Having recently looked after my friend's set of eight-year-old twins, I've been pondering the distinct dangers that other people's children pose to my existence.
Allow me to explain.
The Dangers of Looking After Other People's Children
1. They cannot be trusted. Any sentence beginning with the phrase "Well, my mom says...." or "My dad always lets us..." is suspect.
Also, beware going down conversational rabbit holes such as the following:
OPC (Other Person's Child) 1: Hey! Um, can we eat dinner in the pool?
You: That doesn't sound like a very good idea.
OPC 1: Sure it is!
OPC 2: We can float on rafts, and you can hand us our plates and cups and then we'll just float out there eating!
You: That sounds like a lot of work on my part.
OPC 1: No, see, 'cause all you do is hand us the stuff! And then we eat it!
OPC 2: In the pool!
You: Well, let's just stop here a moment and ask ourselves one question.
OPC 1 & OPC 2: *staring up, wide-eyed and open-mouthed*
You: Would your mom think this was a good idea?
OPC 1: Ummmm...
OPC 2: Yes....?
2. They want to kill you. Spills of Legos strategically scattered on the floor in the hall outside your room, a cascade of wheel-bottomed toys spilled down the stairs to the basement, cups of water perched precariously near electrical outlets, knives cleared from the table and "handed" to you pointy-end first while the children run through the kitchen at a gallop.
Need I say more?
3. Nothing is sacred. The longer you're around other people's children, the more likely they are to forget that you are not actually one of their parental units and revert to their default modes, meaning that it's just a matter of time before they are drinking out of your cup and trying to come into the bathroom with you.
4. You don't know anything about anything. Before I started looking after other people's children, I was unaware that there were actually right cups and wrong cups, correct and incorrect ways to microwave pre-cooked sausage links, valid and invalid table settings, and proper and improper orders in which to add bath toys to the tub. I also have learned that there is really only one legitimate way in which to read a favorite bedtime story, and that's the way their dad does it.
Yes, looking after other people's children can be fraught with danger, but it's also somewhat exhilarating. Think! How often are you offered the chance to sharpen your wits, avoid brushes with death, and prove that you're are not a complete idiot--all at the same time?
Not very often.
But keep a weather eye out, because those little clowns have it in for you.