It's not really a secret that (at least, necessary disclaimer, at this point and time in my life) I'm not that into kids. I know that will probably change after I'm married and at the ripe old age of 50 (kidding), but at least at this point in my life, I can honestly see myself being happy and fulfilled with getting married, traveling, buying a house, getting my Ph.D., and finding my dream tenure-track job, all of which will keep me plenty busy well into my mid 30s.
BUT. The other night, something (small, albeit very small) clicked on inside me. While all of the above still remains true, I may have had a glimpse into the world of children-lovers. My boss asked me to babysit his two boys Wednesday night. Cameron is 5 and Alexander is 7. I usually sit for little girls, who are sort of a handful. They're super clingy, their attitude and mood can turn on a dime, and they can definitely fall deep into the I-know-more-than-you-and-I'm-not-afraid-to-challenge-everything-you-say kind of phase. (Granted, this is only representative of the girls for whom I've sat, but it seems to be an accurate portrayal of little-girl-hood.)
Anyways. My boss' boys are completely different. They're so sweet, and so smart. From the moment I walked in, they were clamoring to show me their field guides and encyclopedias and tell me all about their favorite animals. And when we sat down to eat dinner, they wanted to eat the mushrooms off their pizza more than the brownies they had baked that day for dessert! (Not going to lie, I just wanted the brownies.)
I think the sweetest thing about them was how much they love to read. I mean, it makes sense--my boss works in editing and publishing, and was an English major in college like me, so naturally his children would be exposed to that. But they really, REALLY love to read. Like, after dinner I expected they'd want to play a bit before we got ready for bed, so I announced that we'd play for 15 minutes and then start getting washed up for bed.
"Can we go now?" Alexander asked, bringing his plate to the dishwasher. "We really want to read."
It warmed my heart SO MUCH to see two little boys forgo playing in the yard to snuggle into bed with me and be read to. If all little boys could be like this, I'd have two right now! (Again, kidding.)
One of the sweetest moments of the night was when Alexander and I were waiting outside Cameron's bedroom for him to get changed. (He didn't want me to see.) I hand my hands folded on the balcony of the staircase, which was just at Alexander's eye level, and he was resting his chin on the banister. I don't think he thought I noticed, but he inched his mouth close to my hand and gave me the softest little kiss, thinking he was being secretive. I didn't do anything to spoil his cover, but I smiled the widest smile to myself.
After the boys got washed up, we all squeezed into Alexander's teeny bed and I read the boys a few chapters from a copy of Old Mother West Wind that was my boss' when he was growing up. (Too cute!) But after we were done reading and it was time to go to bed, the boys got very quiet and serious. See, they had gone on vacation in Florida last week, and had cable tv in their hotel room, which they don't get at home. They found a special on the Discovery Channel about the Chupacabra, which they are convinced is real, and lives in Texas. All night they had been nervously asking me questions about the Chupacabra, wondering if he could get upstairs into the bedrooms. I explained to them that the downstairs door was locked and anyway, I would be downstairs so if any Chupcabras wanted in, they'd have to go through me first. And anyways, I told them, we are nowhere near Texas. The sweetest, albeit saddest, moment was when Cameron looked at me with very large eyes, and said, "Michelle? Can Chupacabras get plane tickets to come here?"
I tried very hard to conceal my laughter as I said that there was no way that Chupacabras could get plane tickets, and that "they don't even let some people on planes." The joke, I'm sad to say, was lost on them.
I sat on the floor next to Cameron's bed in the dark as he went to sleep, and we whispered about airplanes and dinosaurs. After the boys were sound asleep and hopefully not dreaming about Chupacabras, I went downstairs to watch tv, and honestly? I felt a little pang of sadness that the boys were in bed! That has really never happened; usually, when the kids are in bed or the parents come home, I breathe a huge sigh of relief. Babysitting is a handful! But I was genuinely disappointed when the boys went to sleep, and my warm and fuzzy feeling I got from them stuck around all night. (Everyone has joked that L. has some competition, since I haven't stopped talking about them since.)
Today is sort of, kind of the last day of my internship. What I mean by "sort of, kind of" is that I started this internship last June and was supposed to be done last August. Then, my bosses (who I love) asked me to stay on through the fall. That turned into the entire school year, which then culminated in a second summer internship. That is technically supposed to end today, but I've been asked to stay on for a second fall to continue working on my project, so of course I said yes. I'll be heading home to New Hampshire for a couple weeks tomorrow and L. will be going home to Santa Barbara, and then on September 2 he and our friend Andrew will fly back and that Saturday, we'll be moving into our lovely little dorm for senior year. (!) I'm still pinching myself.
I don't really blog about work a lot (I work in an office of publishing and IT people--they're really good at the internet), but I really do love it. I'm really hoping that this internship helps me find a job in publishing, maybe even in another art museum, after graduation.
SPEAKING of which, L. recently found out that he's virtually guaranteed a research position in a lab in the Bay Area next summer, and my boss recently said he's got a great contact for me in San Francisco. I'm not going to lie, I'll be crushed if we don't move to LA. And since I grew up in the Bay Area with my biological parents, I have some great and not-so-great memories/associations. But I guess it would be an adventure...