Have you ever babysat for family members? I have on very few occasions. Not for lack of babies or desire, but just because I was in college full-time during the baby boom of my extended family. That, and many of my child-bearing cousins lived in a different state at the time.
During a summer break, as my friend and her grandmother were going with her little cousins, I offered one of my cousins to take her sons to the aquarium, too. I love these little boys. Alex was 6 and Anthony was only 1. I didn’t think to take a stroller (mistake numero uno) nor a leash for Alex (mistake number dos)
We arrive at the aquarium and we’re all excited. There are so many fish, sting rays, and sharks to look at. Little Anthony is mesmerized in my arms. We stay a little longer near the sting rays for him. Alex jumps through the throngs of people like a little sprite. I see mischief brewing in his eyes. “Alex, please stay next to me!” He replies, “Ok!” Two seconds later, he’s gone again.
I find him at the next display of seahorses, talking to kids and adults alike. (Did I mention he’s a ham?) I grab his hand and we move on to the next level. The Baltimore Aquarium has multiple levels. You go up escalators, but on the way down, you walk on angled ramps. At the very top there is a greenhouse of sorts where you can look out on the city. We didn’t spend too much time up there as it was hot.
On our way back down, Alex had the little gleam of mischief again. I was exhausted from chasing him down everywhere, and little Anthony kept getting heavier and heavier. Not good.
As we’re walking away from the shark tank, I see Alex first make a cartwheel down one of the ramps. I give him my best death stare. He looks at me, smiles and giggles, and turns to one of the fish tanks. As I start walking down the ramp to go near him, he makes another cartwheel. “ALEX! Don’t do that!” I say. I am ignored. Only this time, he lays himself down on the floor and rolls, yes rolls down the ramp for about 10 feet, completely unaware of the dangerous drop off to the next level down.
I do the only thing I can muster up, hearing his mother’s voice in my head as she threatens him with a punishment for being bad: “Alex, I’m gonna beatyou!” (Mistake numero tres). This catches his attention. He stands up, puts a hand on his hip and with the other, shakes a finger at me. “You can’t beat me! You’re not my mother!”
As if on cue, all of the adults within earshot turn to look at the unfolding debacle. Pairs, after pairs of expectant eyes look at my face, with slight smirks, silently asking, “What’s your next move, lady?”
Flustered, embarrassed, tired, hangry and red in the face, I mumble something unintelligible. Sometime really adult-like along the lines of, “So?!”
I grab his skinny little wrist and got the hell outta Dodge. Well, we go get food and lemonade because we are BEAT.
Have you ever been outsmarted by a 6 year old?