Sunday, January 13, 2013

Adventures in Babysitting

After we had Charlotte, we pretty much stuck to family for babysitting. We occasionally had a friend or a friend's sibling help us for those quick middle of the day things, but in general, we relied on our family. 

I was just a lot more comfortable with family, I knew they loved her and had her best interests in mind.
At the same time, I didn't want to take advantage of our family or ask that they come out to our house every time so Charlotte could sleep in her own bed.

Now that we have Lena, I've finally decided it's time to find some "outside" help. After asking around, I decided to post a job at the Calvin College job board. Within a week, I had 6 responses! I couldn't believe it. I didn't do any sort of major interview over email, but I basically asked if they were comfortable watching a younger infant because I know that's probably the most challenging part of it.


Of course, everyone said they were fine with it, but I still waited 6 weeks before I "hired" anyone. Over those 6 weeks, Lena has learned to put herself to sleep in her crib, but has also started waking up more in the last 2 weeks. So now I'm supposed to instruct someone who doesn't know my kid how to take care of her when I barely know how myself.

Last night was the first time we left both girls with a complete stranger. And let me just say, she made it easy to leave. When she arrived, Lena immediately grinned at her, and Charlotte said "hi" and was really excited about a new friend. Earlier in the day we had some friends over, and Charlotte played shy for the first hour, so I was really pleased to see how she warmed up right away. As I went over instructions and gave her a mini tour of the house, I knew it would go well...except I wasn't feeling completely confident with her knowing what to do with Lena. But come on. How could she?

me: Just swaddle her up and put her in her crib to sleep. She might whine at first, but she will go to sleep.
her: What do I use to swaddle her?
me: oh yeah.
So I had to show her the velcro swaddleme thinger and hope she was okay with pinning down her arms. It's not always easy if you don't have a baby and you feel like they "don't like it."

me: okay, so if she wakes up, which she probably will...maybe around 8...? or something? you can give her a bottle. If you want, you can give it to her in her room and see if she goes back to sleep....on second thought, you can just get her up if you want....she'll probably be up for an hour or so...I guess I don't really know...

How could I expect someone to know what to do given that crappy instruct? I told her I'd check in after Charlotte's bedtime and when I did, I just told her to trust her instincts with Lena because that's about all you can do.

We enjoyed our evening out, but of course I was curious how she was doing at home.
Over all, I think it went well. She left Charlotte's door open and she's right next to Lena's room, so when the sitter told me that Charlotte woke up a couple of times I was like "huh??" She hasn't done that in over a year.  But obviously when Lena was shrieking, it woke Charlotte up. And Lena stayed up until 10 or so, which isn't a huge deal. I was reeeeaallly hoping Lena would sleep like she has in the past when her grandparents have watched her. Without fail, she would sleep 8-10 hours after being babysat. Nope. Not this time. Worst night yet. She cried from 2:15-5:30. I really hope we're over this regression hump soon.
I will feel a lot more confident leaving her with someone once she has a solid bedtime, isn't crying it out, and is down for the night (or so).

It's a good thing I'm cute, huh?

Get over yourself. I hope you're a middle child someday. 

We currently have 2 gift cards left to some good date restaurants, so our plan is to have a babysitter when we go so it'll balance out the cost of a night out. 

When I babysat, I made about $3/hour. $5 was like the jackpot. I also walked to school uphill both ways.
man, I'm old.
Anyone know the going rate for babysitters? And can I pay them in Home Depot gift cards or old clothes I'm looking to get rid of?


  1. I'd have a hard time leaving the baby too, for the same reasons. It's hard when they don't have a "usual". Also, Faith is a little putz about having anyone other than me put her down. When we go out, we leave AFTER her bedtime. Pretty sweet deal for the babysitters. :)

  2. I was always so worried about the non-familial babysitter, because I felt so bad if my kid was a disaster for them. I also think it is hard to leave your child with someone who doesn't have any kids. If I couldn't figure out my own kid's drama, how was a complete stranger with little infant experience going to? We have had some great sitters, and it has gotten easier, but it is so hard at the stage Lena is at. I wish those kids could just figure out their own sleep issues! :-)

  3. oh god that Lena picture is too cute.

  4. You are brave! I have yet to leave the boys with anyone else but their grandparents and a few of our friends. I feel bad, I always give the friends wine because well, I am sure they need it after watching my minions. I think there is a pay generator on that says how much to charge. Your girls are precious!

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