Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Voyager Re-watch: Adventures in Babysitting

"Chart a course for Planet Hell!" aren't really the words you'd jump to when dreaming up a My Two Dads meets Dinosaurs nanny adventure but, with Voyager, that's just the kind of thing you get in "Partuition." Of course it's Janeway who says this line and, of course, I love it.

The rest of the episode is mostly a lot of arguing about whether or not Tom has a crush on Neelix' girlfriend as well as the care and keeping of an infant reptile. This is pretty much where I hit my limit with the jealous boyfriend version of Neelix and if it weren't for all the stuff going on in my life right at the moment (and for the last couple of months), I'd be way past this point in Voyager by now.

I have four younger siblings but I was eleven by the time my oldest sister came along. The first time I held her, I thought she might break.

Though, actually when I first started babysitting, it was somebody else's kids--a seven and eight year old and I was twelve which seems completely ridiculous now but at the time I felt like a 100% ready-to-do-this grown-up. I taught myself how to make boxed macaroni and cheese and silver dollar pancakes at their house because that's what they wanted. I took them on walks. We did art projects. We watched cartoons on cable--a huge luxury for me. It was a good summer.

I babysat my friend's little sister (my friend was not into childcare) and went on road trips and ate hot grapes in the back of a hot volvo in the middle the hot North Carolina summer.

I watched out for my first sister. I kept her whenever I was living with my mom and she needed me.  I watched countless hours of Wishbone (which I loved) and Barney (which I didn't) and I read stories and played pretend and baked cakes. I stayed home from school while she--a toddler at the time--had strep throat and couldn't go to daycare. Later, I braided her hair and introduced her to Weird Al and watched as she got to be too big and I was too far away for me to keep an eye on her. Still, her life went on. She did a lot of the stuff I never had a chance at. She mostly grew up in one house, one school system, one town. She played soccer and joined band. She attended a nice magnet school and got a fantastic education which prepared her for an even more fantastic secondary education. She spent a summer living at the beach. She went on hiking trips and camping trips and spent a New Year's Eve in Times Square.

In short, she thrived. All while I wasn't looking. I just had to trust that she would turn out alright.

And that's kind of what our two reluctant babysitters have to do--once they stop bickering about who loves Kes more. They ultimately watch as their puppet's parent picks it up and takes it home. Then, they hightail it back to Voyager and away from Planet Hell. But, of course their adventures in childrearing are far from over. Before the show is done Neelix is a beloved godfather and Tom is somebody's dad. Meanwhile, I'm somebody's sister.

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