Saturday, March 5, 2011

Why We Should All Perpetually Babysit

I'm a bit of a fan of babysitting; it's one of my favourite things to do of an evening. It's like you're Santa Claus: you get to hang out in other people's living rooms; you can leave without folding the washing or loading the dishwasher; and there's always a snack and something to drink left on the kitchen bench.

But the benefits of babysitting extend far beyond the sherry and carrot sticks. Babysitting gives you access to miles and miles of other people's book shelves. I would never have read The Science of Superheroes, or the less cheery but equally fascinating Mountaincraft and Leadership if I hadn't been a serial babysitter in some pals' houses. (Not to mention The Complete Kama Sutra - heavens! Life would have been the poorer for that.)

So I'd like to make a suggestion: I propose that we all establish households, have children, get guinea pigs, etc., then promptly head out our front doors and move into the house immediately to the left of our own. That way we'll have that 'Just here for the evening and ooh! Isn't the telly so much more interesting over here' feeling all the time.

Now if you'll excuse me my charges for the night are fast asleep, there's dark chocolate dipping sauce on the kitchen bench just waiting for me, and that couch in the loungeroom looks so much more comfortable than my own. Sweet gig or what.


Lewd Bob said...

Trouble is, the house immediately to my left is a dingy laneway littered with rubbish, rubble and syringes.

The Elephant's Child said...

Sounds like a great idea for the books and the munchies. Could I ask to only babysit cats? A bit dubious about my child minding skills.

Kettle said...

Could I ask to only babysit cats?

Oh indeed, EC; I have 'babysat' both cats and dogs before and walked away with a well decent bounty of goodies. We need a website, hey, where people can bid for our services and those with the best snacks/easiest parking/biggest download limits can have us no worries.

Bob, your concern is indeed a serious one.

It just means the system is going to need some clarifications and subclauses:

Perpetual Babysitting Act, 2011

1. This Act states that:

1.1. Person or persons must establish households, produce children, procure guinea pigs (or an/other small domesticated animal/s) at the completion of which they must relocate to the dwelling immediately to his or her (or their) left, provided:

1.1.1. There is a dwelling immediately to the left of the original dwelling; and That left-oriented dwelling is habitable.

1.2. In the event that the conditions in 1.1.1. and cannot be met, the person or persons are to receive funding from the Federal Government to build an appropriate dwelling, as outlined in the Regulations (Reg 1.2.1.)

Bob just in case your copy of the Regs has been used to line the guinea pig hutch (so often the case with the Trade Practices legislation), Regulation 1.2.1. states:

Reg. 1.2.1. Person or persons who are eligible to receive funding (namely, those residing next door to vacant lots and dingy laneways, especially those full of rubbish, rubble and/or syringes) for the construction of an appropriate dwelling will receive a sum sufficient to construct a dwelling that is royally awesome.

Reg. A royally awesome dwelling will include: shower cubicles with double shower heads, a helipad, and a live-in (government funded) barista.

I think that should clear up any problems, Bob.

Lewd Bob said...

A royally awesome dwelling would be swell, thanks.

As well as the barista, can I also have a beer guy?

Kettle said...

can I also have a beer guy?

Yes, yes of course.

That's the beauty of writing your own Act.

Who ever said getting new laws was hard? Bah!

Kettle said...

Using the correctly formed 'whoever', now that's a different story.

The Elephant's Child said...

I love your posts they make me smile broadly so ... I have awarded you a stylish blogger award which you can check out at

squib said...

I don't like staying in other people's houses. They never have teabag squeezers and 1kg tins of Milo and Star Trek. Also, other people's children are usually devil spawn

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

You'd like staying at our place, Squib.

True, we have no teabag squeezers but we are awash with alcohol.

And books.

Kettle said...

Heavens EC! How very nice of you. Cheers.

Squib you would be perfectly at home at our place. We're up to season six (disc three) of Star Trek: Next Gen (second viewing), we have tea coming out our ears (almost literally), and all sorts of chocolate-flavoured drinks.

we are awash with alcohol.

And books.

Ramon your place sounds like the Contiki tour for the Gen X with an Arts degree. Where do we sign up?

squib said...

hmmmm... what about the devil spawn part?

Kettle said...

Nah, my boy won't bother you. He may blow you an air kiss every now and then but he'll leave you to your own devices (dvds, whatever).

It's Mr Kettle you've got to watch. Cheeky bastard, he is.

Alex said...

It's Mr Kettle you've got to watch.

Wait, the plan is to trade homes, children AND spouses?

Okay, now things are getting interesting.

Catastrophe Waitress said...

Yippeee! (a post by you)
Hello, lovely Kettle!

I was a serial teenage babysitter (title for a book?) for many years. My favourite jobs involved bribery. Those couples who used books, magazines and foods from the chocolate and cake food groups to procure and retain my services.

I sure miss those days.

Kettle said...

Wait, the plan is to trade homes, children AND spouses?

Heavens! It's starting to sound like a precis of Wife Swap USA.

Ms Catast! Hello hello. I was a little alarmed by your "I sure miss those days" comment because I hadn't even thought about the fact that some day my boy and all my friends' kids will be too old to need babysitting, which will seriously curtail my access to unlimited cake and chocolate dipping sauce supplies.

Speaking of people who rarely update their blogs, ahem Ms Catast...

Catastrophe Waitress said...

Yes, I have a 12yo & an 8yo now. As long as I teach them to use one of those electric can openers and get in enough packets of salt and vinegar crisps and brie, well I could probably leave them here on their own for 14 days straight!

Luckily enough, they know how to use the microwave too, which opens a whole other food group for them. Convenience foods. You've got your microwave popcorn, microwave cheese, microwave pizza. The choices are endless.

I shouldn't like to think about what the state of the guinea pig cage would be like when I got back though.

Kettle said...

Dear Ms Catast, would the kids serve the brie on the salt and vinegar chips? Or as a side?

These are important questions.

Catastrophe Waitress said...

If there's one thing I'm proud of, it's the fact that I didn't raise myself a couple of fussy crisp eaters, Mme Kettle! They're wonderfully versatile. Brie on top of the crisps when we're in relaxed company, and purely as a side dish when we're entertaining above our station.

You might want to keep that little rule in mind for your own little tête-à-têtes.

You should do a post about food. Do you hold regular dinner parties? I was always envious of those closing scenes of Jamie Oliver's cooking shows. Remember? All those hipster friends gathered around the table, big teeth and uncrushed linen shirts, delicately guzzling down oysters and toad in the hole.

Kettle said...

Ooh! A brie side dish, lovely Ms Catast. It's completely suburban but a pal and I are well into those cheese and onion chips coated with French Onion dip. We've had many gentlemen's lunches with just such an entre. Completely wrongness but bloody delicious.

A food post, hey? Although, I'm a vegetarian and as my Mum delights in telling me (often), vegetarianism is "sooooooooo boring, so so boring. Seriously boring, so so so very boring. So boring. Seriously. Boooooorrrring".

Mum and I actually get on brilliantly, apart from the food thing.

Catastrophe Waitress said...

Word verification: vulgar (heeee!)

A vegetarian?
Well you MUST tell us about the time you made that splendid Margaret Fulton nut roast, and one of your false nails fell into the mix, and the hilarious consequences.