I thought 8th grade would have been the last time I played with Barbies. I remember crawling up into Elyssa's attic and unearthing her childhood treasures from their cardboard boxes. We sat up their for a couple hours, reminiscing about our childhood, braiding hair, and trading party dresses.
At age 23, however, I was given another chance.
When I was babysitting, Anna (age 7), insisted that I play a role with her various dolls. When I was at a loss for words, she would feed me lines.
"Say, 'gosh, our boyfriends are so ruuuude.'"
to which she would respond "like, I know they are. What a couple of losers."
my turn: "Maybe we should dump them!" (I came up with that one on my own)
The King and Queen of the mansion were played by chess pieces (of course), and the chess board served as the palace which was easily converted into an enormous swimming pool.
The Barbies stint was short-lived because Hannah Montana was on tv. I braided Anna's hair, giving her a braided headband with two French Braids (so beautiful, I must add, that she squealed in delight and wore them to school 2 days in a row). She brought out her bin of makeup (mostly some sparklie powder, glitter, a few shades of eye shadow, nail polish, and lip gloss) and we gave each other makeovers. I had a hard time scrubbing the red sparkles off my cheeks and my eyelids were heavy with layers of pink shadow.
When it was time for bed, I helped her clean her room and change into her new set of pajamas. She paused and exclaimed: "I have freckle on my belly!" I looked up just as she lifted her shirt, and sure enough, she had a single, brown spot on her stomach. I pulled up my sleeves and showed her my spots. She said "yeah, but what about on your tummy?!" I hesitated, then pulled up my shirt and we counted my freckles together. She went a little obnoxious with her counting: "31, 32, 33.."
I tickled her and then we read "The Princess and the Pizza" before turning the lights out.
Micah (age 10) was content playing video games until his sister went to bed. I think he was secretly waiting for my attention to shift to him. When I walked out of Anna's room, he was waiting for me with his 11 pound binder (give or take) full of baseball cards. I told him I didn't know much about baseball, but he proceeded to ask me which players I'd heard of on each page. I think I only pointed to Babe Ruth. It didn't matter to Micah, and he didn't make me feel embarrassed, either. He delighted in the opportunity to tell me about each one.
Micah voluntarily headed to bed at 8:45pm. He stripped down to his skivvies and climbed in to bed. I tucked him in like my dad always did for me... snug as a bug in a rug! I grabbed each toe and counted them under the blankets. "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.... 11!!!!!" We looked at each other, astonished, and then burst into giggly hysterics.
I babysat from 6pm to midnight, two evenings last week, in the midst of a very stressful time. I was exhausted, and yet I found refreshment in the opportunity to just be a kid again.