growing up, i did a LOT of babysitting, and was on the receiving end of orientation dozens of times. you know--here are the phone numbers, bedtime is ___, snacks are in the pantry, what-have-you. when camp began and i introduced our camp sitter to the lay of the land, it was a little surreal. obviously, i've been a mom for several months now, but it felt a lot more concrete as i gave instructions to someone else on how to best care for my kid. i'm the mom--not the babysitter of someone else's children. i'm old! when did this happen?
i started babysitting in the fifth grade, and i'm not misremembering, because at the end of that school year we moved to virginia, where i found a whole new clientele. i know, who in their right make would let an eleven year old child watch their kids? apparently, quite a few people, because i regularly sat for a number of families with small children and even some babies. my next door neighbors had an infant, toddler, and four year old, and i watched them quite a bit. i can't even imagine leaving dylan with a seventh grader.
families liked me because i was a bargain at three bucks an hour, and i always played with their kids instead of popping in a movie. i also had my girl scout child care badge (bonus!), and my mom was down the street. but there never were any problems.
there was one time, when two year old pammy woke up from a nap missing her bangs.
"i cut!" she announced proudly. i felt nauseous.
"when did you do this?"
"were your bangs already short before i came?"
"did you do this just now, or did you do it earlier when your mom was here?" i asked, trying desperately to determine my culpability in the matter.
clearly, i was not going to get the very crucial piece of information i sought from this barely-verbal child. instead, i felt like a guilty criminal until her mom came home an hour later.
as it turned out, pammy's bangs were in fact short before i arrived, and it had not happened on my watch. a heads up would have been nice, mrs. L!
amy watches dylan for an hour or two most days while i met with counselors. she is great with the baby, and it frees me up to do what i need to do at camp.