by Carolyn O’Laughlin
General Details about Position:
Two small boys, aged 5 and 2, and their two mothers—aged none of your beeswax– seek hybrid Mary Poppins-Maury Povich babysitter. Mary(ish) responsibilities include keeping children entertained with creative and physical activities (preferably activities that result in long hours of sleep). Maury(ish) responsibilities include keeping fisticuffs between brothers limited. Candidates with Maury-like experience facilitating and/or delaying “who’s the daddy” conversations will be paid particular attention, as children’s ability to speak and interact with others has made conversation more relevant–both to the children themselves and rude strangers who boldly ask about the reproduction habits of lesbian parents.
Successful applicant will possess the following qualities:
Free from any Nut* Allergy:
- 1. Nut: Noun, Legume*: Older child’s entire diet consists of peanut butter, with variations only in the vehicle with which the peanut butter is ingested (frozen waffle, carrot, bread, cracker, donut, etc.) Babysitter with nut (legume) allergy would literally not survive in home. Peanut butter also previously found in family’s:
- a. DVD player
- b. Seatbelts
- c. Bike helmets.
- 2. Nuts: Adjective, Insane; crazy*: Typical day includes the following: Pick up car from one mother or the other, pick up older child from bus stop, adjust the heat/air conditioner settings in the car 200 times so that ARROWS ON CONTROLS (not actual temperature) are aesthetically pleasing to child. Sing “Wheels on the Bus” on demand to smaller child, then impose and enforce strict gag order at demand of aforementioned child. Point out trains, then close own eyes (and cover those of smaller child) when older one subsequently screams “I DON’T WANT NO ONE TO LOOK AT NO TRAINS.” Repeat several hundred times.
- 3. To be nuts about: Idiom, extremely or excessively enthusiastic*: Both children and parents must become enamored with babysitter: Children because babysitter is fun and cool and permits hilarious high jinks. Parents because babysitter is additional adult whose conversational faculties go beyond items that can and cannot be:
- a. Licked (purple popsicle: yes; purple spot on floor of public bathroom: no)
- b. Picked (produce from tree: yes: products from nose; no).
- c. or Kicked (soccer ball: yes; brother’s balls: no)
Additionally, parents rely on babysitter to instill in them knowledge of “hip and/or happening” things, including: music, television shows, current events, and acronyms used for convenience while texting (AUFCWT). This allows parents to pretend they exist outside vortex-of-children’s-television when placed in social situations with humans taller than 36 inches.
Ability to communicate the following using only expressive eyebrows:
- To children:
- If you listen, you get a lollipop. It’s right here in my bag. If you don’t, you’ll never see a lollipop again; I SWEAR TO GOD
- HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND? / YES. YOU HAVE LOST YOUR MIND.
- Get away from that other kid, it looks like you’re about to get your ass kicked
- To Parents:
- WE SURVIVED. Godspeed.
- They’re “spirited” today. I noticed booze in your fridge. You will need it.
- These children are obviously the smartest, funniest, and most special on earth, and I think you’re doing a great job. I can only hope that I will be as good a parent.**
**Does not have to be sincere, just convincing
Ability to quickly understand and speak family jargon:
One parent is called turkey and one bathroom the circus. Other important household terms include mine-mine (a blanket), weche (milk), bougie juice (water with cucumber slices), and chicken (stuffed monkey). Pocket translators have proven useless as terms change daily.
Ability to drive family car (sometimes while holding nose):
Car has an unidentified odor. Be assured that nothing of note has died in the car. A banana went undetected for several weeks in an air-conditioning vent, resulting in a significant fruit fly situation. Flies have finally died. Smell of decay and decomposing air-fresheners resurrects each time there is rain sun weather.
Applications accepted until position is filled. Interview process includes various questions about discretion and privacy, which may lead applicant to believe family is famous, important, or influential. Wrong. Parents are simply paranoid, with no talent for housework or patience for Pinterest projects.
(Paid!) member of bizarre little family.
Extensive knowledge of Curious George and Angry Birds culture.
Handfuls of previously chewed food.
Going home at the end of the day.
Carolyn O’Laughlin is the director of Resident Life and Housing at Sarah Lawrence College.