Monday, February 9, 2009

Curb Your Enthusiasm

It's very, very tempting to make up a bunch of spontaneous games while babysitting, especially when you're working with a pack of siblings and you've had a couple of Diet Cokes on an empty stomach. During the span of my entire babysitting career, I'd say that the five most popular games I've coined are:
1. Tickle Monster
2. Car Wash (ages 0-3)
3. Marshmallow War
4. Flaming Marshmallow War
5. Extreme Stair Toboggan and Kitchen Floor Speed Skate Olympics

Now, I'm not saying that there's not a reason these games are in the top five. There's actually a very good reason - these games are fucking fun as shit. However, they also require an enormous amount of physical energy on the babysitter's part, and when you come crashing down from your Diet Coke high, guess who still has a gajillion more rounds of Marshmallow War left in them? The Neibaum triplets, that's who. And they haven't even eaten dessert yet.

Some of you young sitters out there may be a little skeptical. Oh come on, you might be thinking, I've still got some kick left in the old jalopy. Aren't you a little old (yet still very beautiful) to be a babysitter? Didn't I see you yesterday at the Alpha-Beta buying gin and six tins of catfood?" Though the first part is somewhat untrue, I understand from experience why you might think such things. I was young and naive once, too. Then I invented Tickle Monster at age 12 and barely lived to rue the day. Look, it's a simple fact that once you make it to Jr. High, you become physically incapable of producing a fraction of the energy of a 7-year-old who's just enjoyed a frosty pint of apple juice. So do yourself a favor... before you make that bright idea of yours into a game of harsh reality, consider this checklist:

1. Does this game have any monsters in it and if so, must this monster always be played by the same person aka me?

2. Does this game have a clear beginning and end or can it just cycle on for all of eternity?

3. Does this game require the unusual bending of my body for longer than 10 seconds?

4. Does this game require intense upper body strength or "fancy feet?"

5. Does this game allow children to defy gravity and if so, are you the source of their defiance?

6. Is this game going to be remembered the next time you babysit? How about the time after that? And the time after that?

If you answered yes to every question except #2, which isn't really a yes or no question, then you're in danger of entering the no-rest zone, where sweat is shed and DVDs lay unopened for months. Carefully consider whether you really want to be playing this game for 3 hours straight on a rainy evening. On the first day of your period. Just after you walked in on your boyfriend softly tonguing the Zac Ephron poster he claimed was only in his room for "hair inspiration." Hmmmmaybe not.

...Or maybe you do? It's a little known fact that Willie Nelson was a babysitter once. My babysitter. Invented a little game called Shotgun, and look at him now... haggard and decrepit, but still awesome.

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