Humor Magazine

Under the Influence of the Babysitter

By Dianelaneyfitzpatrick
Under the Influence of the BabysitterIt’s not easy raising worldly kids in white-bread Ohio. I stumbled upon a solution years ago, when I was raising my first child: Get babysitters who are very different culturally from your own Anglo background, and your kids will get a little multi-dimensional upbringing.
We hired Willie shortly after my son was born. She not only taught my son how to count to 13 (the number of steps in our house) and how to say yes instead of yeah and how to say May I please have some appa juice, but she also taught him some Youngstown-area-African-Americanisms that he used for years after Willie was gone.
“Scat!” is what Willie said when someone sneezed. Apparently, it’s a way of verbally chasing away germs and evil spirits. And it makes more sense than “God bless you,” which I always thought should be followed up with “you poor sap.” So “Scat!” is what my son said when someone sneezed.
Willie didn’t “live” at an address, she “stayed” at an address.
 
“Where do you stay?”
“I stay on McGuffey Road, on the East Side.”
That kind of thing.
So my son stayed on Youngstown-Pittsburgh Road, getting the maximum African-American upbringing from Willie until he was 2 and then he stayed on East 236th Street (or as he said, East Do Dirty Dick Street).
When we moved to East Do Dirty Dick in Cleveland, we had to find a new babysitter. I was advised to get him into a home-based Jewish daycare, because, as my Jewish advisers told me, “The Jews are the best at pushing kids to achieve to their limit while still spoiling them rotten.”
I was willing to look around for another African-American woman, but the Jewish thing sounded pretty good, too, so we started taking our son over to Dianne’s house, where he learned to eat kosher, spin a dreidel, and talk like a South African.
Dianne had her own child, red-haired Anna, and two wards, my son and Marc, a boy whose parents were from Capetown.
Marc was trouble. His mom or dad had to stay long after drop-off time because Marc didn’t want to stay at Dianne’s, and then when they went to pick him up, they had to stay for a few hours longer because Marc didn’t want to leave Dianne’s house. Marc needed a good swat, but that wasn’t for me to say, so as a result, my son spent about a third of his time at Dianne’s house with Marc’s parents, who taught him many South African pronunciations.
A battery was a batt’ry.
The fire department was the fahr brigade.
“Cool the fahr brigade! Cool the fahr brigade!” Marc’s dad screamed one day while I was sitting at Dianne’s kitchen table.
“What’s he saying?” Dianne muttered to me. We had gone to the front window and were watching Marc’s dad flail his arms. There was a tiny wisp of smoke coming from the hood of his car.
“I think he wants us to call the fire department,” I said.
There was always some kind of excitement going on, usually followed up by someone saying, “Oy vey,” sometimes my son.
Eventually, I quit working and didn’t need a sitter anymore, so it was more difficult to expose my children to ebonics and other cultural experiences. I had to seek out people of color at the library story hours, and learn some recipes from Betty Crocker’s International Cook Book. It’s not easy being a WASP and raising worldly kids. Sometimes you need to bring in an expert - the babysitter.
Related blog posts:
“My Jewish Roots”

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Shilo Sanders- Son Of Deion Sanders Thanks Courts For Allowing Him To Live With...

    Shilo Sanders- Deion Sanders Thanks Courts Allowing Live With Pilar

    ChristianNews Shilo Sanders, the son of NFL Hall of Famer,  Deion Sanders took to twitter to “thank” the courts for allowing him to live with his mother, Pilar... Read more

    The 04 August 2017 by   Firstladyb
    SPIRITUALITY
  • “I Feel Great”

    Feel Great”

    Jakub went to his doctor's office believing that he had a back injury, but returned with a chocking diagnosis instead. He had type 2 diabetes - in spite of... Read more

    The 04 August 2017 by   Dietdoctor
    DIET & WEIGHT
  • July Allotment Recap (2/2)

    July Allotment Recap (2/2)

    Sunday afternoon saw us return bravely to 24a even though there were more thundery showers foretold by the weatherman. I will admit that I guffawed at the... Read more

    The 04 August 2017 by   Chrryblossomtat2
    GARDENING, HOME
  • Culinary Delicacies in Croatia- What to Eat and Drink in Croatia

    Culinary Delicacies Croatia- What Drink Croatia

    In my earlier post, we spoke about how Croatia is a stunning European destination, let us now see what are the culinary delicacies in Croatia or what you can... Read more

    The 04 August 2017 by   Kash Pals
    FOOD & DRINK, A-CLASSER
  • #Golf Training Aids Spotlight: The Delta Putt

    #Golf Training Aids Spotlight: Delta Putt

    Do you consider yourself to be a strong putter or do you feel you could improve your make percentage on the green? Most amateurs could use help with the flat... Read more

    The 04 August 2017 by   Golfforbeginners
    GOLF, SPORTS
  • Three Incredible Hikes in Southern Iceland3 Min Read

    Three Incredible Hikes Southern Iceland3 Read

    Nature takes center stage in Iceland, where there's a stunning view around every bend: massive glaciers, expansive lava fields, powerful waterfalls, black sand... Read more

    The 04 August 2017 by   Healthytravelblog
    TRAVEL
  • What I Wore: Daytime Pajamas

    What Wore: Daytime Pajamas

    Pajama top: ELOQUII (14) | Pajama pants: ELOQUII (14) | Shoes: ASOS (similar) | Earrings: J. Crew ( same in different colors, similar concept in same color) |... Read more

    The 04 August 2017 by   Wardrobeoxygen
    FASHION, SELF EXPRESSION, SHOPPING

Magazine