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Babysitting for dummies


Diary of a homebird
Ciara Galvin

BEING the youngest of five children I find it hard to remember a time where I required a babysitter. Number one, I was so mature for my age, I could nearly be left to my own devices being a child prodigy (tongue firmly in cheek). And number two, I was looked after by the older members of the family when required as there’s a ten-year age gap between myself and my eldest sibling.
Back in the early ’90s child safety wasn’t such a big thing. I’m sure many of you will remember piling into a car for Sunday Mass oblivious of overloading. And I can only assume that in the technological dark ages of the ’90s the monitoring of a sleeping baby involved leaving the door ajar and peeking in on them regularly. My older siblings were great babysitters really and taught me a lot.
For instance, I have incredible balance – and I don’t mean in my life, I mean walking on walls, etc. You see as a five year old I was often hoisted on my brother’s shoulders while he walked around. You probably don’t think that’s too impressive, but what if I told you my brother was walking around on stilts?
Yes, back when Santa was frequenting the house, stilts and pogo sticks glittered greater than the latest Sega Megadrive game. Fossett’s eat your heart out. On the days when the big bro would be supervising, we used to play a trick on the poor female roomie, pretending I was going to fall off my brother’s shoulders. Cruel I know. Hey, we had to entertain ourselves somehow.
The roomies managed to rear the five of us into moderately responsible human beings, and without the help of modern technology. Nowadays prams/buggies are called ‘travel systems’ and in some cases can cost an arm and a leg.
The roomies have been reintroduced into the world of bottles, nappies and buggies thanks to their three granddaughters. Recently the roomies ran into a little difficulty while babysitting their youngest granddaughter Aoibh. I got a call from the female roomie wondering if I was around, as she and the male roomie were having difficulty turning on the baby monitor.
After explaining the ‘situation’ to the boyf I made my way up to the house to find them sitting down, intently watching the now fully functioning monitor, equipped with camera and all.
Crisis over. Asked if they found the ‘power button’ the male roomie responded, ‘I haven’t a clue, but we pressed something right’. In the absence of a monitor they had reverted to the old ‘leave the door ajar’ trick. Considering it has been over 25 years since they last had to spoon feed a child (they only have to cut up my food anymore), they can be forgiven for being a tad rusty.
Always one to ensure no one goes hungry, the female roomie once gave my niece enough food for two days, in one sitting. In fairness, my niece does have a serious appetite. And admittedly, I too struggle with the demands of babysitting, especially while changing nappies. Don’t get me started on baby grows. I reckon they could count as a task on ‘The Cube’.
If there’s some sort of baby bootcamp out there, there are a few people that could do with signing up, including moi.

In her fortnightly Diary of a Home Bird column, Ciara Galvin reveals the trials and tribulations of a twenty-something year old still living with her parents.