Adventures in Babysitters

You know one of the difficult things my wife and I have faced as parents? Finding babysitters. We began lucky. My mother cared for Camilla when my wife and I initially returned to work. So perfect! Then, a few months later, my mother decided to pursue a business opportunity. We were left in a very tough spot. We had to find care for Camilla and do so very quickly. We luckily found a local daycare, which was not at all our ideal place, but served our daughter well enough. Not surprisingly, our very healthy baby became sick. And sick again. And again. And again. Seriously, that was just plain awful. She had nearly every sickness a young child could have. In addition, because these illnesses affected were often respiratory in nature, she might be more prone to asthma. 

During her time at this daycare, we also realized that we would need someone to pick her up due to my responsibilities at my old school during the high point of independent school admissions season. So, we began to interview people through a variety of caregiver websites.

The very first person we met might have been the worst possible babysitter imaginable. I thought we were being Punk'd. She had no experience and somehow thought that she could utilize YouTube to learn how to change diapers. She also wanted to drive our daughter home from daycare, but didn't realize she needed a car seat for her. She didn't get the job obviously, despite the fact she expected to hear from us. Needless to say, we weren't all that confident we would find someone. Thankfully, the other folks we met weren't out of a sitcom. We found somehow with tons of experience, a great demeanor, and best of all, a rapport with our daughter. She was great. Until she was poached by our downstairs neighbors. So, we started over again. 

Then, a bit of luck. A neighbor of ours was looking to do some babysitting for some extra cash. She is basically the model for what babysitters should be: attentive, caring, and creative. In addition, she serves as a role model for Camilla. She is a confident, intelligent, athletic, and successful young woman, who our family adores. Whenever she is available, we feel lucky to have her sit. 

When we moved from BK to Harlem, we had to start over again when I began to teach on Wednesday afternoons. We met with two college aged students and chose one to be our primary sitter and the other as a back up. The primary sitter was great. She even taught Camilla how to blow her nose! But, midway through the school year, her schedule changed. She would not be able to sit anymore. We immediately asked the back up if she could do it, and she said yes! We were relieved. However, we were soon reminded why we wanted her to be the back up. She just didn't have the same type of sense and thoughtfulness the previous sitter had. For example, there was a birthday party in our courtyard, and she allowed our then two year old to eat an entire serving of cotton candy. This led us to rethink whether or not she was up to the task. She wasn't. She just let our child run all over her. The last straw was when she did not have her phone charged, and my wife and I could not contact her. This was so unbelievably scary. My wife did not mince words when she finally spoke to her. We had to let her go due to her poor overall judgment. How could we continue to entrust the welfare of our child to this person? So, I made a tough phone call. And the best part was when she asked if she had done something wrong. My daughter and I recently saw her in a train station. She threw me one heck of a nasty look or shade as the young kids say. Her lack of maturity in that situation affirmed our decision.

We started over. Again. Using those same two sites, we hoped to gain someone worthwhile. Finally, we might have found someone long term. She is bright, cheerful, responsible, and punctual. She even asked us for our schedule for this fall in advance, so she could schedule her classes around it. We definitely have a winner. Best of all, our daughter loves her. But she is going away for six weeks this summer . . . 

Posted on July 1, 2014 .