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THE BABYSITTING NIGHTMARE

BY CAOIMHE MCGONIGLE

‘Stop pushing me!’ Róisín screamed. ‘I’m not even touching you,’ I cried.

‘Now you’re pushing me!’ Aoife shrieked.

‘Get out! We’re here now and I don’t want to hear you for another second!’ Mam snapped.

We froze but started to crawl out of the car eventually. Mam was quite surprised at how we quietened down so quickly, but tried to keep a firm face. Once we were out of the car, we ran inside my Aunt’s house.

My sisters, Aoife, Róisín, and I, were going to be babysitting our cousins Katie and Billy for the first time ever! Katie was a cute toddler but always let off a tantrum or two. As for Billy, the baby, he was a little on the quiet side. He was so good, he wouldn’t even cry if someone turned off the TV when he was watching it.

When we went in the door, Billy and Katie exclaimed, ‘YAY, YAY, YAY!’ They were so happy. The adults set off to their concert and we were left all on our own.
It was now seven o’clock so we were facing our first job, which was to put Billy to bed. That was hard… He screamed for Ireland and kicked too. He was two years of age and was well able to crawl and walk. He also loved attention.

Luckily, I had stayed downstairs with Katie, so that was alright—quiet and peaceful. She was watching a TV programme called Octonauts. I sat on the couch and closed my eyes… I imagined Mam crashing into the hedges and being rushed to hospital. I could hear screaming and roaring and shouting all around me.

I woke up in a panic to find Katie jumping on me. It was her doing all the screaming. I tried desperately to stop her because I knew she would wake up Billy, but she just wouldn’t stop.

Next thing I knew, Róisín and Aoife came rushing downstairs and started screeching at me to stop her. I tried again and again to shush her and finally she stopped bawling. But by this time Billy was screaming too. I really wanted to do a runner, but I knew I couldn’t.

All of a sudden, everything went strangely quiet… The three of us ran out into the hall. We froze for the second time. Billy had got out of his cot and he was right over at the banister! One more step and he could be DEAD. Aoife tiptoed up to him, but tripped over a step. Róisín jumped over her but then fell backwards. It was all up to ME.

Billy started smiling and jumping on the spot at the top of the stairs. I was terrified out of my skin. Taking a breath, I began to walk up to him. Billy quite liked me so he lifted his little foot as if he was going to step towards me. I grabbed him into my arms and hugged him so tightly. He kissed me on the nose so I kissed him back. I was so happy! Aoife and Róisín started clapping.

Katie walked out into the hall and started cheering and laughing, even though she didn’t have a clue about any of it. So then, we all started laughing—even little Billy!

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