One of the great things about living near your family is the convenient supply of babysitters. We've got two sets of grandparents and a handful of aunts on call, ready and willing to feed and entertain the baby whenever they're asked. These brave souls even agree to babysit at bedtime. I KNOW!
Until recently I felt like a pro. Me? Have problems with someone else watching my child? Pshaw! Jack has even stayed overnight at my parents' house. The first time, my parents whisked him away so we could get ready for our Christmas party. I cried. It was terrible. Until I realized how much easier it was to do everything without worrying about him, and how fabulous it was to sleep in the next day. He stayed overnight again a few weeks ago, just because we were visiting on a Friday night and we'd already put him to bed and hey, why not just leave him there? On the drive home I congratulated myself on my flexibility, my faith in parenting skills other than my own, and the exhilarating absence of babysitter neuroses.
Then a friend of mine brought up childcare for a weekend we spend with three other couples with toddlers. "We can just hire a couple of kids from my church," she suggested and that's when I realized that oops, I do indeed have a babysitter issue or two.
A KID? That I don't KNOW? Quite honestly, I'm not sure knowing the kid would make any difference. I was, after all, a teenaged babysitter myself. I had a short list of babysitting priorities and they were as follows:
1. Find the treats in the kitchen. Remember not to babysit for the gluten-free vegetarians.
2. Make sure I can work the remote.
3. Get the kids to bed ASAP so I can make good use of the remote.
Nowhere in my list of priorities was there anything about keeping my charges safe and sound, making sure they're fed and clean, and, oh, I don't know, PLAYING WITH THEM?
I may not have had a kid get sick or break his arm on my watch, but I was a horrible babysitter. And when I think about leaving my precious baby with ME ... well THAT'S not going to happen.
If I'm honest I have to say that I'm really only comfortable leaving Jack with the grandparents. They've spent the most time with him and I'm not at all anxious to leave him at bedtime. It may take longer, but I know the grandparents are up to the challenge. Jack has two fabulous aunts as well and while there was that one time when my sister called us to come home a half hour after we'd left, hardly anyone is better at keeping him happy and entertained. But we've never left him with anyone else, not even good friends. We haven't had to, what with our convenient supply of Jack-enamored babysitters.
I thought I'd be more comfortable with babysitters by now. I mean, he IS an entire year old. So I know this is something I just have to DO, like leaving Jack overnight. It didn't kill me and it bought me a few extra hours of sleep. What's not to love about that?