Over the years we’ve had many babysitters for our children and some have been excellent; the kind where you walk out the door and feel no anxiety. Others have just been appalling.
When selecting a babysitter the problem is that you’re limited by choice because usually you end up with whoever will say, ‘yes’. Other factors weighing in are that it would be handy if they could drive or live across the road because there’s nothing worse than arriving home and just before you get out of the car, sitting there arguing about who’s going to drive the babysitter home.
One night it was my duty to drive the babysitter home and on the way to her house I was stopped by police for a random breath-test which I managed to pass and then on my way home the mobile RBT unit had moved to the other side of the road and pulled me over again. I said, ‘You just breatholised me. You were over there and now you’re here’. But in deference to common sense, reason and logic, they made me do another test.
We once had a babysitter who went into a coma. At least that’s what we’re calling it because when we arrived home we couldn’t wake her up. I had to physically shake her and yell her name into her eardrum and she still wouldn’t wake. When she did rouse into some sort of semi-conscious state she staggered into the bathroom and shut the door behind her. I couldn’t get her out of there. I think she regressed into her catatonic state. Carl came in from the car asking what on earth was going on as he’d been sitting there for about 20 minutes waiting for her. We didn’t book her again.
Another girl thought it would be a great idea to throw an object around the house and let the kids run around and see if they could catch it. Nothing was said when we arrived home and she took our money and Carl drove her home and I went into the dining room and found one of my crystal decanters in pieces with all the shattered glass piled up neatly where the perfect decanter once stood as part of a set of three. We didn’t book her again.
There was another one we booked but at the last minute she said she couldn’t come (this is fairly standard), but that she had a friend who could come in her place and the friend could drive. That seemed fair enough so the friend arrived and she did seem a sour little thing but she babysat for the night and when we arrived home I handed her the money and she said, ‘Oh I don’t get paid $10.00 an hour, I charge $15.00’. This was 10 years ago when $10.00 an hour was generous. I said, ‘Oh, I thought your friend would have told you we pay babysitters $10.00 an hour’.
‘No, she didn’t but I charge fifteen’.
‘Well I’m sorry about the misunderstanding but I don’t have any more cash so tonight you’ll have to take ten’.
We didn’t book her or her friend again either.
Another night we had a babysitter booked so we could meet friends at a restaurant. At the last minute our friends’ babysitter cancelled on them (this is fairly standard) so they asked if they could bring their son to our house. I said that would be perfectly fine. I then phoned our babysitter and explained the situation about the extra child. That sorted, I hung up the phone but a few minutes later her mother phoned me and said, ‘As you’re asking my daughter to look after extra children she’ll need to be paid double.’ This is the same mother who told me her daughter was 16 when she was actually 14 so she’d be paid a higher rate. We didn’t book her again either.
It seems I’m not alone. I have a friend who has been using a babysitter who is the 15 year old girl living across the street. The other day my friend saw the girl’s mother clipping her hedges so stopped for a chat. The woman remarked what a late night my friend had had the Saturday prior and how amazing to be out so late at her age. My friend said, ‘No, it wasn’t a late night. We were home by eleven.’ The woman’s face fell to the floor. She said, ‘But Catherine didn’t get home until six’. My friend said, ‘I dropped her here at this gate at 11.02’. When the woman recovered she said, ‘I was hoping you wouldn’t be so late tonight.’ My friend said, ‘Catherine cancelled on us by text on Wednesday.’ The woman said, ‘Catherine told me this morning she has to be at your house at 7.30pm tonight.’ Awkward!
But the best story would have to be from a friend of mine who told me about a couple she knows who are both doctors and they needed a babysitter to look after their two boys while they were at work. They found a young lady who they thought was quite suitable until one day they came home early and caught her swearing her head off. After she left they found a notebook sitting on a table beside their phone and opened it up to find it was the babysitter’s diary. It was full of appointments for night-time activities involving her other career as a prostitute.
Do you have any babysitting stories?
If you have a good babysitter, it’s always an idea to keep them on side by feeding them well. These Bubble Bars are a favourite with teenage girls and actually, girls of all ages!
Degree of Difficulty: 2/5
Cost: This is a very inexpensive treat. There’s only five ingredients and they can be found in most pantries.
- 124g (4 oz) butter
- 2 tbspns honey
- 4 oz brown sugar
- 1 tspn vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup coconut
- 4 cups rice bubbles
In a small saucepan bring butter, honey and sugar to boil. Boil for 3 mins then add vanilla extract. Stir to combine, then add coconut and rice bubbles. When combined, pour into a 20cm x 20cm tin and press down. Cut into squares while still warm. Allow to set in fridge.
This recipe has been adapted from the Edmonds Cookery Book.
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