- If you plan to spend the afternoon watching Betty Boop cartoons and Peter Pan you may well wind up watching Bugs Bunny cartoons and Once Upon a Mattress instead. Enjoy the ride.
- Children leave a lot more crumbs than grownups, and may distractedly knock over a glass full of beverage more readily than an adult would. But you are the host, whatever the age of your guest.
- Eight-year old boys who don't watch much TV will watch Bugs Bunny cartoons with loud raucous laughter at every visual joke, just as if the jokes were absolutely and hilariously new. This is refreshing, and makes you want to join in.
- In general, children in my care behave much better than they behave in the presence of their parents, specifically when it comes to whining. This is in large part because when children are in my care it is under circumstances when I am paying full attention to them and I am determined to make them happy, so what would they have to whine about anyway, but it is also in part because even very young children know that I am not obligated to be spending time with them the way a parent or a sitter might be and there's no percentage in annoying me.
At one point on Saturday there was some squabbling over who could sit in which chair and I asked in all seriousness if I needed to settle this and the kids all looked at me directly and assured me no. But then I suggested we all get up and switch seats, including me, and for some reason that settled things.
- Since I am not the parent or the sitter, I can say, "Hey, let's have a bowl of whipped cream with chocolate sprinkles" after lunch. "For real?" said an amazed Lolo. Yup. Lolo was particularly impressed that I had special Dutch chocolate sprinkles on hand, like his father had for special occasions (which I had purchased for his father, in fact).
- You know what's really a lot of fun? If, while watching Bugs Bunny, you remember that you have some carrots in your refrigerator with their greenery still attached so you go and peel those carrots and bring them out to eat. At which point you all pick up a carrot and hold it sideways and eat it noisily. Saying "What's up, Doc?" while doing so is optional. This is the most fun way in the world to eat a carrot.
- Eight year old boys can surprise you. Smack didn't seem to be too interested in Once Upon a Mattress until one particular scene when he got very excited about the faux-Medieval shirt Prince Dauntless was wearing, which he analyzed in great detail for me. Then he started to explain things about the Royal Court system and how that related to marriage, but his brother told him to be quiet so we could watch the video.
- At one point Scott came down from the apartment upstairs, looked around, and said, "My babysitters never had Brie cheese for me." That, in part, could be explained by the fact that I wasn't really babysitting, although that was a reasonable conclusion for Scott to draw. The reason there was Brie on the serving tray was because the post-lunch snack of assorted cheeses included some good Irish Cheddar which was a big big hit with Anna and Smack and thus the Brie was left standing alone. Lolo made do with the crackers plain, explaining to me that plain crackers were sometimes very good.
- Three hours is a long time to sit, even if the kids sitting insist they want to sit and watch more Bugs Bunny. Next time I will insist upon an intermission.
- Shortly before his father arrived, Smack told me how much fun this was. Unbidden and out of the blue. I said, "Yeah, isn't this a fun apartment?" and he corrected me by saying, "You're fun!"
Oh yeah, the Bugs Bunny. A good thing to have around. In June of 2001 the Cartoon Network had a weekend marathon of Bugs Bunny cartoons and I videotaped twelve hours worth. I never watched those videos, and (as Anna reminded me), when I tried to play them two years ago they didn't play well. But I tried them in the new VCR just before Anna arrived and, with very slight tracking issues, they were perfectly watchable. Highly recommended for cross-generational viewing pleasure.