Babysitting by lostandwhatever
By popular demand, here is a sequel to Daycare.
Emma locked eyes with the girl in the pink dress who had arrived with the babysitter. Emma and the girl were both about the same age, but she had never seen the girl before, neither at preschool nor on the playground. The girl hid behind the babysitter’s leg as if she were peeking around a tree.
“Say ‘hello’ to Emma,” the teen babysitter said to the girl hiding behind her.
“H-hello,” the girl said to Emma.
Emma gave the girl a nervous wave and said, “Hello,” back to her.
The baby sitter said, “Emma, this is Liz. I’ll be babysitting the two of you together. Please try to be nice to each other.”
Then, the babysitter walked off and Emma was left alone with Liz. After an awkward moment of silence, Emma said, “Want to see my dolls?”
Liz shrugged, but she followed Emma to her play area and watched patiently as Emma took out her Barbra dolls and her stuffed animals, making sure to introduce each of them when she set them down on the floor.
When Emma had finished showing off her dolls, Liz nodded and, without a word, she walked off. Emma was so stunned by Liz’s behavior that it took her a moment to figure out what to do next. She decided to follow Liz but to keep hidden. When she caught up to Liz in the den, the girl was talking to the babysitter in hushed tones. Emma hid in the hall outside.
“I’m not doing this!” Liz fiercely whispered at the teen.
“You broke our agreement,” the babysitter softly replied. “This is your punishment.”
“I just suggested you might give babysitting a try,” Liz said.
“No orders,” the teen said. “That was the deal.”
“It wasn’t an ‘order.’ It was a ‘suggestion.’”
“Just be happy I’m not bringing you back to daycare for a day,” the teen said. “Unless you would prefer to do this in diapers…”
“No!” the girl said holding her hands up defensively. “Never again. This is fine. Preschool is fine.”
“Good,” the teen said. “Now, go play with sweet little Emma like a good little girl.”
“Fine,” Liz said.
When Emma saw Liz heading her way, she quietly rushed back to her toys and pretended to have been playing with them while Liz was away.
“So…” Liz said, sounding grumpy. “What do you want to play?”
“It’s okay,” Emma said. “You don’t have to play with me if you don’t want to.”
“It’s not that I don’t want to,” Liz said. “I just…” She sighed. “I really didn’t plan on being here today. I would rather have been doing something else.”
“Well,” Emma said as she set down her dolls. “What do you want to do?”
“I don’t know,” Liz said.
And idea came to Emma. She smiled and tapped Liz’s arm and said, “Tag! You’re it!” Then, she took off running across the living room. She turned around when she reached the hallway, expecting to see Liz chasing after her, but the other girl was just standing there looking confused.
Emma tried to be helpful. “You’re supposed to chase me and touch me and say ‘Tag, you’re it’ back to me. Then, it’s my turn to chase you,” she explained.
Liz sighed and said, “I know how to play Tag. I’m just doubtful if I really want to play Tag.”
Emma searched for a better idea for a game. “What if we played Tag and Hide-and-Go-Seek at the same time? I could hide somewhere, and when you find me, I can run away. Okay?”
“Good,” Liz said. “You go hide somewhere.”
Emma smiled and said, “Count to fifty.” Then, she ran off and found a closet to hide in. She waited and waited. After a while, though, she got tired of playing with the shoes inside and wondered what had happened to Liz. Emma left the closet and searched for the girl, but there was no sign of her. Next, she checked if the girl was with the babysitter, but the teen was watching TV alone.
“What’s up?” the babysitter asked Emma.
“I don’t know where Liz went,” she said.
The teen sighed and said, “Follow me.” She led Emma upstairs to her Mom and Dad’s bedroom and then opened the door to their private bathroom. They found Liz sitting on the closed toilet lid with a grown-up book open on her lap.
The teen crossed her arms and said, “Well?”
Liz looked a bit embarrassed as if she had been caught doing something wrong. “We’re playing Hide-and-Go-Seek,” she explained. “I’m playing.”
“Did you forget to go seek?” the teen asked.
Liz shut the book. “Sorry,” she said. “I’m trying, but this is so… childish.”
“That’s the point,” the teen said. “Either get in the spirt of it now or get used to it as a permanent situation.”
The girl handed the babysitter the book and got off the toilet. “I guess I’ll go hide, then,” Liz said.
“Okay,” Emma said, feeling a bit confused by everything. “I’ll start counting.” She covered her eyes and said, “one, two, three…” and listened as she heard both the babysitter and Liz leave. Then, when she had reached “fifty,” she cried, “Ready or not, here I come!”
It was not hard to find Liz. The girl was simply hiding behind a chair.
“Found you!’ Emma said.
Liz just looked back at her as she remained crouched behind the chair.
Emma whispered, “Now we play Tag. Go. Run.”
“Oh,” Liz said. “Sure.” She took off in a light jog. Emma gave the girl a sporting few seconds head start, and then she began to chase her. When Liz noticed Emma chasing her, she started running herself. Soon they were racing around the dinning room table, trying to fake each other out which way they would go. Liz started to smile a little more each time she dodged Emma. They started giggling and screeching as the chase ranged all over the house. Finally, Emma cornered Liz and tagged her. They started laughing hysterically.
“Okay, okay!” Liz said after she caught her breath. “My turn. You go hide.”
Emma hid behind a curtain, but it only took a few minutes for Liz to find her. Then, there was another great chase.
After a few more rounds, of Hide-and-Go-Seek-and-Then-Tag, Emma suggested they play with her dolls. Liz shrugged her shoulders and said, “Fine. Might as well. Let’s do it.”
They each played a part in a creating a story together with Emma’s many dolls as the main characters. Emma was impressed with how well Liz could tell a really good story. They were having so much fun that, when it was time for dinner, they were both annoyed that they had to stop playing to eat.
Still, they ate some pizza and immediately went back to playing together. Eventually, it got dark and the two of them began yawning more and more.
Then, Emma’s mom and dad came home. They paid the babysitter and Liz looked sad.
“I have to go now,” Liz said.
“It’s okay,” Emma said. “We can play again later.”
Liz shook her head and said, “I don’t think we can. This was just for today.”
“Oh,” Emma said. It was her turn to look sad. “I’m sorry. I guess this is goodbye then.”
“Goodbye,” Liz said and gave Emma a quick hug. “Thank you, Emma. This was the most fun I’ve had in many years.” Then, Liz took the babysitter’s hand, and they left together.
Emma missed Liz. Days went by, and she kept looking for Liz at the playground and other places, hoping she might find her new friend somewhere. But, Liz was nowhere to be found.
Then, it was time again for the babysitter to watch Emma. When the babysitter arrived, Emma was hopeful that Liz would be with her again, but she was disappointed to see that the babysitter was alone this time. “No Liz?’ she asked.
“No,” the babysitter said. “Liz won’t be coming anymore. Sorry.”
Emma frowned and spent much of the afternoon playing with her dolls alone, trying to recreate the story she and Liz had made together. It was not not the same, though. She needed Liz.
“You really miss her?” the babysitter asked the girl. “Don’t you?”
Emma nodded. She felt like crying but held back her tears.
The babysitter took out her phone and called someone. “Hi,” she said.
There was an inaudible reply.
The babysitter said, “Emma misses her friend, Liz.”
“Would you do it again?” the babysitter asked. “Just while I’m babysitting. No pressure. It’s your choice.”
A nearly silent reply.
Then, the babysitter smiled. “I’ll meet you out front of the house.”
“Is she coming?” Emma asked hopefully.
The babysitter said, “I think so.”
They waited for a short while, then there was a knock at the door. Emma could not see much though the oval window on the door, but she could tell there was some woman standing outside.
“You just wait right there,” the babysitter said. Then, the teen went to answer the door and stepped outside to talk to the woman. A few seconds later, the babysitter opened the door and little Liz walked in.
“Liz!” Emma cheered. “You’re back! You came back.”
“Yeah,” Liz said as she walked over to Emma. “I kinda missed you too. Playing with you makes me really happy, it turns out.”
“I like playing with you, too,” Emma said. She looked back at the door and noticed that the woman was gone. “Was that your mommy outside? Did she have to go?”
“Uh…” Liz said. “Something like that.”
Emma gave Liz a big hug and said, “Can you come with the babysitter every time from now on?”
“Sure,” Liz said. “I can. Sounds like fun.”
Emma took Liz’s hand and said, “Come on. Let’s play with the dolls again.”
Then, they played with the dolls and made other games together and chatted and giggled and had the most wonderful time ever, and Emma realized she was absolutely delighted to have a best friend as special as Liz.