Catnip for Kids

Published January 5, 2019 by Malia

About a week ago, I agreed to something crazy. I said I’d babysit my two nephews (ages 5 & 4) and niece (age almost 2) for 1–2 hours yesterday. All by myself. The only time I’d ever babysat them by myself before was one night when their mom was gone and their dad needed to run to the store. They were already all asleep at that point, so I was basically just making sure there was a responsible adult in the house.

I was really nervous. Much as I want to be a mom, I’m not great with kids. I blame the fact that I grew up a very sheltered only child. I had cousins, but they all lived hundreds of miles away. I was constantly surrounded by adults. I always feel awkward when talking with kids. I either talk way over their heads, or I talk down to them. So, the prospect of being alone with three small children, two of which can be quite strong-willed and rambunctious, was daunting. I had agreed to do it, so I pushed through the anxiety and showed up at their house yesterday morning.

And I discovered something really weird.

I had thought the kids would like the GoNoodle videos. I was introduced to them a few months ago by a teacher friend. The music is so fun, and the dances are really easy. My idea was to wear the children out. Turns out Aunt Malia was the only one who was dancing.

The boys requested to watch a video that was nothing but hands opening packages of little dinosaur transformer-type figures. That was the entire video. The hands held up a package, opened it, showed the toy to the camera, and then moved onto another package.

I had heard that unboxing videos were super popular with kids, but I had never before witnessed it. The rumors are true, kids are obsessed with them. It was while watching a video of a jungle animal toy set being unboxed and put together that I realized all three children were sitting quietly, entranced by the scene before them. Who are these children, and what have they done with my nephews and niece?

I was genuinely baffled by how fascinated the kids were by watching a stranger open and play with toys. Even more bewildering? These videos had millions of views. Which means my nephews and niece aren’t the only ones obsessed.

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