Little Pencil had his first babysitter at around five months. She was a Karitane nurse that we’d met when we took him to a “sleeping” class which I’m happy to say is the only thing he’s failed at spectacularly. The amazingly patient and utterly shocked nurse was horrified at how little sleep we were getting and offered to come to our home for a night so that Mr Pencil and I could have a break.
She was very experienced and had dealt with a thousand crying babies in her long and well established career so she was slightly taken aback when I told her to call us if she had any problems getting him back to sleep when he woke up. She assured us everything would be fine and hurried us out of the house – we were going to get dinner at a place not far from home. I was anxious about it but that was par for the course – I was/am an overly attached mother and it felt almost risky to leave him alone.
It was mid-way through the main course that she rang us to tell us that she couldn’t settle him and he had been screaming for too long. Could I come home and breastfeed him. I don’t remember if we actually paid for dinner or just threw our wallets at the very surprised wait staff.
So the first time didn’t go that well and I was not so keen on a second time. In fact I was what some (mainly anyone who knew me) may call over-attached. But me and my Little Pencil (and Mr Pencil) were very happy with our set up. We had no need for baby sitters – we were too exhausted to even think of getting out.
3 years later we managed to get some sleep and we toyed with the idea of having a life. We employed the word’s sweetest and most lovely human being to be our baby sitter. Little Pencil didn’t love the idea of having a sitter so insisted on going to sleep before she came. Consequently he missed out on ever meeting this angelic human being who you’d have to agree had the easiest job ever.
Finally as Little Pencil matured and I loosened my grit we started experimenting with different sitters for a Saturday night . He was happy with anyone that would devote him their undivided attention and listen to him talk and talk and talk and talk. But he would phone me a bazillion times to check when I was getting home or to ask if he could stay up till we got home. Eventually I had to tell him that if he continued to call me every time we went out I would phone him several times when he went out on his first date. He was too young to get it and the calls continued.
The best way for us to get a night out was to send him to a friend for a sleepover or to get my nephew to babysit.
Recently my work conditions went through a bit of a change and I had to look at employing a babysitter during the day – something I had never done before even though Little Pencil is 12. I put my plight on to Facebook and a good friend mentioned that her nephew was looking for some work, he is at uni and had babysat her kids in the past.
Now if there’s one thing that Little Pencil likes more than talking incessantly it is an older boy. Maybe it’s the fact that he’s an only child or maybe it is the fact that he just loves to play, but to him there is no better company than a boy who is older than him – an inbuilt friend who can teach him tricks.
Some people looked at me askance when I mentioned that I was employing a man to look after my child, but Little Pencil’s enthusiasm coupled with the fact that this young man is the very epitome of what you would want in a role model for your son, meant that I was completely happy with my decision.
Until the other day.
I had to go to the dentist in the afternoon and when my appointment was over I got a panicked call from Little Pencil who was at home with the “manny”. As I struggled to speak with one side of my mouth about 8 times the size of the other, I asked him what was wrong – he sounded a little overwrought.
“Are you going back to work?” he asked
“No, it’s 4:15 I’m coming straight home” I slobbered “Is everything okay? I’m nearly home”
“Please go back to work” he begged me
“What? No!” I said biting my own lip “Why? What’s going on?”
“I just don’t want Babysitter* to go home yet, we’re playing soccer and if you come home he’ll have to go. Please stay out till 6pm”
So there I was with a huge lip and nowhere to go.
I think my son has finally adjusted to having a babysitter. Maybe a little too well….
* I reckon if I’m not using our real names I probably shouldn’t use the babysitters.