July 13, 2010

Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Suffering From An Acute Case of PTSD

On Sunday night, Beth and I tried something we'd never done before. Get your minds out of the gutter. We left our kids with someone who wasn't directly related to us and went to dinner.

I know you're probably weeping for our poor, sheltered children but you shouldn't. You see, we have by no means a large family but the family we have is all located here, no more than a half hours' drive. As a result, the kids have great relationships with their grandparents, not to mention their aunt, uncle and cousins, and we have built in babysitting. We're not going clubbing every night but we do get out and our children have learned that the world keeps spinning without us. But we don't always want to have to rely on our folks. So we found someone to hang out with the kids for a couple of hours. Not just anyone - the daughter of Mia's most favoritest teacher ever. Her sixteen year old daughter.

Oddly, neither Beth nor I were really freaked out. Its marginally terrifying to realize that this girl is less than half my age. And my paranoia wasn't helped by the steady stream of memories of what I was like at sixteen that flowed through my overactive imagination at dinner.

Let's talk about what I was doing at sixteen.

I was trying to get laid in the back seat of my Jeep. This was easier than expected both from a relationship point of view and logistically (fold-down seats). What was tough was explaining to my parents why I found myself stuck late at night on desolate roads when the Jeep's engine started to tank. I went through six starters in five months and suffered more than one embarrassing phone call and several agonizing waits for AAA.

Around the same time I was infatuated with stealing the giant inflatable Frosty perched on top of the local Wendy's. This was after I was forced to give up on my dream of stealing a giant Bob (you know, Big Boy). As it turned out, they were made of fiber glass and were way too hard to cut through with a hack-saw. My crazy friend Adam and I hatched many plans for capturing the oversized beverage. We made several midnight reconnaissance missions and even took a shot at the thing with a pellet gun, hoping to deflate it. Whatever it was made of was no match for the pellet gun. We never captured the Frosty, long gone since the place is now some lame diner.

And despite the fact that this is what I was like at age 16, I think I could have kept two kids alive for a couple hours.

We returned home to two shriekingly-happy kids and one slightly shell-shocked 16 year old. Mia and Owen immediately demanded we call her to have her over again.

How long do you think it takes your average American teenager to recover from Mia and Owen-induced post traumatic stress? 16 year olds bounce back quickly, right?

Posted by Chris at July 13, 2010 6:57 AM

If you paid her well, overnight.
I worked from age 13-17 for a couple with kids and they paid me very well and left great food for me and their kids.

Posted by: Maribeth at July 13, 2010 7:08 AM

Wait, I don't get it. If you have a babysitter, why would you come home before the kids were in bed? :)

I make it a condition of employment with our babysitters. if the kids aren't in bed when we get home, they don't get paid...

Posted by: Kaz at July 13, 2010 7:23 AM

Earplugs might be a nice suggestion for her next visit.

I'm sure the worst thing to happen in her 16-year-old life that day wasn't your kids screaming. Probably boyfriend drama. :)

Posted by: Poppy at July 13, 2010 7:38 AM

She's already over it. Don't worry. Teenage babysitters are tough.

Posted by: k8 at July 13, 2010 9:03 AM

The bounce back time is directly proportionate to the wad of cash you gave her.

How much do babysitters charge these days? When we found a good babysitter we always felt compelled to way overpay so that we'd get priority in the future.

One of the great things about both our kids being teenagers now is that we can decide with no notice to go do something without them. And we don't have to figure babysitting fees in the cost of the night out.

Posted by: COD at July 13, 2010 9:32 AM

im sure she'll be fine. and in addition to paying her you may have provided a much bigger reward of not becoming a teenage parent ;)

Posted by: steph at July 13, 2010 10:20 AM

Teenage babysitters recover quickly. I'm amazed at the crap I put up with for $2 an hour when I was 14.

Posted by: Steph at July 13, 2010 11:18 AM

I SOOOO wanted a Big Boy for my dorm room! Replace the burger on the plate with a microwave - voila - world's coolest kitchen accessory!

Posted by: Heather at July 13, 2010 12:21 PM

I am amazed...and envious...that you were able to go for so long without having a non-family member babysit. I'm sure we waited at least until Emily was, um, 3 months. heh.

Posted by: alimartell at July 13, 2010 1:24 PM

My dorm roommate had a "Grimace" (purple McDonald's character) in our room. One day, a neighbor from down the hall burst into our room and kidnapped Grimace! He and his roommate had an electric saw and they locked themselves in their room while my roommate was banging on the door outside. They sawed Grimace into 4 pieces. We later glued Grimace back together whereupon he was then cooler than ever.

Posted by: James Proffitt at July 13, 2010 2:04 PM

Heh I'm sure she'll recover. The only babysitting mishap I never really recovered from was when the kid up and hit me (purposely, hard, across the face) and the parents didn't back me up on the discipline (loss of bike for the weekend (we're previously discussed that loss of privileges would be the mode of discipline- this happened on a Thursday - I returned the next day to see him riding his bike. I was TICKED, man.)

Posted by: Heather at July 13, 2010 7:38 PM

You googled the girl and checked out her facebook right? My best friend after having a babysitter for a while, decided to look her up online and found pictures of her all over the need drinking and smoking weed, etc. She decided to look because one night when she came to watch the kids things didn't seem right. So it's a good thing she knows now. Needless to say, they no longer call her....

Posted by: Rose @Dozenroses13 at July 13, 2010 7:48 PM

Think of it as birth control.

Posted by: Sarah at July 14, 2010 9:12 PM


Posted by: Carrie Jo at July 15, 2010 1:54 PM