Saturday, April 19, 2008

A question sitting in my head...

When it comes to baby-sitters, I'm pretty inexperienced. Almost virgin-like, actually. Most of the time we use family to watch the kids, since my mother-in-law and sister-in-law both live within 30-45 minutes of us. So, the times we do use a sitter, it never feels natural to me. And, we probably use one maybe every 4-6 months or so. I know this makes us sound strange--I have friends who use a sitter almost weekly. We don't get out enough...I know that.

Fortunately, I have found a couple of sitters whose parents I know and who I think are good kids. The most recent two are sisters and we typically use the older sister if we can. She's sweet, plays nicely with the kids, and seems to follow most of our rules from what I can tell.

The problem?

Well, being a teenage girl, she leaves a mess. I have friends who instantly nuke a sitter off their list if the kid doesn't clean everything and leave no signs of her being there. I find this extreme. I don't have an issue with glasses being out, some toys not all picked up. She's there to watch and play with my kids, not be my maid, right?

The last time she sat for us, there was food left out from dinner and a pretty big mess from that and all the toys the kids played with were out. M'kay...hmmm...

This time, when we get home, I find her sitting on the couch doing something on her laptop. I walk in to find two bags of bagel chips I had leftover from my bunco party last night out and open on our living room coffee table. A drink was sitting on our table, with no coaster (not hers, but I think my son's) and some bagel chips were spilled on the carpet and couch.

She got up, packed up her stuff and left it all there without batting an eye. I felt like Seinfeld on the Poppy episode where Poppy the cook doesn't wash his hands in the bathroom--my eyes just kept going back to the mess and then to her as she walked towards the garage door to get in my car.

To most, this might not be a big deal. But, we don't eat in our living room and the kids aren't allowed to have drinks on our couch. My kids are still small and until they are past the major spilling stage, they stay on the tile with food and drinks. Still, she couldn't know that I guess.

Upstairs, there were stuffed animals and toys everywhere. The TV was still on, upstairs and the Scene-It game they played out. My daughter was sleeping on top of her covers as if she had just crawled in there herself and my son showed signs of tucking himself in as well. Lights were on in both rooms, so bright I don't know how they got to sleep. Hmm...

Both kids said they had fun. They like the girl and they want her to come again. And, I will probably use her again, just because of that. But, am I being nit-picky and unrealistic to expect her to pick up her snacks if she spills them on the floor? Shouldn't she tuck in my 4 yr old at least? I'm so unseasoned when it comes to sitters, so do share---what do you expect to come home and find? Or should I just be concerned with her keeping the kids safe and playing with them?


Updated: More details are coming out... apparently there was a game of throw the stuffed animals down the laundry shoot. Hmm....again...



Blogger LadyBugCrossing said...

Well, did you set rules about her putting the kids to bed, cleaning up after them, or not eating in the family room? Does she know the rules? Did you write them down and leave them on the counter for her?

I'd reiterate the rules the next time she babysits. If she doesn't follow them, that would be the last time she sits.

You say she's a teenager - how old? I know my almost 13 year old would no more pick up after herself unless you told her to do that...
They just don't think.

My oldest babysits for a boy in the neighborhood and I remind him to clean up as he walks out my door. He picks up, but he's no pro...


8:09 PM, April 20, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always left my son with family so I don't have any ideas about hiring a babysitter or what to expect from one. I do remember my days of babysitting. I ALWAYS cleaned up after myself and the kids. I never cleaned their rooms or anything but if they left toys in the living room I would pick them up. I thought I was just being nice. No one ever aked me to do that - I just did. It was the way I was raised I guess.

Maybe you should have a set of rules though so the babysitter would know what's expected of her. It would probably be easier on both of you that way.


8:26 AM, April 21, 2008  
Blogger Karen Sugarpants said...

Our sitter is a teenage boy and he does similar things. Thing is, there are more pros than the cons of a bit of a mess, and I know he is playing with the kids and taking good care of them. That's what's important. We had a teenage girl before him and she was neat as a pin but there was something about her I didn't trust. I'd go with the messy kid if you can look past the mess - just go over the rules about the coaster if you're concerned about furniture. :)

9:22 AM, April 21, 2008  
Blogger Crazy MomCat said...

I agree, Karen. And y'all are right about making the rules clear. A few things I specified, but just in passing. A few I thought MY OWN kids would know not to do--(I know you're laughing at me now. HA!)

After asking some pointed questions to my son, I decided I'm still going to try her again because she definitely DID play with the kids.

I have had a sitter once who I could tell ignored my son (this was when we just had one child) and I'd much rather have a mess than that!

11:12 AM, April 21, 2008  
Blogger kristi said...

We pay daycare during the week so we can't afford a sitter! But I would maybe make a list and ask her to read over it next time she sits.

1:10 PM, April 21, 2008  

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