Adventures in babysitting

Susan Manzke
Grandma Susan, Wyatt, Arianna, and Eli having fun together.

Some grandparents are lucky to have grandchildren living close by. Others have their family on the other side of the world. We’re lucky all our children and grandchildren live in Wisconsin. Too bad they aren’t close enough to stop in for a quick visit or weekly baby-sitting.

A while back, Rachel asked me to go to Sun Prairie for two days of baby-sitting. Rachel would be at a conference. Afterward, Dave was going to join her for a little vacation. The time babysitting would be split between my days and Dave’s parents.

I was a bit worried that planning the two-hour drive weeks ahead might not allow for bad winter weather. Since I don’t drive on slippery roads I figured I’d have to go a day ahead or stay a day over if snow ruined driving conditions.

Snow did come, but early enough so the roads were fine though sloppy from the melting snow—Bob stayed home to take care of our critters.

Four-year-old Wyatt had me to himself that afternoon as Eli and Arianna were in school. We spent our time taking apart and putting together a plastic bi-plane. Wyatt really liked using his battery operated drill to put the bolts in and out.

Wyatt shoveling snow.

He was so fast, I couldn’t keep track of the parts, and how they went together. I figured we’d end up with a pile of plastic. I hadn’t had time to check the toy over to know which piece went where. But Wyatt knew it all. He reassembled and unassembled that toy multiple times—I think he enjoyed using the drill most of all. It had a forward and backward button. Grandpa Bob would have loved it.

Arianna walked home from the bus alone as Eli had a Boy Scout meeting. I didn’t have to pick up or drop off anyone. Rachel arranged for everything, even keeping Wyatt home from daycare so he could have quality time with all his grandparents.

Supper was easy as Arianna read the schedule their mother had made and saw pizza was on the menu. Easy-peasy for me, after the kids showed me how to work the oven—it’s always odd working appliances in someone else’s home. The dishwasher almost perplexed me, but in the end I figured it out. Good thing, too, as the kids were all asleep and I couldn’t ask them.

No one balked at bed time. They knew what they had to do and kept to their regular schedule. Just before climbing into bed, I read Wyatt a book. He chose Green Eggs and Ham. The other two read on their own.

I had a restless night’s sleep. I worried I wouldn’t hear if something went wrong upstairs. And I worried that I would oversleep and they’d be late for the bus—though Rachel had alarms set.

Everything went smoothly. Rachel had made a stack of pancakes ahead, so even breakfast was a breeze—Wyatt ate dry cereal, which is his usual choice.

Eli shoveling snow before school.

Arianna and Eli got themselves ready for school in plenty of time for their walk to the bus. Eli raced about so he could shovel the inch of snow that fell that night from the walk.

The only fright I had during my time babysitting was after they walked out to the bus. It was only a few minutes later that I heard a siren on the highway. It was nothing that concerned me or the kids, but it made gave me chills.

Wyatt and I again had time together. We bundled up and shoveled the snow off the driveway together.

My luck with driving on snowy roads held. After Jo and Charles arrived to take over, the night’s snow had melted off the roads. It was sloppy, but okay. Good thing I hadn’t arranged for a different time babysitting. Six inches of snow fell two days later. At that time all the grandparents were safe, off slippery roads.

Babysitting is a good thing. I look forward to more time with any and all of our grandchildren.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165;