Babysitting can be a great job if you get the right house. Unfortunately for these writers, they got the wrong house. Often multiple times. No money in the world would be world looking after some of these kids. Content has been edited for clarity.
What Was That?!
“I was watching my sister’s kids. It was around 11pm. I finished washing dishes and was sitting down to watch TV when I saw my niece standing in the doorway of the kid’s room in the reflection of the television.
Now, I was pretty upset because she spent hours crying and crying because she did not want to go to sleep. So, I get up to go get her and she runs to the bathroom. I stop and smile thinking she had to pee and went to sit back down when my nephew started crying. I groan and walk into the kids’ room and freeze. There was my niece sleeping on the bottom bunk and my nephew sitting on the top bunk crying. I glance back at the closed bathroom door and take a breath. I stood there wondering what I should do. The bathroom door was still closed and I saw my niece go in there, but she was sleeping.
Note: niece was two, nephew was four.
I told my nephew to be quiet and walk back out of the room and went to the bathroom door. I did not open it but pressed my ear against the door. I heard nothing.
I just imagined some dead girl standing on the other side of the door, waiting for me to answer it. I did not fall for that. I turned on the hallway light and walked back to the living room where I turned on that light and sat on the couch, facing the TV.
I was halfway through a movie when I saw through reflection of the TV, a light go off. I freeze and spin around. The hallway light was off. The bathroom door was open.
I hate to sound like some paranoid crazy person. I mean I wasn’t home alone, maybe one of the kids got up while I was watching TV. I get up and decided to check on the kids. I turned on the hallway light and shut the bathroom door as I passed. I walk into this room and my niece and nephew were both asleep. As I stood there watching, I hear the TV turn off and the house became black. I remember standing in the doorway feeling like I was about to have a panic attack when I thought I heard footsteps. I slammed the bedroom door shut and turned on the light and slid to the ground. Both kids woke up and they started to cry, but I did not care. I sat there with my back against the door for a couple more hours until my sister came home.
I told her my experiences and she just nodded and told me that she knows.
As I drove the thirty minutes home, I thought about how my nephew and niece would always beg me not to close their bedroom door when I put them to sleep in the past. It made me think about how my niece kept talking about her new friend and how my niece would sometimes play with an imaginary friend and how sometimes they both refused to enter their bedroom.
My sister feels creeped out as well. She has reported seeing weird things and hearing things. She has seen her daughter in her house even when her daughter is in preschool and has heard whispers coming from the vents from above her bed. I have been alone in her house before and in the silence, you really can hear hushed voices. I no longer go over there or watch them at night.”
Under The Couch??
“I was babysitting my neighbor’s 7 and 2-year-olds. We were sitting on the ground, playing with some building blocks that they had received for Christmas. The baby, naturally, had a lot of energy, so she started throwing blocks into the air. One block happened to find its way under the couch. (Still don’t know how that happened.) I told the oldest to try to find the block while I changed the baby’s diaper.
When I came back, the oldest was holding a purple object. She looked confused and was examining it carefully. For the sake of this next part, let’s call the oldest Rachel.
Me: ‘What is that, Rachel?’
Rachel: ‘I don’t know. I found it under the couch. I got the block, though.’
Me: ‘Let me see that.’
Rachel: ‘She handed it to me, still looking really confused.’
Me: ‘Why is it sticky?’
I took a closer look and realized (with great disgust) that it was a ‘mother’s special friend’ her mom had hidden under the couch. I set the ‘toy’ and baby down and wiped my hand on my pants.
Me: ‘Go wash your hands, Rachel.’
Rachel: ‘Why? What was that?’
Me: ‘Don’t worry about it. Just go wash your hands.’
I scrubbed my hands so hard I’m surprised my skin didn’t come off. Probably the nastiest experience I’ve ever had babysitting. I never mentioned it to their mother. I wanted to spare her the mortification.”
“I was actually with a girlfriend who was babysitting her sister’s kids.
She said to me, ‘Can you go check on Lacy?’
Lacy was a toddler who was still potty training. I got off the couch, and started walking to the bathroom.
I knocked on the door, ‘Lacy?’
She said, ‘You can come in!’
I went in. There she was, sitting on the toilet, smiling with her legs rocking like she was on a swing. On the ground next to the toilet, was a fresh poop.
‘I used the toilet!’
I said, ‘Well, I think you might have read the instructions backwards.'”
Always Under The Couch
“When I was about fourteen, my friend was babysitting her neighbors’ two kids. I knew the neighbors slightly because the mom was on the same bowling team as my mom. They seemed like a normal, decent, middle class family.
It was late, the two kids were sleeping, and my friend was a little spooked about being at the house alone. She called and asked me to come over and watch TV with her until the parents got home.
We sat on the floor in front of the couch, drinking Pepsi and eating a pizza. I accidentally knocked over my glass of Pepsi and it flowed under the couch.
My friend got a dish towel to clean it up. As we moved the couch out of the way, we noticed a large, wooden box that had been shoved underneath it.
We opened the box, of course.
It was filled with baggies of pot. All labeled with different names—the brands I suppose—and prices.
We were shocked. Neither of us could believe this couple would have been involved in such a thing. But then I realized that despite the husband working at a bicycle factory, which didn’t pay much at all, and the wife being a stay at home mom, they owned a decent house in the suburbs and drove nice cars.
My friend wanted to steal a few of the baggies and sell the stuff, but I talked her out of it. She reasoned that they wouldn’t really able to call the cops on us, but I was paranoid, thinking that if these people were as heavily into dealing as they appeared to be, they might not take too kindly to a couple of teenagers ripping off their merchandise.
After thinking about it, she agreed. We decided to keep our mouths shut and neither of us ever told anyone what we had found.
Neither of us ever babysat again either. Not for these people, nor for anyone else. We decided there were safer ways to earn 75 cents an hour, which was the going rate for babysitters back in 1978.
The experience was a very good illustration for the old adage, ‘Looks can be deceiving!'”
Mom Went Too Far
“I am a full-time nanny and have been for the past five years, but in childcare for the past 12. I am primarily a nanny of multiples, ranging from twins to quadruplets. Now, with that being said, you’d think I had run across a handful of demon children, which I have, but dear lord, it’s the parents that are the demons on more than one occasion.
The one in particular that comes to mind:
I started with a morning family that I found through Care.com after my regular family shortened my hours to afternoons only. When I first interviewed, the mom was notably odd––very in touch with emotions and very particular about food. She stated that she wanted me from 7am-12pm Monday through Friday for her 5-year-old son and her 3-year-old son while she either ran errands or worked from the home. Not too weird so far, but then she asked me what my parenting style was. I told her that my style was whatever hers was. I am perfectly fine altering my nannying style to fit each individual families needs. She told me she wanted the answer of what I was going to do when I was a parent, not in nannying. I told her my philosophy––be kind, be consistent, time-outs for bad behavior, etc.
She then told me hers: ‘we don’t tell our children ‘no; we don’t take their toys away; we don’t do time-outs.’
To say the least, I was confused about how on earth they run their household. Pretty much, she believed that each child had this ’emotional backpack’ where they store their feelings and they need to express them constantly. She also mentioned to me that both of her children sleep in her bed. All well and good, but here’s how her children acted with it once I was hired:
I asked the three-year old (still in diapers) to lay down, so I could change him. He refused, so I gave him a warning that I was going to pick him up and lay him down to change him. He then ran off to his mother screaming and crying. I told her why he was crying and this is what she said, ‘Did Brittany do something to upset you? You just go ahead and cry, I’ll hold you.’
Then once he was done with his tantrum, she said ‘I’m so proud of you for getting all those big feelings out.’
No. Your child threw a tantrum because he didn’t want his butt changed. He doesn’t need praise for that.
The five-year old was very independent, very smart, and very OCD. At one point, his brother and I were coloring. Now, as normal three year olds do, he was scribbling. His brother came in and started taunting his brother and telling him he was doing everything wrong. I told the older brother, ‘Your brother is trying to express his creativity. Let’s encourage him, rather than criticize him.’
The five-year-old bursts in to tears and runs to his mother and has the biggest wail about this, to which the mother responds the same as earlier.
One time, the five-year old was mad at his mother because she told him to get dressed. He came up and hit her across the face while screaming. She just let him. She kept praising him for getting his ‘big feelings’ out. He’s still hitting her, so she takes him to the shower, turns the water on both of them (fully clothed) and tries to get him to calm down.
Besides those incidents, I can’t get either child to do anything, especially with the mother around. After a few weeks, she introduced me to more rules and more expectations. She wanted me to have a schedule with them and wanted me to do some homeschooling. No big deal, got it…but then, anytime I told them it was time for blah blah blah, she’d swoop in and say that they could just play instead. Like, the children just woke up that morning and I told them to brush their teeth. They said they wanted to play and the mom negotiated with them by asking them if that’s what they thought they ‘felt’ they needed to do. Like, no matter what I or the mother said it was time to do, as long as the kid ‘felt’ like he didn’t need to do said thing, then he didn’t need to do so.
At one point, the mom and I took the kids to the library. I told her we needed to finish up soon because I needed to get going to my other job soon. We got to the car, and because the five-year old didn’t ‘feel’ like getting in the car, she let him stand outside for 25 minutes before he ‘felt’ like getting in the car, resulting in me being late for my next job.
She also was really strange with food too. She was one of those people who legitimately treated organic food as a religion (her words). She had a number system for food 1-5. The only things that were listed as #1 (as in completely healthy) was a vitamin called Chywanprash. Even fruits and vegetables were labeled as a #2. Salads and healthy food? #3. Bread? #4. And anything sweet #5. The thing is, she classified anything above a #2 to be unhealthy, so these children thought a simple salad or anything normal, was bad for them, so they wouldn’t eat it. Anytime they did have any sweets, they’d go nuts over wanting more because she deprived them of everything. They’d have full day tantrums because of it.
The last note is that she didn’t allow any electronics in the bedroom, not even an alarm clock. This meant that I had to wait every single day in the cold, ringing the doorbell constantly (sometimes up to 45 minutes) for them to come answer the door.
Needless to say, I quit within two months. It was utterly ridiculous. At the end of it, she asked me to review her family and children. She asked me the pros and cons. She was very shocked to hear that the only pro I listed was that their children had a very good vocabulary.”
Never Going There Again
“I babysat all through junior high and high school to make my spending money. The worst was a referral for the friends of a family I babysat for all the time. There were two twin boys who were eight and a little girl who was just starting her toilet training.
The kids were very nice during the introductions. But it soon turned out they were hyper as all get out as soon as their parents left. The boys whooped and hollered and chased each other through the house. I convinced them to play Legos or whatever in their room to quiet them down because I had to deal with the little girl who needed to potty. She kept trying to poop in her little training potty, but it wasn’t happening. Then, I heard the boys screaming at the top of their lungs, so I left the girl on her potty to find out why the boys were freaking out.
The boys’ bedroom had two single beds. Each boy was standing on his bed PEEING at the other one like they were having a pee-pee duel. They got urine everywhere, on the walls, the carpet, the sheets and all over each other.
I’m ticked at these kids and tell them to change their clothes and strip the sheets. They just keep laughing at me and make me chase them around the house like it is a funny game to be soaked in pee.
Meanwhile, the little girl (who is not wearing any pants or undies) drags her potty into the kitchen singing at the top of her lungs about how she pooped and wants me to look. When one of the boys runs through the kitchen, he accidentally overturns the potty and stuff gets all over the linoleum.
As much as I wanted to cry from utter frustration, I managed to hold my temper and calm them all down enough while I cleaned up as best I could. It’s tough when it isn’t your house and I had no idea where they kept all their cleaning supplies.
When the parents finally came home, they didn’t offer any apologies for how their kids behaved or any extra tip or anything like that. Needless to say, that was the first and last time I ever babysat for that family!”
The Poor Cat
“I used to baby sit the two boys of family while their parents Went out once every few weeks to get some alone time. I had looked after them before, and they were usually well-behaved and listened very well. This family had a few cats and they would climb in all sorts of odd places, such as in the sinks, bookshelves, cupboards etc.
Well, this night I guess they had left the dryer door open and when one of the kids went downstairs to get his ball hockey gear I guess he closed the door on the cat and started the dryer.
I was already outside waiting at this point, so I heard nothing about this until we came back inside and I noticed the dryer was on. I asked the kids why it was on and they said their mom was doing laundry. I knew for a fact that it was off when after the parents left so when I went to investigate I opened it to a completely burned and mangled cat that was essentially twisted like a pretzel.
I told the parents what happened and that their kid was a psychopath and needs help now because he clearly is not right in the head. Never babysat anyone’s kids ever again. The parents were in shock. They didn’t blame me or get mad– just shocked that one of their kids murdered their cat like that. It still makes me uncomfortable to think about him.”
“I used to babysit for my next door neighbor who had an 8-year-old girl and a five-year-old boy. I was 13 when I started babysitting for them and I knew off the bat the kids were an interesting duo, to say the least, and I have too many stories to tell from when I was watching them. We all went to school together, so when we got off the bus, we’d walk to their apartment and I’d watch them, made sure we got homework done, and make them the Snack of the Day.
One day, we had a half day at school, and I think the mom forgot, because when we walked into the apartment, I heard one of the doors shut. At the time, we thought it was an intruder, so I grabbed the 5-year-old’s baseball bat, told them to stay in the room and I’d do some investigating.
I opened the bathroom door, and there was the mom, half dressed, with a guy that wasn’t her husband. She gave me all the money in her wallet and her business card (she was a photographer) and told me to never speak of it again. I caught her cheating and made out with $400 and a $650 photo shoot package (took pictures for all the upcoming holidays, so I could keep giving gifts to my family).
I babysat them for about 3 months after, before they moved away.”
Too Much Cordial Maybe
“I babysat for a few families on my street as a preteen/teen. Word of mouth spread and a family maybe six streets away asked me to watch three kids. Three kids seemed like a lot for not knowing them, but they said they’d only be gone a few hours.
The parents leave and the kids turn into demon spawn. Two little boys and one youngest child girl. They tormented her until she was literally hiding/clinging to my legs and clothes. I turned on a movie and they were okay for a minute.
Then one boy gets up and pulls his pants down and literally just starts peeing in the middle of the living room (he’s 6, so totally potty trained). I freak out and start to clean it up and send the boy to his room. The other brother followed him, as they shared a room. He just sat there with him. The girl sneaks downstairs throughout all this and unbeknownst to me starts making an F5 grade mess.
After I clean the pee, I go to get them out of the boys’ room. Surprise, door is closed. Oh, and apparently locked. The one boy is only 3 and is crying because he can’t open it and his brother won’t let him out. The older boy is defiant and just screaming at me ‘NO IM NOT OPENING IT. YOU’RE NOT MY MOM! I WANT MY MOMMY!’
We had a stand-off for a few minutes before I realized the girl was gone.
Well, I wasn’t getting the boys out, so I went to get the phone and call the parents while I tried to find the girl. She pulled out ALL the toys, and they were everywhere and I couldn’t find her because she was like in a pillow pile somewhere.
I don’t really have an ending to the story, but needless to say I was pretty much in tears by the time they came home. One of them drove me home and kept apologizing and hoped I’d still give them another chance. That did not happen.”
The Wall of Scent
“I babysat for a family in high school. They typically brought over their two little kids and then went to work on the weekends. The first time I watched them, I immediately noticed a couple of things. First, they had serious speech impediments. Like, they were 5 and 7, and they were essentially unintelligible for most words. I could typically understand what they wanted by having them point it out (for instance what food they wanted) and we worked on speech and pronunciation a lot. Second, they reeked like they had spent most of their lives living in a litter box. They just carried this deep-rooted musky scent of cat urine and feces with them. So we also worked on hygiene and bathing (we’d wash their dirty clothes and give them a bath when they came over). This went on for a few months until one night their parents asked my brother and I to watch the kids at their place. Sure, we’ll do it, the kids are pretty fun and it was easy money.
When we get to their place, I saw that it was a double-wide trailer and the door was open. We started to roll up and a stink just hit me. I’ve had people describe particularly putrid smells as a wall of scent and that is 100% accurate to what I experienced. I’m fairly certain I lack the capability to describe just how bad this place stunk. It was like somebody had taken a jar of cat pee, let it ferment all summer in Texas, and then surprised me by opening it in my face. It was just pervasive and no place in their trailer didn’t make me retch.
The parents went off to work and left us to watch the kids. I was extremely skeptical about sitting down on their furniture because there was cat poop everywhere. There were three litter boxes practically overflowing with it, there was cat poop in the (unused) shower, there was cat poop behind the couch, and the cushions had obviously seen some action too. When I go to cook dinner for the kids, the shelves are practically empty. There were no pots, so I ended up microwaving some hot dogs for them, which was apparently an extremely common meal.
The room that the kids stayed in was inundated with cat excrement and toys. One of the kids couldn’t even sleep in his bed there was just so much stuff, so he slept on the couch.
When we got home after that ordeal, we had a long talk with our mom about calling child services and ultimately decided to do it. I’d learn later that they removed the older child from their custody due to anger problems he had that resulted in him beating his little brother. It makes me tear up just thinking about those kids. The older one must be about 18 now and the younger one is probably 16 or so. I’m not sure I have the heart to look them up.”