by Aurora Bordeaux
The first morning of mandatory in-law family vacation, the Hubs and I allowed ourselves to be maneuvered into babysitting some of the seven nieces and nephews poolside. This was fine. We don’t hate the kids or anything, although they seem to drunkenly veer into Annoyingville from time to time, but poolside duty isn’t so bad. All you have to do is listen passively to their babble, offer a smile and empty “Hooray!” after they perform whatever acrobatic “Watch me! Watch me!” they just did no matter how floppy it was, and make sure no one goes belly up. Easy peezy.
Still, while I don’t mind babysitting duty that involves pools, reading books, or watching Tangled (I love that movie), I don’t appreciate people thinking they can boss me around. Granted, you’re not manipulated if you choose to take on a task knowing full well that “I’ll be right back” is parent speak for “See you in an hour,” but I didn’t want the parents in the house thinking they could jockey old Aurora Bordeaux around. The days of Aurora Bordeaux, people pleasing doormat, are done. The days of Aurora Bordeaux, krav maga level 2 student and aspiring tactical guru, are in full swing. It’s a new year, bitches.
As I set aside another splashed book, I decided to teach the in-law parents a lesson Arrested Development style. I mentally thumbed through my passive aggressive, level 2 handbook and came up with a winner. Not having a one-armed employee at my service limited my options, so I had to work with what was available. (If you haven’t seen Arrested Development and don’t know what I’m talking about, get thee to a computer and start streaming. You’re missing out, Turtledove!)
Remember my wonderful little nephew from last year’s vacation, my favorite? He’s a four-year-old who looks and acts like Curious George. We were chilling with the Hubs in the otherwise empty kitchen later that morning and George interrupted us mid-sentence to declare, “Guess what? There are Twizzlers in the cupboard.” His eyes gleamed with the sparkle of knowingly breached ethics, a tiny T-Rex testing the fence.
I reasoned that unsanctioned candy in the morning was probably against the rules. But I had been left alone with the kid and no playbook was outlined by the official caretakers. So I figured, licorice won’t kill him, let the funny little monkey have his moment in the sugar sun.
I opened the cupboard and fished out not one, but two Twizzlers. He looked at me with shining eyes and said nothing. “We keep this between us, yes?” I said. Curious George nodded, clutching a limp candy straw in each tiny fist, breathless at his sudden good fortune. The Hubs shook his head. Somewhere in the distance, skies darkened and thunder tumbled across the beach.
George cannonballed the Twizzlers, looking for all the world like a pint size chimp who’d been handed a tree’s worth of bananas. He was cute, and I felt rewarded for my evildoing. Smelling chum in that mysterious way only children can, the other kids trickled in from across the house, eyes alert. They lasered in on the Twizzlers, but to my surprise none of them said anything about it or asked for their own. They just went about their business, but I could feel a tiny shift in the air. Hmm, I thought. Interesting.
Thirty minutes later, I was sitting on our bed with the door shut hammering out material for the blog when verbal gunfire erupted in the hall. The hippie-dippie mom (Baby Off Board followers will remember her as the boob lady) was officially losing her zen. She was blowing her lid in the direction of her constantly out-of-control six-year old who had groped her without comment or consequence the night before. The boy was chattering in loops about something, undaunted by her explosive response. It took me a few minutes to piece together what the scuffle was about, but I gradually concluded that it was about—you guessed it—Twizzlers. Bwa-ha-ha!
The sight of the second Twizzler took half an hour to simmer because the kids have matured enough to bide their time, but in doling out that second candy swirl, I totally effed with their political ecosystem. I say again while wringing my hands in an imaginary Kate Spade lab coat, Bwa-ha-ha!
The parents haven’t said anything to me about it, but I figure that if they do, I can play the idiot non-parent they think I am. I’ll let my eyes go slack as I confusedly say, “Oh, did I give him two? Is that not right? Sorry…” This could come back to bite me in the ass if I ever need them to dogsit, but frankly I would never let them dogsit anyway because they never help stop my two dogs from eating all the things their kids openly try to feed them or drop on the floor at meals (re: Legos, shoes, lima beans).
Many Off Boarders have complained about friends or relatives purposefully ensnaring them in forced babysitting situations to try to get them to “want kids” all of a sudden. It’s the same thing married people do when they try to trap single friends on blind or double dates. But ho! This is the perfect way to only get stuck doing it one more time. Prove you are unreliable as a caretaker. Keep Twizzlers in your pocket, and give only one child two pieces of candy. Then sit back, sip your signature Aurora Bordeaux (bourbon on the rocks, two cherries), and watch the clockwork unwind.
Ah, family vacation. Turns out it can be fun after all. Bwa-ha-ha.