opening one and taking a bite.  "Oh my gosh, these are SOoo good...".  And then the orders started pouring in.  I sold the candy bars for 25 cents a piece.  For about a month, I was known as the "go to" girl for candy during the day, and I was raking in the dough.  And then my big mouth got me in trouble.

I MAY have told one or two people where I got the candy.  And as I became smug in my selling abilities and hoards of money coming in, others became resentful of my success.  As I and my friends walked home from the bus stop, one of them shouted to my brother, who was standing in the front yard, "Ann's been stealing your candy and selling it at school!!"  Busted.

That evening, my family (all of them), sat in front of me and plainly asked, "Did you take Glen's candy?".  And I replied, "I did not do it."  They repeated, "Ann, did you take Glen's candy?", when they clearly knew the answer. But I stuck to my guns, "I did NOT do it"".  Although, once they had the candy in their possession, obtained from the top of my closet, I could not refute any longer.  My lie was out in the open, and was just as bad as the crime itself.

From that point on though, unbeknownst to me, everyone knew the telltale sign of my lies...I did not use a contraction.  They figured me out.  If I said, "I did NOT do it", they knew I lied.  Still, to this day, my family mocks and laughs at me about what a bad liar I am.  I don't even realize I do it.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Worst Babysitter Ever

I am the youngest of three.  My brother is older by five years, and my sister by two and a half years.  And when we were kids, we were out of control.  We were "those" kids that you see running around stores and restaurants, wildly screaming and climbing on furniture.

My parents often hired babysitters to escape us, even if just for a few hours.  However, we rarely had the same babysitter twice.  We never went to bed, or stayed in bed once there.  We even tied up a babysitter for our parents to find when they came home.  Ah....good times....

When my brother was old enough to supervise us, my parents would leave, only saying, "You kids be good!  We'll be home in a couple hours...."  But the couple hours didn't come.  They would call SEVERAL hours later and say, "Oh, we're in another state.  We'll be home in a couple days."  And we were left to fend for ourselves with TV dinners and endless hours of public television (we didn't have cable).  But we survived, unscathed.

As I got older and more mature (age 12), I felt confident in my abilities to govern those younger than I.  So I began taking babysitting jobs.  Most were easy.  All I had to do was sit for an hour or two and watch MTV while the kids had afternoon snacks. Then, I starting getting more serious jobs....babies.

Who in there right mind would let a 12-15 year old watch their baby?!  Or more importantly, Who in the right mind would let ME watch their baby?!  And I will be honest, I admit that I was not always the best babysitter.

As I sit and think about those days, I recall some very disturbing moments in my babysitting history.  I remember trying to test breastfeeding on an infant, who was not at all interested in my mosquito bites.  And I recall another instance with a different baby that happened to wander out of eye sight and subsequently fell down a small flight of stairs.  Luckily, he was not injured. (I did tell the parents)

And then, there was the time that I THOUGHT I was an awesome babysitter.  I had two older boys to watch, and we all had a brilliant plan to ride their mattress down the stairs like a sled.  It was a blast.  No one was injured, but the parents were none too pleased to come home as their six year old is barreling down the stairs on a Serta Sled.  As you can imagine, I was not asked to babysit again.

Luckily, as I grew old enough to work legitimately, I was able to work with kids in a structured environment.  However, that didn't seem to stop the antics.  When I worked for the summer camp with the local YMCA, watching 24 five and six year olds, I used to get in trouble for napping when the kids did.  Parents would sometimes have to wake me to pick their children up.

When I ran the Saturday Morning Fun Club at the local YMCA, I got in trouble for taping a kid to the wall.  Now don't get all upset, it was a few single pieces of scotch tape, and the boy was all for it.  But his parents were not nearly as amused. Nowadays though, I would probably be berated on national tv showing that my youtube videos of the incidents went viral.

Anyway, the point was, I sucked as a babysitter.  I was a wild kid, that grew into a semi-wild teenager (only wild with fun, I never did drugs), and then a more subdued wild adult.  And yes, I still do crazy stuff with my own children, and I MAY have broken that younger one, but overall, I'm a great mom.   Luckily, I can't get fired from this job!