When I first read the question, I thought to myself: this should be easy. I’d pick the baby! After all, it’s just 24 hours, right? It should be more bearable than seven whole days with someone I can’t stand. But rushing to make such a decision is underestimating what a bad hat a baby can be when it makes its mind to make your day a miserable one. At least for the houseguest, he can clean after himself and I wouldn’t have to keep an eye out for him every minute.
But for anyone who has had to babysit an infant before, you’d agree calling it ‘hectic’ is a grave understatement! Even when the babe is the cooperative type, the chore can still be exhausting. It starts with the baby ‘getting to know you’ and ‘deciding whether he/she’d like you to handle him/her. If the ‘audition’ goes in your favor, then good for you! You’ll end the day feeling like you want to have your own baby. But if you fail the test, prepare for all hell to break loose! You think you’d have the upper hand because you’re older? An angry wailing infant will prove you wrong in a shocking way.
About the unwanted houseguest, well, it kind of depends of how ‘unwanted’ he or she is. Is it the judgmental mother-in-law type of guest who would be watching your every move with suspicious eyes? Or is it the friend who needs a place to crash for a few days; whose presence is barely felt the entire time? If it’s the former, I’d trade it for the most difficult infant in the world for the dreaded 24 hours! But it’s the latter, I think I’ll prefer him to the crying infant.
Trying to keep your cool with a non-stop crying baby coupled with changing diapers, feeding, trying to make him sleep is a skill that cannot be picked up from a textbook. It would take hard-earned practice to master that. And someway somehow, a day with a crying baby never seems to end. The seconds take their sweet time to tick away and the hours drag their feet as if they feel lazy to pass. Every sense of eternity equals five minutes on the clock. Could a crying toothless baby make you hallucinate to the point that 24 hours seem like a week? I’d say it’s possible.
On the other hand, does the guest make you feel uncomfortable to the point that you decide to go grocery shopping and spend unnecessarily longer time doing so just so you can have some breathing room? Does he need help with everything? Does she have a comment to make on everything is being said on TV? Or does she point out how you’re doing everything wrong with the meal you’re preparing?
Always barging into your space and then giving you a sly mock of an apology? There are a lot of irritating possibilities in order to tag a guest as ‘unwanted.’ The higher the degree, the more likely babysitting a crying infant would sound like a more tolerable headache to bear.
For me, a day sounds better than a week considering that both parties are difficult people. An adult could be as exasperating as a baby. It depends on how high your tolerance level can get. If the guest is as ‘unwanted’ as the word suggests, I’d rather babysit.
Which one do you find more or less tolerable? Kindly drop in your comments. It’s always a pleasure to read your thoughts!
Josephine Amoako © 2016