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Babysitting for One Hundred and Ninety-two Hours Straight

Two weeks ago, our oldest granddaughter came over to help me babysit her two youngest cousins.  Knowing the intrepid personality of our three-year-old grandson and the strong will of his one-year-old sister, I was going to need back up.
While Mommy and Daddy took off for a one-week cruise of the Caribbean to “get away from it all and reconnect,” HoneyBunch and I (mostly I) were jumping into the thick of it.
I’ve babysat before plenty of times, but not for eight days and eight nights straight.  That’s one hundred and ninety two (192) hours! This would be the longest time ever for me without some sort of respite – nights off or maybe a weekend in between there somewhere without two munchkins watching me use the bathroom.  We usually watch the babies over a weekend so HoneyBunch is home from work and helps with the diapering or he provides entertainment, but this gig would run from one Friday through the next Saturday a week later, ergo the need to hire a “mommy’s helper.”
Thank goodness our oldest grandchild is in high school; she is about to take Driver’s Ed and her wish list includes clothes, cars, and cosmetics. 
She is the oldest to three little brothers and she needed the money and was willing to sacrifice her sanity for one week to earn some, so I “hired” her to help me for five of the eight days.
The week went as I suspected.  The three-year-old was intrepid and the one-year-old was strong willed.  Both fought sleep and sought adventure. Both made sure we “grownups” knew who ran things.
By Friday the fifteen-year-old missed home. 
Better the little brothers you know than the little brothers you don’t.
When I let her know twenty-four hours ahead of time when we would be returning her to her home on Friday, she fired up both her cell phone and her iPod – the modern versions of smoke signals or jungle drums among the young. A smile reappeared on her haggard face.  There was a skip in her step and she started speaking in future tense. “I am going to miss these babies.”  “I will remember this summer always.” 

Yeah, sure.

I couldn’t blame her.  As a matter of fact, I envied her as we drove away from her home and headed back with the two babies jabbering away in the back seat of the truck.  I still had twenty four hours ahead of me without a mommy’s helper, but at least I too could start talking in future tense. 

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