While there was that old Elisabeth Shue movie, Adventures in Babysitting, the role of the babysitter has not been noted very much.
And yet it's something that many teenaged girls, and a few boys, are called upon to do during that time when they're just barely old enough, until the person called on is not yet assumed to be dating, or will not get any offers.
The babysitting neophyte may have some positive schemas about what's going to take place: reading harmless children's books such as Goodnight Moon to polite, cute six year olds, followed by their going to bed by 8:30. This is followed by a snack that the thoughtful parent left the sitter, and then quality time on the cell phone or with the television.
And, of course, in the remaining time you're supposed to do the homework then without parental oversight. Oh, yes! Well, for the conscientious, that's possible if the kids being watched go to bed by 8:30 or 9.
Sometimes you're not so lucky. Once I was hired at the last minute by a very upset mother who begged me to sit with her two children. She offered a pronounced bonus; so I agreed, and arrived at seven.
There, a largish boy greeted me with, "Oh darn, Mom: I told you I wanted the one with the big hooters!" I introduced myself, and asked him his name, and how old he was. He told me fourteen and that his name was Jason. [Note to parents: if he's mature enough to specify babysitters with large breasts, he's too old to have a babysitter. Look into a Marine drill instructor instead; preferably one wearing a cute Park Ranger hat.]
I was only sixteen myself! His sister Megan was ten. The younger one was the one with the cherry bombs. Their hopeful Mom told me that her offspring were not to have sweets or colas; only West Coast foodie-approved snacks. What paragons, I wondered. Also, she specified a 10 P.M. bedtime for both. Well, not bad . . . . maybe a mite strict for the older one, but she's the customer!
After the parents left, the older one immediately went to the liquor cabinet, and poured himself a stiff glass of single malted scotch. I quickly caught on after he drank about half of it, and I poured the rest down the drain. Jason immediately accused me of committing a mortal sin. Not being ethically aware of how, despite attending Catholic school at that time, I asked him how.
He said, "You idiot! You poured twelve year old single-malted scotch down the drain!" I asked him about his homework. His response was to tell me to cram it. Cram what, I wondered. And where?
Boom! Boom! Loud cherry bomb sounds from the living room! And some pyrotechnics that glowed pink in the room! A ten-year-old girl who's adept in chemistry is no laughing matter! It turned out she was the evil genius in this one-act play.
Back to the big brother. By now he had turned on a pornish television channel. I went to turn it off. He kicked me in the bottom, and I went sprawling on the floor. He then sat on me and tried to ride me like a horsie! While this was going on, his little sister urged him to Bad Touch me! I was having none of that!
I contorted before he got too entertained, and head-butted him. He grabbed my hair and pulled. I screamed. My scream went an octave higher when little sister squirted whipped cream down my blouse! She went off screaming in victory. I started crying. The situation had totally deteriorated.
Fortunately, an adult neighbor heard the ruckus (it was loud!) and came over to intervene, finding me in total disarray, with a bloody nose and whipped cream down my cleavage. With a formidable, intimidating voice, she eventually restored order. The lady: she possessed gravitas in spades. She was kind enough to offer the loan of her daughter's blouse so I could be relatively clean for the remainder of the evening.
She asked me if I could handle things; and I indicated that I could. (God knows what she subsequently reported to her neighbor the next day; but she wanted to get back to her hospital drama.) However, she did say that my clients had a hard time keeping babysitters! Her daughter categorically refused to do so, and she understood why. I asked her if the older one was "slow" and thus required a babysitter, and she said, "Only to obey."
Anyway, after an hour and a half of disorder, tears (some mine), and mess, I made an accommodation with them: they could watch Fast Times at Ridgemont High on the tube if they slackened off their onslaught. I did nothing when they opened Cokes in defiance of the maternal edict.
They turned out the lights and both quickly jumped into bed just as the parental car pulled into the driveway at 1 A.M.