Misadventures in Babysitting

I recently reread the first three books of The Baby-Sitters Club series, and the nostalgia was overwhelming. I remember being inspired back in the day to make my own “kid kit” and be the best babysitter EVER. I’ve been blessed to care for children of all ages, and I like to think that I made some kind of positive impact on their lives. This is starting to sound heartwarming so let me put on the brakes because this is not about the good times. Be honest; you’re here to laugh at my expense. 😂 This is a more accurate description of what you’re about to read:

Just to be clear, I am a responsible babysitter, and nothing dangerous has ever happened in my care. The tales I’m about to reveal weren’t directly my fault, just a handful of humorous and unfortunate events.

– Board Game Gone Wrong –

The brother & sister I was babysitting suggested we play chutes and ladders, and I eagerly agreed because I thought it would be fun to relive my childhood. I have to be honest and tell you that I got beat fair and square. I didn’t come in first place nor did I come in second; I was dead last. This particular board game is meant for kids, and even though I had no intention of beating my young companions, I didn’t think I would be so terrible. We hadn’t been playing long before the sister turned to me and said with a straight face: “You’re really bad at this game.” There is nothing quite as humiliating as an insult from someone who is less than half your age. I haven’t played that game since.

– Late Night TV –

This particular situation was mostly my fault, but have no fear because it had nothing to do with my young charges. For an extended period of time, I had a steady babysitting job with a family who lived in my neighborhood. One night while sitting at their house, I decided to watch some television after the kids were sound asleep; of course I had the parents’ permission. It was late at night, and there was a thunderstorm brewing. Of all the things I could have watched, I settled on a crime show. That was my first mistake. I eventually decided TV was a bad idea, and picked up the book I brought with me which just so happened to be a mystery. That was my second mistake. My third and final mistake was leaving only one lamp on. I’m not sure why, but I never turned on the room light to make myself feel safer. It was a tense few hours. I didn’t know nighttime could be so noisy! I can’t even tell you how many times I checked the doors and windows to make sure they were locked ( once I built up the courage to do so ). When the parents arrived through the garage, I naturally thought they were murderers until they stepped into the house and greeted me by name. That was the last time I ever watched a crime show or read a mystery while babysitting.

– I Cry Fowl –

I will ease you into the fourth and final story with the typical babysitting story of a bird in the garage. It happened while I was outside with the “chutes and ladders siblings” for some fresh air and playing time. While taking a brief break from the sun, a curious bird joined us. He was harmless, but I couldn’t help panicking. The brother’s personality was unpredictable, and I pictured him opening the door and accidentally letting our new winged friend inside the house. Of course I had to cage (get it?!) my fear so the kids wouldn’t panic and do what I just described. I spoke softly and encouraged them to stay still so the bird wouldn’t feel threatened. He explored a little more and flew away, never to bother us again. Crisis avoided! I swear the animal kingdom is out to get me.

– Dino and the Popsicles –

I realize that the title sounds like a cool band name, but the following events are anything but cool. Literally! I was once again babysitting my neighbors, but this time it was during the day. The parents provided popsicles and told me the kids could play outside. Simple enough, right? WRONG!! When the time came, the siblings grabbed their cold, refreshing popsicles, and we ventured outdoors into the unbearable heat & humidity. After some quality playing time with their dog Dino, the sister informed me that she had to use the restroom. I thought nothing of it until she went to turn the doorknob, and nothing happened. I thought the door was stuck because that is normal in Texas, and I gave it a try. Nothing happened, and my heart started to sink into my stomach. I took some deep breaths and reminded myself that I had to stay calm because I was in charge of two kids and one dog. I made my way to the front of the house to try the garage door; I brought along the sister because she was old enough to stay calm and help me with the code to open the door from the outside. I managed to get the garage door open, but the door to the house was locked, and we had no luck finding the spare key. Trust me, I searched high and low. I had told the brother stay in the backyard with the dog; thankfully the garage wasn’t far from the gate so the sister and I pulled double duty keeping a close eye on them. Unfortunately that didn’t work. The little boy gave in to his curiosity and opened the gate before we could reach him. That wasn’t my main concern. Remember who he was with!! I spent the next 10-15 minutes running up and down the street yelling “DINO!!” No, this is not an unaired episode of The Flintstones. I desperately tried to shepherd him into the gate held open by the sister while simultaneously keeping my eye on the brother because, as you already know, he was very unpredictable (typical at his age). He tried to help by joining in with his small but mighty voice, but really it was just more noise and extra stress. Finally I got that darn dog into the backyard and locked all of us in. I had a mischievous dog and two sweaty, sticky kids in my care, and I felt helpless. I hated to pull them away from something important, but I had to inform the parents of our predicament since I had tried every other way to get back inside. Thankfully I had my phone on me so I called and left a calm, collected message. I spent the next hour or so keeping the kids distracted on the trampoline until their parents came to our rescue. I profusely apologized and fully expected to never work for them again. The parents shocked me by apologizing about their faulty lock, which they forgot to tell me about before leaving, and applauded my ability to stay calm in a stressful situation. I did indeed work for them again, and thankfully the preceding story was the worst experience I ever had, both with them and with babysitting period. It was a tough experience to go through, but I learned a lot.

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– Lauren Michele <3

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Out With the New, In With the Old | Throwback Thursday

What does that title even mean??  Patience young padawans.  Let’s look at some of the facts:

🕸️ A certain witchy drama is getting a reboot; yes, I’m talking about Charmed.

🐘 A continuation of the 1995 film Jumanji premieres at the end of 2017.

🌟 All is well with the Force because new Star Wars movies are being produced & released.

💰 DuckTales is coming back to television!  The reboot will premiere on Disney XD this year on a to-be-announced date.

👠 Fashionistas could step back in time & fit right in because many of the current trends were pulled from previous decades.

🎤 Gwen Stefani and JoJo released albums last year, a first for both since 2006.

⌚ If names like Andy Griffith, Buffy, The Cheetah Girls, and The Parent Trap ring any bells, you might want to make space in your schedule for binging sessions because Netflix has what you need.  Two seasons of Fuller House, a Full House sequel show, are also available.

📺 TeenNick airs retro Nickelodeon shows overnight, a programming block known as The Splat.

✨ The classic animated Disney movies are one by one being made into live action films. So far so good!

👾 The demand and availability for retro merchandise is widespread and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.

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That is just the tip of the iceberg, but you get the picture.  Not a day goes by that I don’t hear about nostalgia.  I’m not sure of the main cause.  It could be adults missing the carefree days of childhood; you don’t truly appreciate what you have until it’s gone.  It could also be consumer attitudes turning against the present-day options in media and merchandise.  Personally, I think it’s a bit of both.  To clarify, no fault lies with the evolution of technology & entertainment.  There’s something endearing about what we grew up with.  Those memories are ingrained in our minds and hold a special place in our hearts.  Enjoying something from the past is what I imagine time travel to feel like, a transportation of mind, body, & soul; bliss takes over the senses along with admiration for a way of life without the advances of the present.  Here is an example.  Most of us can’t live without a cellphone in our hands, but I think we subconsciously miss a time when they were nonexistent.  Each household had one stationary telephone, and phone calls were special.  There are problems as far back as history goes, but this topic is less about politics & society and more about the ideology of “simpler times.”  When circumstances become overwhelming, we revert back to when life was, in the mind of a child, simple.

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Back to the Days of Yesteryear

If you know me well, you know that my life is fueled by nostalgia.  Not a day goes by without me thinking about something childhood-related.  For awhile I felt like a freak who just couldn’t handle the stress of “adulting.”  Turns out I’m not alone.  More and more people born in the 90s are speaking up and reminiscing about the “good old days.”  In college, blankets and backpacks adorned by beloved characters such as Strawberry Shortcake and Spongebob Squarepants were a normal sight.  I’ve recently noticed several Youtube videos revolving around childhood.  Remakes of classic TV shows and movies are being produced by the dozens.  There is unrest in the 2010s!!  I can think of two major reasons why this is happening.

1.  It’s normal to reach an age where childhood is a distant memory, and adulthood is a scary place.  The feeling is similar to that of a skydiver’s parachute unexpectedly disappearing.  Suddenly the innocence and freedom of the grade school years sounds like an upgrade.

2.  People are truly unhappy with the quality of entertainment (toys, music, movies, shows, etc) being produced this decade.  The 90s and 2000s are a golden age of sorts.  Think about it.  “Full House” has a successful spinoff, and “Hey Arnold” reruns air every weeknight on The Splat.  If demand is any indication, the surge of nostalgia isn’t stopping anytime soon.

No matter the reason, we are winning the battle.  Millennials unite!!  Here’s a look at my childhood:

• Baby Years (1993 – 1998)

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• Middle Years (1999 – 2003)

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*Note: I also watched a lot of old shows such as “Looney Tunes”, “The Flintstones”, I Love Lucy”, The Andy Griffith Show”, and “The Brady Bunch.”  My dad and I watched western movies on the weekends.  Lots of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood. :)

Teen Years (2004 – 2011)

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*Note: My later teen years were spent obsessing over crime shows such as “CSI”, “CSI: NY” and “The Mentalist.”  I also watched reruns of old shows such as “The Nanny”, “Friends”, “Saved by the Bell”, and “Full House.”

• This is only a small part of my childhood.  For more nostalgia, click the following link & visit my “Childhood” board on Pinterest:

Source: https://www.pinterest.com/lagirl93/childhood/

• I also have a “Throwback” playlist on Spotify:

Source: https://open.spotify.com/user/lagirl93/playlist/4iPObw0WtuVbw3v4zIvI4S

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– Lauren Michele <3

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– Image Sources in Order of Appearance –

http://www.eonline.com/photos/10678/the-most-awesome-things-from-the-90s/339845

• http://www.amazon.com/Berenstain-Bears-Forget-Their-Manners-ebook/dp/B00472OBSE/ref=pd_sim_351_4?ie=UTF8&dpID=615x3gtjaNL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_OU01_AC_UL320_SR320%2C320_&refRID=1R8T38FD5SMD9WG6MKE7

• http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/User_blog:Ratigan6688/Top_10_Best_Little_Kids’_Shows

• http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/TaleSpin

• http://dreamworks.wikia.com/wiki/VeggieTales

• http://www.americangirlmuseum.org/beforever/

• http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20140618006549/en/Can’t-Can’t-Meet-Entrepreneur-Barbie®

• http://theodysseyonline.com/uvm/90s-fashion-that-should-make-comeback/376214

• https://play.wimpmusic.com/album/1412843

• http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/Kim_Possible

• http://fortyfoursunsets44.blogspot.com/2012/08/back-to-school-with-lisa-frank.html

• http://www.playbuzz.com/emilyg11/do-you-actually-remember-lizzie-mcguire

• http://www.hulu.com/the-saddle-club

• http://www.m-magazine.com/posts/10-crazy-facts-you-never-knew-about-the-cheetah-girls-40916/photos/flashback-friday-tk-crazy-facts-about-the-cheetah-girls-48579#photo-anchor

• http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/hannah-montana/images/15486507/title/hannah-montana-season-1-wallpaper-21-wallpaper

• http://www.amazon.com/High-School-Musical-1-3-Efron/dp/B001Q3KQ68

• http://tigerbeat.com/2009/08/check-out-this-hot-jonas-poster-only-in-october-tiger-beat/

• http://kellyclarkson.wikia.com/wiki/Breakaway_(Album)

http://olsensanonymous.blogspot.com/2013/04/mka-2004.html

• http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Clock-Nancy-Drew-Book/dp/0448095017/ref=pd_bxgy_14_img_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=1RMEE3QJGKS50VGPE8SR

• http://www.maximumpop.co.uk/suite-life-of-zack-and-cody-throwback/

• http://winxclubworld.wikia.com/wiki/File:Season.jpg

• http://nickelodeon.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_Zoey_101_characters

From Pack Rat to Minimalist

Borgman, Jim, and Jeremy Duncan. Web. 18 Aug. 2015. http://zitscomics.com/comics/september-20-2013/.

We have a fun topic to discuss this evening.  Seriously.  I cannot possibly be the only person on planet earth who made this transition.  Back in my middle school and junior high days, I was a pack rat.  I collected rocks, stickers, stamps, dolls, and stuffed animals.  I colored pictures, bought posters of my favorite quotes, and printed photographs of my favorite celebrities and put them all over my bedroom walls.  I never got rid of anything.  In my tween brain, everything had “nostalgic” value.  The cherry on top of the hoarder sundae was my messiness.  To this day I am organized in spurts, but more often than not, my environment is chaos.  As I made my way into those not-so-delightful high school years, I felt an intense desire to purge.  I got rid of trash bag after trash bag after trash bag of stuff, JUNK that had been sitting without purpose for years.  I am glad I was able to let go of all that stuff, but I do have a few regrets such as ripping up my first diary.  I had a very personal, emotional reason for doing so, but I desperately wish I had been strong enough at the time to hold on.  My bedroom style went from “Tweenhood Explosion” to ” European-Bohemian-Shabby Chic.”  My style has not changed much now that I am an adult so I will describe the basics in my current room:

  1. White furniture (One used bureau/cabinet, two used sidetables, one new 8-cubby shelf)
  2. Zebra bedspread layered on top of a purple bedspread & a multi-colored, multi-patterned blanket
  3. Black, white, and purple pillows
  4. Europe-inspired decor including framed illustrations and a Paris-patterned bench/trunk
  5. A few stuffed animals including Scooby-Doo, Mike Wazowski, and Sulley (Yes, I am 21)

It is fun to laugh at my once-cluttered living space (in terms of stuff, not cleanliness), but the evolution of style isn’t something to be ashamed of.  When I was a child, I had the freedom to be young and impulsive.  I didn’t care about outside opinions.  My bedroom was a space where I felt safe and happy, and that is all that mattered.  My tastes naturally shifted.  At the time, I was embarrassed by my room and wanted a change immediately, but really I was just maturing.  Nothing new under the sun, and nothing to be ashamed of.  At the risk of turning this discussion into a major cheese-fest, I encourage all of you to be yourselves.  I am a writer, and it is important for me to have a space where I feel comfortable and inspired.  Cover your walls with posters and proudly display your stuffed animals if that is who you are.  Think of it this way: Your bedroom is usually the last room you are in before closing your eyes and going to sleep; you should be excited to end up in that space after each and every day.

Screen+shot+2012-01-01+at+10.31.22+AM(Image Source: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-6S0YfpgKD98/TwCYlDnggpI/AAAAAAAAGXk/1Ajl3mUSaDA/s1600/Screen+shot+2012-01-01+at+10.31.22+AM.png)

Wow!  This post started out lighthearted and took a turn into the “Serious Zone.”  Nevertheless, I hope the message resonates with you.  “See” you soon readers!  :)

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– Lauren Michele <3

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Moving On

Moving On

On Monday I left Texas, my home of 13 years. My family’s 6-bedroom house provided shelter to 26 people, not including me, my parents, and my brother; I always had extended family around me. On Tuesday I arrived in California, my new home; my family currently lives in a one-bedroom apartment above a garage. Quite the adventure we are on!! The picture you see above is my room, an empty room bursting at the seams full of memories. It is amazing to recall all the things that took place in that space: Babysitting, beauty transformations, concerts, counseling, dance practice, dreams, doll shenanigans, dramatic dress up, DVD viewings, emotional breakdowns, exercise sessions, fashion shows, fights, hide-and-seek, 2+ hour phone calls, illness rehabilitation, internet browsing, late night reading, outfit planning, schoolwork, and sleepovers. One last thing: Me and my best friend Gabby officially became friends in that room thanks to “Lord of the Beans.” I moved to Texas when I was 8, and I am now 21. My middle school, junior high, high school, and college years took place in that state. Many different struggles and transitions took place in that house; perhaps now you have a better idea of why it is so special to me. It is bittersweet to move on, but I will always carry the memories with me in my heart.

Treasure each moment readers! You never know when you will be uprooted and replanted.

– Lauren Michele :)

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Growing Up Is Hard To Do

Growing Up Is Hard To Do (Source: https://nescbwi.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/childrensmuseumlogo.jpg)

Good morning Vietnam!!!  Sorry.  I saw an opportunity, and I went for it.  I know this a VERY early post, but I felt the need to write so here I am.  I recently had a sleepover with my best friend Gabby.  Words cannot even begin to describe how much fun we had being silly and reminiscing.  It felt like the good ol’ days homeschooling and playing together every day, a time when we had the freedom to dress up and imagine ourselves as anything we wanted to be.  So many lives were lived between middle school and high school; the experiences felt so real, and we learned something from each character.  I cannot speak for all children of this current generation, but I do not see as much dress-up and make-believe as I used to.  What a shame!  I’m sure Gabby would agree that letting our imaginations run wild made our childhood unforgettable in the best possible way.  The memories are countless, and we as adults are much more creative and thoughtful.  However, there is a downside to all of this.  Because my childhood was so great, growing up is proving to be a painful process.  I’m not having trouble maturing and taking on responsibility, but it is hard to move on.  College classes and jobs have taken over, and there is less time for hanging out and having fun.  I know there is no solution because adulthood cannot be stalled; it is a natural part of life.  The only thing I can do is treasure and enjoy each moment of nostalgia that comes along.  I believe there is a happy medium between carefree child and responsible adult; all it takes is wisdom, knowing the appropriate time for each role.  For instance, right now is an appropriate time for some ’90s cartoons.  “Rocket Power!!”

“Childhood lasts all through all through life.”  – Gaston Bachelard

Good night/morning readers. Stay young at heart!

– Lauren Michele :)

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Throwback Thursday

Thank You For My Amazing Childhood (Source: https://41.media.tumblr.com/6c45c81bf9917898db7ae0a6b7214121/tumblr_mnzzhylIZr1r13im2o1_500.jpg)

The meme says it all.  In regard to television, I had an amazing childhood.  It was so awesome that even at 21 years of age, I jump on every opportunity to watch a show or movie from the late 90s or early 2000s.  In fact, I am watching “Even Stevens” right now.  Yes, that’s right.  I.  Am.  Cool.  I wanted to discuss this topic because Disney Channel has finally responded to the cries of millennials and added a block of old shows to their weekly schedule, shows such as “Even Stevens”, “Lizzie McGuire”, and “That’s So Raven.”  The block, entitled  “Disney Replay”, comes on late Wednesday night and ends early Thursday morning.  It is literally “Throwback Thursday.”  I can’t help but crave a little credit.  I know that sounds outrageous but hear me out.  For years I have listened to and read complaints from millennials about the new Disney Channel shows.  All they wanted, all we wanted was to have a piece of our childhood back.  I thought creating a separate channel for nothing but “throwback” shows was a great idea, but I will settle for six hours per week… for now!  I know I don’t actually deserve credit but the idea is genius, right??  The point is I am satisfied.  Disney Channel finally saw the light.  Hallelujah!  I have three links for you before I say good bye and good night.  The first link is my Pinterest board “Childhood” dedicated to nothing but movies, toys, and television shows from my childhood; if you are curious and/or want to follow me, click on the link.  The second link is a Youtube video I did answering questions from the “Early 2000s Tag”; if you want to know facts such as my favorite “throwback” Disney Channel show, click the link.  The third and final link is the official Disney Replay website; if you have one of the cable providers listed on the site, you can log in and watch episodes from “throwback” shows such as “Cory in the House”, “Ducktales”, and “Kim Possible.”  Enjoy!

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/lagirl93/childhood/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFpxaNsZYHA

Disney Replay: http://watchdisneychannel.go.com/disney-replay

 

– Lauren Michele :)

“If you carry your childhood with you, you never become older.”  – Tom Stoppard

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