I had the blessing of watching the two most loving, fun, loud, and sweet children for nearly four years. I became extremely close to their family and loved (almost) every second I spent with them. From beach trips to rainy days, they taught me everything I know about compassion and patience. They sometimes tested me, but at the end of the day, we still loved each other.

This babysitting experience was the first time I had ever really been around children and it opened my eyes to a variety of things. One of those being food and the wacky diet that comes with the youth of our generation. Here are some things that I learned over the four years I spent with them:

1. Don’t put butter wrapped in metal foil in the microwave


Photo courtesy of @womensdaymag on Instagram

The youngest boy I babysat, Matt, loved grilled cheese. Which was fine, because I did too. We made it nearly every day for lunch and it quickly became one of our daily routines.

He prided himself on being able to turn on the stove and flip the sandwich over as it cooked. It made me happy to watch him. Then I saw him eat it and grunted over the mess that now awaited cleaning.

The family I worked for never had margarine, only sticks of butter. Every day I would stick the butter in the microwave for five seconds just so it got soft enough to spread on the bread. All was good.

One day I noticed they had a new type of butter, but I didn’t think too much about it. That is, until it caught on fire in the microwave.

Turns out that Kerrygold brand butter sticks are wrapped in foil. It didn’t help either that the father was home when this happened. Two screaming kids plus flaming butter = disaster.

2. Kids don’t like spicy mac ‘n cheese


Photo by Parisa Soraya

If you ask me, all types of mac ‘n cheese are good types. So when the mom put a box of buffalo Kraft mac ‘n cheese out, I didn’t discriminate.

Although I did double check with the boys that it was the right type before I started cooking, it wasn’t. After slaving away to make these children lunch, they cried that I didn’t make the right type and because their mouths were burning.

Whatever. More for me.

3. If you leave candy out, they will eat it — all of it


Photo by Danielle Chandler

I thought I ate a lot of junk food, but I hadn’t seen anything until I started watching the boys.

The worst was when I went outside with one boy to grab something from the car. The other boy (again Matthew) was watching TV inside. When I returned to the house a few minutes later, I saw three ice cream sandwich wrappers on the ground. Keep in mind that it was 9:00 AM.

Their Halloween candy doesn’t last very long either and has to be stored on the top shelf in a cabinet. Unfortunately, the boys figured out a way to move a bar stool in front of the cabinet and still gain access to the candy.

Kids are ruthless. And apparently willing to sacrifice their lives for candy.

4. Kids can’t eat as much as you


Photo courtesy of netdoctor.co.uk

I unfortunately learned this one the hard way — pulled over on the highway with two puking children. It was actually a pretty good day during school vacation week. I took the boys to Five Guys for lunch and then to race go-carts at the speedway nearby.

They both got a burger and ate a lot of french fries, but I didn’t think too much of it. After go-carting, we stopped for some fro-yo. Neither of them finished their bowl, and thank God they didn’t.

About halfway into the car ride home, Nick told me he didn’t feel good. Approximately three seconds later he started puking all over his lap. I immediately pulled over and got out of the car with Nick to help him over to some bushes.

Next thing I know, I turn around and Matthew is puking in my car because he “smelled Nick’s throw up.”

My car has never been the same.

5. The way to every kid’s heart is through food


Photo courtesy of bromabakery.com

This is true especially when you know their favorite foods. I knew that any day I showed up with Boston creme donuts, it was going to be a good day. And I was basically God if I made brownies.

They may not have appreciated me for everything I did for them, but they certainly appreciated me for the food I provided.

Children are a wonder and add so many amazing qualities to your life. They bring smiles and laughter, curiosity and doubt, adventure and appreciation for the smaller things in life.

And by smaller, I don’t mean their appetites.