Saturday, June 2, 2012

Adventures in Babysitting

Steve and I weren’t exactly social butterflies when our brood was young, but because I was quite often performing, we funded college (or so it seemed) for a parade of babysitters. Most of them we loved—Karin, Liz, Kristy, Beth—and the kids loved them too. There were troubles with a few. I recall one summer when a young lady was our regular sitter while we were running the children’s theatre. She raved about my cookies and brownies, so I made sure there was always a supply of goodies when she came over. One night when we got home, she was passed out on the sofa. When she came to, she informed us that she was diabetic and probably shouldn’t have been eating sweets. Oops. Another time we made dinner for everyone just before we left, and returned five hours later to find the roast chicken and fixings still sitting on the counter, spoiling in the heat, and the babysitter on the phone in the kitchen with a friend, totally oblivious. 

We couldn’t wait for Sheridan to be old enough to watch his sibs. At 12, we figured he was ready to take on the responsibility for a short while. I put Julie to bed and off we went to a rare dinner out. About an hour later, I called home to check in. Sher answered the phone with “Hi—wait. Are you not here?” Seems he was so engrossed in composing that he hadn’t even registered our rather pointed goodbyes. With visions of 4 year old PJ running amok, we sped home. Luckily, all was well, but we got the message from our absent-minded professor.

Evan, a popular sitter
When it was Evan’s turn, he quickly became the go-to sitter, especially for families of boys. He played football with them, and soccer, and video games, and Legos. He didn't seem to mind babysitting, and earned a pretty penny doing so. In contrast, Rose sat because of the cash only, and was expert at setting early bedtimes (6 PM if she could swing it!) so that she could read or watch TV uninterrupted.

PJ was another Evan—rough and tumble and much in demand. Now Julie is our resident babysitter, and she’s amazingly good. Children and parents love her. She plays with the kids willingly, and not only cleans up after a meal, but straightens other rooms as well. Her customers get a lot of bang for their buck.  

One of these days the grandbabies will start to arrive. What kind of parents will my offspring be? Can I base my guesses on their babysitting styles? Probably not—I couldn’t have cared less about children and was a Sheridan/Rose kind of sitter. Look at me now.  I’m sure they’ll all do fine. 

Then it will be their turn to hire teens and hope for the best when they go out. Circle of life! I believe in guardian angels, and I pray they will watch over them all: the parents, the sitters and the sat.

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