I’d never been much of a babysitter, and in the corporate world I had few opportunities to be around kids. So I thought the relative calm was a major accomplishment. Then the oven buzzer went off, we each ate two cookies, and I could almost see the sugar blasting into their bloodstreams.
What had been a workable volume of chatter went to eardrumshattering chaos. For about ten minutes they ran around like little yipping dogs after a triple dose of espresso. All I could do was watch in horror as they zipped from one couch to another, up and over the living room table, around and around the foyer, into my bedroom, then into and out of the bathroom.
They played drums on the furniture and screamed at one another and slammed doors. A part of me remembered enjoying similar frenzies in my own childhood. A bigger part of me could only stand paralyzed.
Finally, I turned on a movie and sat them all on the couch. Then one got hurt wrestling with another. Pretty soon, two were crying and one was yelling. I sat in the middle of the room trying to adjust the VCR, feeling suddenly filled with hostility at these kids.