Palo Alto High School's News and Features Publication

Verde Magazine

Verde Magazine

Verde Magazine

Opinion: Babysitting gone bonkers Pt. 3: Never give sugar to a hyper child

Polina Van Hulsen

“Ughhhh.” This was what “Hannah,” the girl I babysat, had greeted me with every Saturday for the past month.

I trudged through the door, beginning to regret the job I had taken after offering on the Nextdoor app to babysit for only $12 an hour.

The last couple of weeks I had spent with her had been more exhausting than I had hoped, to say the least.

When I walked into the house, her mom said a brief “hello” while scurrying around the house, grabbing things before she left.

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“You’re going to take her to her friend’s house for the bake sale,” she said. “Here’s the address.”

I typed it into Google Maps and did a double-take when I looked at the numbers at the bottom right corner of the screen: 59 minutes.

I was sure that there must have been a mistake.

“This says it takes an hour to walk there,” I said meekly, pointing to my phone.

I thought it was crazy for me to walk an hour with an 8-year-old to go to a bake sale.

I hoped she would tell me that she didn’t realize how far it was and that we could do something else for the day.

“Just hold her hand,” she said without hesitation.

Shocked but too scared to say anything further, I nodded and told Hannah that we were going to be leaving soon.

Her mom handed me a $10 bill for the bake sale as she rushed us out the door.

To both Hannah and my surprise, when I opened the door to leave, a man stood in front of us with a bouquet in his hand and a smile on his face.

When she saw him, Hannah immediately started to yell.

She made it clear that she didn’t like her mom’s date.

As he walked into the house, she began to run after him, and I tried my best to steer her away from this distraction so we could start to walk.

After repeating “I think it’s time to go” and “Hannah, that’s not very nice,” I eventually got her to come with me and we left the house.

That’s when we began the 59-minute-long trek to her friend’s bake sale.

All was going as planned while we walked past train tracks, multi-story buildings, and on big roads all through Menlo Park.

As promised, I held her hand the entire way there as the blue arrow on the Google Maps app started moving closer to the destination, slowly but surely.

As we approached her friend’s neighborhood, we ran into other 3rd graders walking in and out of the street.

When we finally arrived at the little stand labeled “Bake Sale” in big, messy handwriting, I eyed the slim selection of bite-sized baked goods.

A paper plate holding misshapen cake pops, squares of brownies, and mini cupcakes was laid out on a desk-sized fold-out table.

I told Hannah to pick what she wanted and handed the little girl running the stand $5.

Assisted by two adults, the girl handed Hannah and me a brownie, a cupcake, and a cake pop.

Hannah eagerly bit into her treats and generously gave me a small morsel of brownie that both looked and tasted like a rock.

After spending a grand total of 3 minutes at our long-awaited destination, we decided it was time to go back home.

It only took about five minutes for Hannah to decide she was over walking.

“Ugh, I don’t want to walk anymore,” she complained.

Here we go, I thought. I knew it was only a matter of time before her whining routine started.

“Come on,” I told her. We walked all the way here. We need to go home now.”

I too was completely over the idea of walking another hour back to her house, especially if she would be whining the whole way there.

“Just call an Uber!” She exclaimed. “Why can’t you just call an Uber?!”

“I can’t Hannah,” I responded. “I can’t call an Uber.”


Her temper only started to escalate, and with it, so did mine.

“I DON’T HAVE MONEY!” I yelled right back at her.

At this point, Hannah was livid and began to scream at me in Mandarin, knowing I didn’t know the language and therefore she could say whatever she wanted.

I pleaded with her as she sat in the middle of the sidewalk, refusing to move.

I pleaded with her as she sat in the middle of the sidewalk, refusing to move.

“Please Hannah,” I begged. “We really need to go home right now.”

After a few minutes of this, I tried other strategies to get her to move.

I told her we could play a game when we got home.

I pretended to walk away and told her I was leaving without her.

When these didn’t work, I grabbed her by the arms and physically pulled her on her feet until she complied.

Eventually, we got back to her house. Looking back on it, this experience taught me three lessons: (1) Don’t go on a two-hour long walk with an 8-year-old; (2) Don’t be afraid to express concerns to the parents if you have any; (3) Don’t give sugar to an already hyper child.

All in all, this was one of the most physically and emotionally draining days of my life … but at least her mom’s date went well!