Adventures in Babysitting

It’s inevitable. The day will come when you have the babysitter. Let me first admit that we have not hired an “outside” babysitter yet. Lucky for us we have willing grandparents and Aunt Christina whenever we need them. And then there is the line of aunties and unclies who can’t wait to take their turn to babysit. (Yes, we realize how lucky we are.) First on the schedule is Auntie Kari in a couple weeks, which leads me to a conversation I had this evening with Lara, whose delicious son Jack is about four months old.

We were making plans and she mentioned that she needs a babysitter for the same night that I’ve scheduled Kari. I offer a college girl whose mother I know through work and trust would do a great job. She mentions that her cleaning lady of four years is dying to babysit her little Jack. Their cleaning lady is trustworthy, close to the family, has a grandchild close in age, and was there for the early days of motherhood, including some tears and breasts. Sounds perfect, but there’s a catch. Her English? Not so good.

“Do you think that’s a big deal?” she asks.

‘Well….” I really had to think about it, because it’s a good question.

Then I said this: “The only concern I would have is if anything happens and she has to call and explain to someone. How could she explain that to you?"

And then I went on to say: “Like, what if your hot water goes out and she calls and you can only understand hot and water? You’d assume Jack has been burnt and rush home, only to find that she wasn’t able to wash dishes.”

I kept going: “But, if it was a major emergency, she’d call 911 and they would just send an ambulance if they can’t understand what she’s talking about. Right? So, I think it’s OK.”

This is a conversation between two new moms. Insane, endearing, crazy, hilarious, but above all HONEST. Because as two new moms and new friends we’ve found that if we can’t be honest with each other, we’ll drown. I’m thankful for honest friends and I’m thankful for being able to look back on conversations like this and laugh at myself. I never thought I would be the kind of parent that would shy away from hiring a babysitter. I never thought I would be concerned about a language barrier, because (DUH) my grandparents’s English is not so good and my mom immigrated unable to speak English. It’s America, right? People of any language can get by. And I’m pretty sure I was maybe 11 when I was babysitting. I didn’t know CPR, I didn’t know how to handle a crisis.

But, all of that pales when it comes to entrusting our children into the care of someone and letting that person into our home, basically filling our role for an evening. So, yes, it’s a big deal. Their age, their intelligence, their English… Everything is a factor. And I have a very good feeling that Lara and I will be laughing about this in a few years when we leave our boys with the 11 year-old down the street to grab a glass of wine.


Lara said...

Too funny. And yes, the hope is that perhaps she will straighten up too while she's here! And hey, you never know, knowing a little polish may come in handy for Jack one day!!

Ha... still haven't booked her but I will keep you posted if I do! Looking forward to the 24th - and thanks so much for the English speaking highly educated babysitting referral... think I may call her soon to set up a meet and greet with the lil fellow. :)

Talk soon~

Windtraveler said...

LOL..i love this...and yeah? can you believe we babysat when we were 11?!?! What kills me more is that the going rate was $2 an hour. Man, we really got hosed.