Adventures in Babysitting

Adventures in babysitting, indeed.

Last week, I dipped my toe in the babysitting co-op water. I responded to an email from a woman (who I had not met) looking for a Friday night sitter for her six year old son. The Ex had an event to attend that Friday anyway, and so it seemed like a good opportunity for me and G (as we would otherwise have been sitting at home).

The woman seemed nonplussed by the fact that she had not met me before, since every new member is vetted by the co-op before joining. In fact, when G and I arrived at her house, she barely acquainted herself with me before she and her husband headed out to the theater. She clearly had more confidence in my babysitting skills than I did.

A side note: Prior to last week, the last time I babysat was in high school. And, while I am a mother, it is so different interacting with your own child. I was quite nervous that I would be a bad babysitter.

Anyway, I brought G along for the sit because I thought a 4 year old and a 6 year old would play well together. (And because I had sold the co-op as the “Friends Come Over and Play Club.” It’s all about marketing.) Boy, was I wrong. The boy I was sitting for – we’ll call him Andrew – had zero interest in G. And, upon realizing this, G, who was so excited to go to “the Club,” promptly had a meltdown. He stood in the doorway with his head down, whimpering that he wanted to go home. Meanwhile, Andrew tried to get me to ignore G and play a game with him instead. He called G “weird” and I had to remind myself that I was also Andrew’s sitter and it would not be appropriate to lambaste the monster for making fun of my poor baby.

After 30 minutes of coaxing, I got G to return to the playroom where Andrew was building a train track. Andrew wanted me to build it with him and actually passed the pieces around G to give to me. Awful. That sent G back to the doorway for another 15 minutes.

Finally, it was time for Andrew to go to bed. After he was asleep, G and I built a big train track of our own and read a bunch of books. I promised myself I would only bring G to sits where the children were his age or where I had met them before.

When the parents came home, we concluded the sit experience with a discussion of points transfer (aka my “payment” since co-op use points, not money). I was to email the co-op secretary and inform her that I was due 17 points – 6 for traveling to the sittee’s house, 4 for each of the hours Andrew was awake, and 1 point for the hours thereafter. I did this as soon as I got, unable to keep from wondering incredulously if there was not a better way.

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