I’m doing a favor for a friend, babysitting twice a week because of scheduling conflicts with her classes this semester. I babysit her 4 1/2 year old son and 11 month old daughter. I’ve regularly babysat the boy from about age 1 and the girl practically from birth.
The girl is easy. She’s a little fussy because she’s teething, but that’s cured with teething rings and baby Tylenol.
The boy is a different story.
He has always been a rather difficult child. Whether because of genetics (his father has ADD) or because of his excessive TV watching, he can be a monster. He can’t amuse himself for more than 5 minutes with his toys, will destroy anything he can get his hands on, regularly ignores me, and is generally a total brat.
He’s gotten worse lately, because both his mother and father recently remarried (other people) and had a baby within months of each other, so now he has an 11 month old sister and 1 month old brother who “steal” some of his parents affection whether he’s at mom’s or dad’s. He’s extremely jealous of his sister (and his brother too, I’d imagine) and will pretend to cry or hang onto my legs when I’m dealing with a fussy baby.
But worst, he is incredibly defiant. He’ll continue to hit me, take the baby’s pacifier, get into things he shouldn’t, and won’t listen when I tell him to stop. He laughs when I lose my temper (although he screams and cries in time out).
Bedtime is also a problem. He goes to bed at 8. About 7:15 tonight I let him know it would be bedtime soon, and put a movie on for him. About 7:30, I helped him into his pajamas and let him know it would be bedtime soon. 3 minutes before 8, I told him it was bedtime, turned off his TV, and closed the door. Screaming and banging ensued, for a full 10 minutes. And he can scream.
But yesterday I babysat too, with my boyfriend here for company. I asked my BF to put him to bed, and he did exactly what I did. “OK, time for bed.” Turn off TV. Close door. The response? “OK.” Roll over. No screaming.
It’s driving me nuts. When I got here today, the baby started fussing as soon as her mother left, so I was trying to deal with her while he’s climbing all over the couch, almost kicking his sister in the face, climbing onto my back. He followed me around the entire time the baby was awake, fake crying or “trying to hug me,” which really means grabbing my legs and almost tripping me.
I know some of his behaviors are normal for his age, I’ve been babysitting for relatives or as an afterschool job since I was 11, but I’ve never seen such a hellion before. I put him in time out for one reason or another a few months ago, and he crapped his pants to spite me (his mom warned me he does that sometimes).
The biggest problem is that he can’t amuse himself. He has a ton of toys, but can’t just hang out and play with blocks or dolls like my niece did at his age. If he doesn’t have a movie on to sedate him, or if it’s a movie that he’s bored with, he’ll either get into trouble or follow me and the baby around trying to get my attention.
What the hell do I do? When it was just him, it was irritating, but now that there’s an infant to deal with too, it’s just too much. I haven’t had to babysit the two of them very often, because usually when my friend needs a babysitter it’s on the weekend when the boy’s at his dad’s house. I don’t know if I can deal with it.