This Is NOT Art!

by - December 21, 2009

The other day I was reminded of an event that transpired between myself and the kids I used to be a nanny for.  Yes, the same ones as the puke story.  This one is a doozy as well. Has anyone guessed yet that either a) I was a horrible babysitter who deserved the crappy pay, or b) these kids were DEMONS?  I vote for 'b', as I am an angel at everything I do, and it is the life work of a demon to bring down an angel.  This is a well known fact.

One rainy day during the summer, when the two older kids were home from school, I decided to let the boys (7 and 4) play in the basement by themselves.  Telling them to be good and that I would check on them every 15 minutes, I warned them that the door would be open and I would be able to hear their every whispered plan to take me out, so to be careful because I was smarter and faster.  Not this time.

Because their baby sister only napped on the couch, I had to stay with her at all times as she could wake up and wander off anywhere: into the kitchen where there were sharp objects, back into the portal that would take her to Hades, a place she had never been, but one that her brothers frequented often.  So in staying with her I could not keep a close eye on those boys.  I checked on them after the set time of 15 minutes and saw that everything was perfectly fine, and they were playing nicely if not semi-violently, what with being little boys and all.

After a few minutes, the middle child came upstairs, and SIDLED his way towards the bathroom, the whole time staring at me sideways, watching me to make sure I did not glance his way.

"What are you doing?", I asked him, only looking out of the corner of my eye so as not to startle him into attack mode.

"Uhhh.....nothing.  Washing my hands".

Ding ding ding!! Alarm bells are going off all over the place.  What 4-year-old washes their hands on THIER OWN?  I wanted to see what his next move was, so I bided my time.  He washed up and headed back down the stairs.  A minute later his older brother came up the stairs and again the same question and answer period took place.  And it was all a little too similar for me to be comfortable.  I got up from the couch, checked to make sure that the baby was still safely sleeping, and followed that boy down the stairs once he finished washing his hands.

The first thing that was wrong to me was the VERY strong smell of paint.  Because the lights were mostly off down there, I could not see the death and destruction that had taken place until I flicked the switch into the 'ON' position.  And the aftermath of just a few minutes of being left alone to play hit me.  The utter devastation of it all.  Every available surface had been spray-painted.  Toys, the floor, the carpet, THE TELEVISION SCREEN, all defaced by a white monster who obviously had a gargantuan  dislike for anything that contained colour.  White oil paint covered the walls, covered everything.  All I could do was stare with my mouth open, trying not to breathe in the noxious fumes.

I demanded that they march up the stairs, because I would now have to call their mom and this meant they were in big trouble.  As they slowly walked a dejected walk up the stairs a few paces in front of me, I noticed that what was once brown heads of hair was now covered in old man hair.  WAIT! Old man hair!  Oh my goodness, they painted each other's heads with oil paint!  Oh lord.  I now knew that not only were they in trouble, but I was too.

I called their mother, the whole time trying to hold back my laughter because honestly, I found the whole situation pretty funny.  I mean, it's probably something I would have done as a child.  She was as angry as a bull that one, and she certainly did not appreciate it when I told her that ten years from now, she would have an amazingly funny story to tell.  I probably should not have giggled at that moment, as I believe I heard the exact moment that the steam was released from her head and out her ears.

So I set to carry out my punishment for not watching them like a hawk.  I scoured that basement until nary a drop of paint was left.  Thankfully it was still wet and easy to wipe off.  Well, okay, we know now that I am lying because paint does not wipe off of carpets and toys, but at least the television was saved, and that's really all that matters doesn't it?  I was told by their mother that I had better give them baths to try and get the paint off.  At this point they knew how much trouble they were in, so they didn't give me any guff when I told them to get into the bathtub.  Then they found out what the REAL consequences were.  Oil and water do not mix folks.  It was like trying to wipe off a pan of stuck on egg goo that had not been soaked, that had been sitting out to harden like a fortress for a week.  I didn't have the heart to continue their torture, so I sent them to their rooms for the rest of the afternoon.  Where the middle child promptly stuck wet, red stamp pads all over his walls.  Sigh.

When their mother got home, she found her two boys sitting at the bottom of the stairs with their tails between their legs.  With a glare at me, she demanded that they get into the car right away, as she was taking them to get their hair chopped off.  I have never seen two little boys clutch on to each other with the thought of having no hair.  Like two little old ladies.  It was kind of funny really, and I had to do everything in my power to stifle another giggle for fear of being dragged along with them and having my own hair chopped off as punishment.  And quite possibly my tongue as well, as I am sure she did not want to hear another giggle pass through my lips, therefore forcing her to commit murder and land in jail for the rest of her life.

For some reason I was allowed to return to work the next day.  When I knocked on the door that morning, I was greeted by two quiet boys with no hair.  I asked them if they learned their lesson and they both nodded at me with the saddest eyes I have ever seen.  The older boy quietly let me know that the hairdresser who cut their hair off told them that it would grow this much, demonstrating just how much by pinching together his pointer finger and thumb.  Poor kids.

At least one amazing thing was gained through this whole thing.  LEVERAGE.  For the rest of the time that I was their sitter, I only had one thing to say to make sure that they were behaving:

"If you two don't stop that RIGHT now, I am going to take you to a hairdresser and tell them to cut all your hair off!"

Worked like a charm, every time.

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