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First night with a babysitter

This Saturday will mark a grand and important event in the Cheung Household: it's our first night out with a BABYSITTER!

That's right folks. While we've left our kids a million times (and often for DAYS at a time), we've always left them with aunts or grandparents. I've got two sisters and two sets of grandparents willing to watch my shorties whenever we ask. But sometimes they're not always available. Or sometimes we want to just head down the street for dinner, which isn't so conducive for grandparental babysitting since both sets live at least forty minutes away. We often drive to the grandparents' towns and go out there, but sometimes you just wanna go see a movie and come home to kids fast asleep in their own beds, am I right? 

Enter Spicy Salsa (not her real name, no, that's part of her EMAIL ADDRESS), a youngish teenager from our church who willingly allowed herself to be talked into employment as the Cheungs' new babysitter. I KNOW! Would you believe I talked to SS and one of her friends last YEAR about babysitting, only to finally suck it up and ask if she was available THIS SATURDAY. I'm pathetic. But honestly, if it wasn't nervousness about leaving the kids with Someone New, it was not having a day to go OUT. (Even more pathetic.)

But anyway. I'm very excited. SS has heaps of experience, not to mention a sister who is possibly available for babysitting when SS is busy with sleepover parties and school dances. We've known her family for a while, she's a sweet and friendly girl and I have every intention of making sure our freezer is stocked with ice cream when she comes over Saturday night. 

The thing is, I'm not sure how I should ARRANGE everything. It's the first time we'll leave our kids with someone other than family - what if they freak out? I mean, that's ridiculous, they'll probably be all, "SEE YA, PARENTS!" and run shrieking into the playroom to demand back to back episodes of The Backyardigans AND bowls of ice cream. (Which is totally allowed on babysitter nights, by the way, even though they don't know this yet.) No, I guess I can't say I'm that worried about the kids, but I am a little worried about things like dinner and bedtime. 

Like, I haven't told SS what time we'll pick her up. For the first time, should I shoot for earlier? Let her hang out a bit with the kids, maybe when they're still eating dinner? That means she'd be in charge of pajamas and we could even be home before bedtime. But that sounds like a bummer to me - if I'm paying for a babysitter those kids better be in their beds when I get home. So maybe we pick her up later and have the kids already in their pajamas. I could have Phillip develop some kind of manual to explain our TiFaux to the babysitter and she'll do a show and treats and stories and prayers and bedtime. 

And then how do I explain bedtime? Have you met me in person? I am the Queen Of Giving You Too Much Information. I won't write it all down for you, because I won't want you to think I'm one of those crazy neurotic moms who has to give you five different emergency numbers, plus write down the numbers 911 in case you forget. Oh no. But I will talk your ear off, telling you every last thing I can think of about the kids and what they do and what they like and my contingency plans for every scenario, which is essentially the same thing. HOW DO I NOT DO THAT? 

For the first time we plan to head to a restaurant about three minutes away and be gone about two hours. Easy, right? It shouldn't be too complicated or scary for anyone (ME). But if you have any First Time With A Babysitter tips, or ideas about what will be difficult or easy for her, or what I should expect, let me know! Again, I'm not THAT worried about the kids - they have each other, and they LOVE kids who are completely focused on THEM - but perhaps I AM a crazy neurotic mom and I'll take any pointers you've got!