The Trouble with Babysitting

Olivia was bursting with joy. She had just turned nine, and she got an iPad for her present. She smiled as she quickly downloaded a million video games and apps. But little did she know that the new love she had just found would soon be lost forever.

One day, Olivia’s dad was dragging her and her two-year-old sister, Veronica, out of the house.

“We must go to this store. Don’t you want to have at least one good-looking couch in this house? We must go to the furniture store. You can bring your iPad if you want,” Olivia’s dad said.

So Olivia brought her iPad. And a purse. And she left it in the taxi cab. Olivia cried and cried when she realized what she did.

“I am so irresponsible!” she cried.

“Well, I won’t get you a new one. You’ll have to save up for it, because I am not spending a thousand dollars because you don’t know the meaning of responsibility,”  Olivia’s mom said sternly.

“It is very expensive. Maybe we should help her out a bit,” Olivia’s dad said.

“Nope. She needs to learn how to keep track of her things,” Mom replied.

“But how will I earn all that money?” Olivia asked.

“You can start by taking care of Veronica when I’m not around. Feed her, love her, give her everything she needs. Babysitting is tough, but I trust you’ll figure it out.”

“Hmm, that doesn’t seem too bad. When can I start?” Olivia asked her mom.

Olivia’s mom handed her Veronica and grabbed her purse and keys off the table in the store.

“How about now? Take Veronica home from this furniture store, feed her, and put her to nap. I expect you will act responsibly, and not lose her like you lost your iPad.”

“Of course I won’t!” Olivia said and hailed a taxi for the two of them.

Olivia’s mom took a deep breath and said,”Good luck. I have a feeling you’re going to need it.”

She handed Olivia two sheets of paper.

“This paper has the rules that you must follow as a babysitter, and this sheet of paper is Veronica’s schedule. Now goodbye. Oh, look at our daugher, growing up so fast. I remember when you were only Veronica’s age, and now you’re babysitting already!”

And then she began to cry.

“Okay, Mom. Let’s not be overdramatic,” Olivia said.

Mom wiped her eyes and said, “Okay, your dad and I are just going to shop for couches. We’ll be back soon. And remember, make sure you follow the rules.”

Dad frowned. “She is very young. We shouldn’t let her just take the baby.”

“Oh, she’ll be fine,” Mom said.

Then Olivia hugged her mom and dad goodbye and soon found a taxicab.

“Nope, I don’t see my iPad in here,” said Olivia. “Let’s try another one.”

Olivia hailed another cab. It didn’t have her iPad either. After 1,000 more cabs, Olivia gave up.

“I guess my iPad is lost forever,” she said in disappointment.


She hopped in a cab and buckled in her seat belt. She saw in big letters, on the piece of paper her mom gave her: ALWAYS REMEMBER TO STRAP IN VERONICA’S CAR SEAT WHEN IN CABS OR CARS. Olivia did not have Veronica’s car seat, so she just buckled in Veronica’s seat belt. Or at least tried to. When Olivia tried to strap Veronica in, she cried and squirmed and screamed. Olivia couldn’t bear to see her sister so unhappy, so she decided to just let it go. After all, it wasn’t like car accidents happened that much. Veronica could go without her seat belt one time. All of a sudden, Olivia realized something. She didn’t know how to babysit! She still needed a babysitter herself! But she needed that iPad, and she was willing to do whatever it took to get another one. When they got home, Olivia went on Google and typed in: how to babysit a toddler.

The screen said: If you want to learn how to babysit children, visit Olivia clicked on the link. It said: Want to be a good babysitter, but have no idea how to do it? Read How to Be The Best Babysitter. Only $1.99 at Barnes and Nobles. Olivia looked at the link and smiled. She would be the best babysitter ever, and her mom would have to give her an iPad then! But how was she going to drag Veronica to the bookstore when it was past her nap time? The sheet of paper said: NAP TIME IS STRICTLY AT 2:30 IN THE AFTERNOON, and it was almost 3:30! How would she put Veronica to nap and go to the bookstore at the same time? She knew that she had to follow Veronica’s schedule, but what was the harm in letting her skip one nap?

Meanwhile, Veronica was running around the house shouting, “I don’t want sleep!”

“Well, guess what? You don’t have to!” said Olivia.

Veronica stared at her sister. Then she gave a big grin.

“No sleep for me! I don’t have to nap!” she shouted happily.

“That’s right, no sleep for you. Now come with me, we’re going to buy some books,” Olivia said.

Olivia strapped in Veronica’s stroller and pushed it out of the house. Olivia bumped into trees and a lot of people on the street with the stroller. She nearly ran over an old lady! The old lady yelled at Olivia. She chased them all the way to the bookstore!

“You have to watch your stroller, little girl,” she said angrily.

“Sorry,” Olivia replied.

Olivia went to the corner of the bookstore labeled CHILD CARE and looked for the right book. She picked her book and then heard a screechy, annoying noise. It sounded like glass breaking. It was Veronica’s whining.

“But what about me? I need to buy book too,” she said.

She was dreaming about the books with all her favorite characters in them, like Elmo and Thomas.

“Okay,” Olivia replied, and went over to the baby book corner. “I’ll buy a book for you.”

But then Olivia remembered something. It was supposed to be Veronica’s naptime a long time ago! Her parents had specifically told her to follow Veronica’s schedule at all times, and she had let Veronica skip part of her daily routine so she could focus on her own needs. If she wanted to earn money, she had to be a good babysitter.  

“Pick out a book quickly, and then it’s nap time.” Olivia said.

“But I don’t want sleep!” Veronica screamed.

“Well, it’s not a choice. You have to go to sleep anyway.” Olivia replied.

Olivia smiled. She was becoming a better babysitter already, and she hadn’t even read one page of the book yet! She was confident that once she read the whole book, she would be the best babysitter in the world!

Veronica picked out a book. It was called Elmo Loves You. An amazing book for two year olds, but torture for nine year olds. She put Veronica into the stroller and sang her a goodnight song. Then she went over to the checkout desk to pay for the books.

“How old are you?” the cashier asked.

“I am nine.” Olivia replied.

“I must say, you seem very young to be babysitting that girl. Do your parents know you’re doing this?” the cashier asked.

“Yes, they asked me to take care of my little sister. I am going to get paid for it.” Olivia replied.

“I see. Yes, what irresponsible parents. Leaving a nine-year-old with a baby. Who does that? People are so crazy nowadays,” the cashier remarked.

“You know, it’s none of your business. You’re a cashier. It’s not your job to peek into our business. You’re only supposed to help me with checkout.” Olivia said.

“Sorry. Okay, so your total is $5.00.”

Olivia did not have that money, so she decided to not buy Veronica a book. Veronica already had a million books at home — the last thing she needed was another book! Veronica couldn’t go to sleep.

Olivia said, “Do you want me to sing you another song?”

“No. I want my paci. Where’s my paci? I NEED MY PACI!” Veronica shouted.

“I’m sorry, but we left your pacifier at home. You’ll have to nap without it.” Olivia replied.

Veronica burst into tears. She flailed her arms around.

“I can’t sleep without pacifier. GIVE IT TO ME!” she yelled.

Veronica’s parents had been trying to get her to give up the pacifier for a long time, and now it almost seemed like she would hang on to it forever. It seemed like she would be like her cousins who were eight and ten years old and still used a pacifier every single night.

But their parents were still holding onto the idea that Veronica would give up her pacifier before she turned three. They had an idea. Mom’s friends dressed up as fairies and took Veronica’s pacifiers and threw them away. Mom told Veronica that the “pacifier fairy” was coming. But since Veronica was never really into fairies, this plan didn’t work.

The truth was, there was a whole pack of pacifiers in the back of the stroller. Olivia had just said that they had none because the sheet of paper her mom gave her said: DON’T GIVE VERONICA A PACIFIER. IF YOU DO, SHE WILL GET BUCK TEETH. But if it was the only way Veronica would fall asleep, Olivia had no problem. After all, it was just a pacifier. It was so small. What was so wrong with it? Olivia handed Veronica the pacifier. “

Now will you go to sleep?

“Okay, but just a really short nap,” Veronica agreed.

Veronica sucked away at her pacifier. Pretty soon, her eyes began to close. She fell fast asleep. Olivia pushed the stroller back home, recklessly bumping into people again.

When they got home, Olivia tried to put Veronica in the crib, but she was not strong enough to pick her up. She held her for a second, but then dropped her in roughly.

Olivia relaxed in her room and took a break from all the action. Finally some peace and quiet! Olivia collapsed on her bed and opened her babysitting book. The book said, WARNING: NEVER SLEEP ON THE JOB. Olivia was exhausted from all her hard work and just wanted to break the rules one more time, but she knew she couldn’t. But she could not help herself. She fell right asleep. A while later, Veronica started crying again. Olivia groaned. She had been asleep for two hours, but it felt like two seconds. It was time for Veronica to have dinner now. Olivia lazily slouched all the way to Veronica’s room. She got Veronica out of the crib, but dropped her on the floor.

“You hurt me,” Veronica said.

Olivia frowned. Toddlers could be so annoying sometimes.

“Not on purpose,” Olivia replied. “I was trying to get you out of the crib.”

“I’m hungry,” Veronica said.

Olivia did not know how to cook! What was she going to do? She was about to call her mom and tell her that she couldn’t handle babysitting, but then she remembered why she agreed to do it in the first place. She needed that money, and she needed that iPad. She thought about all the virtual pets she wanted to take care of again, and all the video games she wanted to beat her friends at, and she thought to herself, I can do this. She ran over to the kitchen and tried to mix some ingredients together. Then she carefully placed them in the oven. When the food was ready, she gave it to Veronica, and she spit it out.

“This tastes yucky! Give me something else,” Veronica said in disgust.

“What else do you want?” Olivia asked.

“Ice cream and sweets,” Veronica replied.

Olivia was about to say, “No way,” but then she remembered she was not the parent.

She was the sister. She was the one who was supposed to spoil Veronica. She got out the ice cream from the freezer and scooped it up.

“Here you go,” Olivia said.

“Ice cream! Thank you so much!” Veronica shouted happily.

Her face was filled with ice cream.

“You’re welcome. But let’s wipe your face, so Mom doesn’t find out I let you have ice cream for dinner,” Olivia said.

Olivia wiped Veronica’s face and put away the ice cream. She didn’t want her mom to get mad at her. When her mom got mad, she would turn into a monster. She would shout and scream like a baby.

Soon after that, the parents came home.

“How’d it go?” Mom asked.

“Great! So, do I get my money?” Olivia asked.

“Here you go,” Dad said and handed Olivia twenty dollars.

“Keep babysitting and I’ll give you 40 dollars,” Mom said.

So Olivia kept babysitting. And she got better and better at it. She pushed Veronica’s stroller without bumping into anything. She learned how to entertain Veronica. She always followed Veronica’s schedule. She got cooking lessons from her mom. She put Veronica to bed without her pacifier. She was no longer the spoiling sister. She was the star babysitter. After six months of babysitting, Olivia finally got enough money to buy an iPad. She went to the Apple Store with all her money and bought it.

“You have to be responsible with it this time. Don’t take it out of the house, and always keep track of it,” Olivia’s mom said.

“I’m so proud of you!” her dad said.

“Thanks, Dad. And I promise I will take good care of the iPad,” Olivia replied.

Even after she got the iPad, Olivia continued to babysit. But this time, she didn’t do it for money. She did it for free. She did it because she loved it. And Olivia and Veronica became really close. Whenever Veronica was getting put to bed, Olivia would always cuddle with her and read her books. Olivia still had a little money left, so she bought Veronica the Elmo book she had wanted to buy at the bookstore. And Olivia and Veronica were the best and closest of sisters.

And I should know because I am Olivia.




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