Viva la Babysitter!

My birthday presents from Chris and Bean
My birthday presents from Chris and Bean

For my birthday this week, we got a babysitter so that Chris and I could demolish all-you-can-eat sushi and not have to worry that our animalistic ways were scarring Bean for life.

That’s such a carefree expression.   “We got a babysitter.”

I’ve heard a thousand people say it before.   It sounds so easy.   “We got a babysitter.”   Like there’s just some magic babysitter hotline you call and one shows up on your front porch with a bottomless carpet bag and spoonfulls of sugar.   In reality, getting a babysitter is a terrifying experience.   At least for me it was.   But I scare easily.

Beanie helped me open my presents early in the morning before work.
Beanie helped me open my presents early in the morning before work.

The hunt for a babysitter started a couple months ago.   I had this great idea to ask one of the college-aged girls that work at Bean’s daycare.   It was a perfect idea.   They knew him, he knew them.   I knew them and him.   He knew me. We knew him.   You get the idea.

So, for a couple weeks I staked out my girl.   I knew just the one I wanted.   She was Bean’s favorite.   And she was cute and friendly.   High marks in my babysitting judgment guidelines.   But when I went to ask her about babysitting, I choked.   I didn’t know what to say.   What if I asked her and she said no?   Or, even worse, what if she said yes but really meant no?   What if she laughed at me and said something like, “Your kid?   I don’t think so!” Cause if that happened, I would have had to beat her with my diaper bag.

Bean got me this beautiful white scarf and a matching sweater.  He has excellent taste.
Bean got me this beautiful white scarf and a matching sweater. He has excellent taste. Chris got me an iTouch so that I can Twitter and Facebook and geek out wherever I am. He has excellent taste, too.

This was harder than asking out a boy in middle school.   Oh, the rejection!   Oh, the agony!   Oh, the horror!

So, for a couple weeks I pumped myself up.   I would give myself little pep talks when I walked into the daycare.

“You can do this.   You can do this.   You are a mother.   A damn good mother.   And Bean is awesome.   Who wouldn’t want to babysit him?   You can do this.   You can do this.”

And then I’d walk into the nursery, see the girl, and I’d freeze up.   I’d get that feeling like I suddenly had to pee and then I’d worry the whole time I was in the nursery packing up Bean’s diaper bag that I was going to wet my pants.   Right there in front of her. And then she’d never babysit for us!

I thanked Beanie for being so brave and shopping in the womens department at Target all by himself with Daddy.  I know that took some courage.
I thanked Beanie for being so brave and shopping in the women's department at Target all by himself with Daddy. I know that took some courage.

One afternoon, I had had enough of myself.   As I walked into the daycare center, I got ready.   I would do this TODAY.   This was THE DAY.

I WOULD ASK OUT THE BABYSITTER.

So, I walk determinedly back through the daycare classrooms until I got to Bean’s nursery and I threw open the nursery door, ready to proclaim my need for her to be our babysitter.

But when I threw open the nursery door, she wasn’t there.   It was a different girl.     But I was on such a high.   I had worked myself into such a state that I blurted out, “Do you babysit?”   She said yes, gave me her number, I walked out with Bean, and drove home in a daze.

Bean was more interested in the pretty bow on my present than the actual gift.  Its the little things.
Bean was more interested in the pretty bow on my present than the actual gift. Its the little things.

How had this happened?   I had asked out the wrong babysitter!

I came home, completely defeated, and explained to Chris why we would never be able to leave the house again without our baby.   “Why don’t you just ask the other girl instead?”

“I can’t do that!” I shouted in disgust.   “I JUST ASKED OUT HER FRIEND!   You can’t ask out someone’s friend and then ask them out, too!”

That’s when Chris called my doctor and asked to have my medications adjusted.

A few weeks after the whole wrong babysitter debacle, I was in the nursery picking up Bean one day after work.   It was just me, Bean, and the girl.   MY GIRL.   And, suddenly, without warning, without preparation, I just asked her for her number.   I just did it.   And it was so natural.

“So, um, do you babysit?” I said, never lifting my eyes from the bottles I was packing in Bean’s diaper bag.

“Oh, yeah!   Sure!   Here’s my number,” she said.

And that was it.

Bean did manage to squeal for me.  And I know he was saying, Happy Birthday, Mom!
Bean did manage to squeal for me. And I know he was saying, "Happy Birthday, Mom!"

It took another couple weeks before Chris and I could get the second mortgage approved on our home to be able to afford a night out with a babysitter.   But once that paperwork came through, we were ready to go.   So I called up The Babysitter and scheduled her to come over for a couple hours on my birthday.   We just wanted to grab a dinner somewhere.   It was a school night.   We wouldn’t be gone long.   Blah, blah,   blah.   It was so easy to schedule with her.

The night of my birthday, she came to the house right after I put Bean down for bed.   He was still awake in his crib, but he was just chillin’.   Chewing on his binky.   Sucking on his toes.   Picking lint out of his bellybutton.   You know.   Normal stuff.   She told me later that he never made a peep.   He went right to sleep and she never heard anything from him.

Bean was waiting patiently.  I think he thought hed get a present next.
Bean was waiting patiently. I think he thought he'd get a present next.

She did, however, hear from our dogs.   Apparently, they just sat there staring at her all night long.   She said Big Molly just stared with her head cocked to one side, tongue hanging out, like a dope.   Lucy stared at her all night and about every five minutes would bark.   Just once.   Nice, Lucy.   Way to get our money’s worth out of her.

When we got back from dinner, she stayed for a few minutes and chit-chatted.

Okay, fine.

We gossiped about the other parents in the daycare.   And I found out about which teachers were fighting and which were the funny ones and why one of them always parked her car a couple blocks away. (she likes the exercise.   freak.)   It was really great!   After polling my Facebook and Twitter followers, I decided on paying $12/hour and so for a 2 hour dinner I gave her $30 and called it a night.   Money well spent in my book because I got to enjoy my dinner with my sweet husband.

So, all in all, the babysitting experience was eventful, but positive.   And she’s coming back again in a couple weeks, too!   I love second dates.   They are so much easier than the first.

Birthday Girl in the wee small hours of her birthday morning.
Birthday Girl in the wee small hours of her birthday morning.

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28 Thoughts to “Viva la Babysitter!”

  1. I’m so glad it was a success!

  2. Meghan

    I’ve never had a problem asking someone to babysit….after all, I’ll be paying them, so it’s employment and that’s in short supply these days. Asking another mom that I randomly meet somewhere if they want to get together……..THAT feels like asking someone out to me. And it also feels somewhat pathetic….”Hey, do you want to be my friend? Our kids seem to like to play together in the 20 minutes they’ve been around each other…..I promise we’re a nice, normal family…..”

    And, wow, I thought New Jersey was expensive for babysitting, but CT takes the cake! We pay $10/hour for 2 kids (and then round up)……in Oregon we paid $8/hour for one kid, and that was considered generous (but everything’s cheaper there). $12/hr for one kid who was in bed before she got there…..I bet you’ll have babysitters knocking down your door! Hell, I’LL come babysit for you! 🙂

    Enjoy your time alone with your husband……it is in short supply when you have kids, and it is very easy to disregard but very important to hold on to!

    1. Katie

      Yeah, I think I overpaid a little bit. But I just wanted her to like me!!!!! I was buying her attention!!!! I couldn’t help it!!!!

      1. Caroline

        You got a great deal! I charge $15/hr here in Atlanta to babysit – that’s just one kid and even if they’re sleeping the whole time. Once you factor in the gas, traffic to get there, etc. it all adds. The important part is finding a babysitter that’s going to care and create a relationship with you & Beanie. Good job on finding one! 🙂

  3. It’s funny to hear the parents side of the babysitting story because I used to babysit allll the time in highschool and during the summers of college. The parents qould call me up and I’d say yep, see ya then! To think…maybe they were nervous to ask me? haha. But good job 🙂

    I think $12/hr is a lot for one kid that was sleeping, but I also beleive in a $20 minimum, even if they’re only there for an hour- i mean, they had to drive there and not make any plans for the night. So I think $30 for the 2+ hours she was there is just fine, but in the future if she’s there for 5 hours, $60 is A LOT to pay for 1 sleeping kid. Just saying… If I got that much I’d feel like I was stealing from them.

  4. Katie, three things:

    1.) Great post! Really well-written!

    2.) It totally is not fair that you look that cute first thing in the morning.

    3.) What does the t-shirt you are wearing in the photos say?

    1. Katie

      Oh, man! I was hoping no one would notice my t-shirt. It one of Chris’ old ones. It says, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy – Ben Franklin” Its so trashy, but SO COMFY!!

    2. Caroline

      Glad to know someone else was wondering about the shirt…I just wasn’t going to ask! 🙂

    3. Tressa

      My thought was the exact same….she looks so pretty early in the morning…just out of bed…THAT IS NOT FAIR!!!

  5. Amy

    Don’t feel bad about asking people at daycare to babysit, I used to work at one in high school and we all loved the extra money when one of the moms would ask for a sitter!

  6. Huge props to Chris and the Bean for the elegant wrapping of the gifts! Tres chic! (And Happy Birthday!)

  7. I know when my daughter was born I was terrified to leave her. Now that my kids are 6 and 3 and hell on wheels….when I’m ready for a break I’m begging people to babysit just for an hour so I can sleep. LOL

  8. Jessica W

    I’m used to being on the other end of babysitting. I basically babysat my way through college. Well, all the important stuff at least, like pizza, shopping at the mall, movie nights. 🙂 Anyways, finding that person you can rely on is huge for both of you. I babysat for one family for 4 years, 2 kids and then an adorable 3rd right before they moved. The relationship I had with them was more friendship than anything. I would try and babysit for free after awhile but they would never have it. Even after they moved we stayed close. I send their kids birthday gifts every year, and we all go to Disneyland together when they come down to visit.

  9. $12 an hour?! Good Lord! Wow. That really shocked me to read that. But then I reckon most babysitting jobs only last a few hours at most. Still. Goodness. I wouldn’t want to pay more than $20-30 for a night of babysitting. I thought that was pretty generous. (I got paid considerably less than that in the ’80s, so I guess that’s why I’m shocked.) lol I reckon it’s a good thing my mom babysits for free so that I don’t rip anyone off.

    Anyway, I’m glad you got to go out as a couple and that you enjoyed your birthday.

  10. Emily C

    Happy Belated Birthday!! I loved reading this post …but then again I like everything you write because you always make me laugh! 🙂 I’m glad you finally got the right babysitter. I think $30 was very generous, especially since Bean is such a great baby and she really didn’t have to do anything.

  11. Shelley

    Choosing a babysitter from Beanie’s daycare was an excellent idea, and I’m glad it worked out.

    However, since it has yet to be mentioned, I’d like to comment on the babysitter’s gossip. NOT GOOD AT ALL!!

    It doesn’t matter that she was at your home. Her gossip was WAY out of line. Please don’t think that she won’t share any info about you with others in the same manner.

    My recommendation would be to try another worker next time.

  12. Yay finding a sitter you like! $12 seems fair for Boston prices too… we pay $15, but she just got her nursing degree with a prenatal speciatly, so I felt like I needed to pay her more. Granted, she is also with him all day when I work from home, so there is a lot more activity involved.

    I got a measly $4/hour back in high school and then I turn around and my freaking sister was getting $20/hour from my mom’s new neighbors! Granted, they are insanely rich, but I was very jealous. For nights out, we are still going the friends/grandma route, since they are offering and free (and with my mom, a meal for the next day and kitchen cleaning are included). Wishing you many more nights out!

  13. Here in middle America my reaction is . . . $12 freakin’ dollars an hour???!!! Shoot, I’d become a babysitter for that.

  14. So cute, Kate. But yowza. Yet another thing to be nervous about when it comes to parenting. I wonder if you could write a note with a check box next time? Like “will you babysit for me? check yes or no.”

  15. Tabitha

    Just a thought on the “tatoos” comment. That girl was, after all, working at a daycare. Just because someone has put a chosen art permanently on their body does not make them less able to take care of a child. Or YOUR child for that matter. Do you think that all tattooed people are unfit caregivers? And if you presume to know so much about people with tattoos, how do you not know that tattoo is spelt as just that and not “tatoo?” I’ve followed your blog on a daily basis for months now and even though we are clearly different I can relate with you on so many levels. I do not believe in God. You clearly do, and very much so. I am not a mother but long to be, and you are clearly so. I am a blonde, you a red head…. etc. From every small aspect to big I have respected and admired you. Then you recently blog about not wanting readers to bully the blogger. Well this is not bullying but just to hopefully open your mind. I am a 30 year old advertising executive living in Chicago, I have a boyfriend of 5 years, a great family, morals and you know I’m just an all around nice person of this world.

    And guess what? I have tattoos.

    I know you will be put aback by this no matter. But hopefully it will put you on the defensive just long enough to stop and think that maybe, you could see things differently.

    1. Katie

      You know, Tabitha. You are 100% right. I don’t think you are bullying at all and you are right to correct me. It was a snap judgment on my part. Its funny that you mention our difference in religious beliefs because for all the talking about my faith, that was a very un-Christian thing for me to say. I have many friends, including my BEST FRIEND, Emily, who have “tatoos” and I would trust them with my children in a heartbeat. I have actually gone back and edited the post to remove that comment. I am sure it was incorrect and probably more than hurtful to a lot of people. Thanks for commenting and thanks for reading.

      P.S. I would apologize for the spelling, but I can’t spell. Ever. I have no excuse.

  16. Allison

    I loved reading this post–I work at a daycare on a college campus and often babysit for families that go there. Someone mentioned the gossip above. Well, we definitely gossip when they come home and the kids are in bed! But, guess what? It’s nothing that is EVER confidential (considering we sign a waiver to work there!). It’s usually about funny things the kids said or did (usually THEIR kids). Sometimes it’s nice for the parents to hear things from a different perspective. And sometimes parents have questions that they might not feel comfortable asking the regular teacher or in front of other parents. Just throwing that out there for the commenter who might not have seen things from another view! =)

  17. Okay, I want to babysit for you! I get $10/hour for THREE kids. Too bad we’re several states away. Bummer for you too, cause I’m pretty much the best babysitter ever. 😉

  18. Bridget

    When I babysat in college, I would get about $15 an hour, but I was working for wealthy parents from a high end day camp in Manhattan. Still, $12 is very generous!!

  19. When I babysat back in middle school I got $2.50/per hour/per kid. But that was 1994. Times have changed 🙂 And those were for kids older than 2. I never babysat past 8th grade because I was too busy. After I said no a few times due to conflicts all the jobs went to my younger sister…and she babysat for those families for EVER. They even planned nights our around her spring and winter break from college!

  20. It is hard finding a sitter. Luckily I have a 13 year old sister who I pay with treats when she brings a friend over and they watch a movie with popcorn and candy provided by me. Then on the way home we stop off for more treats. although recently she declared she would rather have money and I told her that was ridiculous and that I wasnt going to pay her to watch a movie at my house for 2 hours with a friend and treats. So moral of the story… Im probably going to have to start paying her the real stuff if I ever want her to come back. nuts.

  21. Stacy

    You are hysterical!! I almost teared up laughing at this post.

  22. Ashley

    I LOVE this post!! So glad you had a wonderful Birthday, and I loved hearing your babysitting story 🙂 It made me smile and be jealous all at the same time!

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