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February 10, 2010


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I took a babysitting job in 1979 when I was 16. All day, for $10. When the mom picked me up, the kids had not had breakfast. Not a clean dish in the house, sink full of cruddy supper dishes from the night before, kitchen a filthy, nasty mess. I washed ALL the dishes, cleaned the kitchen. Made breakfast.

Two kids in diapers, not a clean diaper in the house. I had to wash a load of diapers. (Yes, this was in the olden days.)

The kids were holy terrors, climbing out of the second-floor windows, etc. The parents did not return until suppertime. I accepted $10 as the pay. Should have demanded more, as I had also performed maid services.

They called me to do the whole thing again. I said no, BUT GAVE THEM MY FRIEND JACKIE'S NUMBER. They called her, she said yes.

She still has not forgiven me.

I don't deserve her forgiveness.

I was torture for my babysitters. I started crying the moment my parents left until I exhausted myself and passed out. I remember these sweete teenage girls (who taught me swimming lessons in the summer) trying EVERYTHING in their bag of tricks to distract me from my woes. I wouldn't be surprised if the circle of babysitters in Pines Lake blacklisted my house. In fact, I don't think my parents went out again until my brother was old enough to be in charge.

PS - I'm totally stealing this blog post idea! Thank Maureen!

No babysitting experience - we had lived-in nannies, yeah but no where like Nanny Fine. And grandparents, uncles and aunties, and neighbours! We send our children to "play" at neighbour's house.

My older sibling got the task of babysitting me when they went out...and it was without pay, sure it stunk for them. But I tell you we had some good times when they went out, It was a fierce scramble to get the house back in order before their return!

I remember a babysitter turning off the lights and we all lit candles and walked around the house in the dark. It was delicious fun, but now I think about how irresponsible it was.

Mom never found out. And I'm certainly not going to tell her!

We have been really lucky to have good sitters. There's a family of 5 girls, 3 of which are of babysitting age and one almost there, that lives a couple of blocks from us that we know from church. Lucky us!

I remember having a sitter when we were young who let us prank call our crushes. She was in high school, so she had all the gossip on the particular boys, so we LOVED having her come over.

We've been able to rely on family, grandparents mostly, to watch our boys, thankfully. We couldn't afford to go out AND pay a babysitter!

I used to terrorize the HELL out of our babysitters, just for the fun of it. We had this one gal, Shelley, that I despised with a passion. She was from our church and pretended to be all sunshine and light, but once Mom went to work she was a ugly, hateful thing that listened to Ratt and hollered a lot. So I got her back. She sent us to bed early that night and I would jump out of my bed, bang on my bedroom window (like there was someone outside) and then freak the eff out. I should have won an Oscar for that performance!!! Kind of backfired, though, as she ended up calling the police because of it all and Mom had to come home early. I never told the truth though until I was well into my adult years. Needless to say, Shelley never came back - so I kinda sorta won, too. In my own rabbity way...

Do I have a song for you. Dar Williams, The Babysitter. From a great album, The Honesty Room. Seriously.

My sister was the worst babysitter ever. She would lock me in the basement and refuse to let me out. Strangely, I never told on her?

My first babysitting gig was when I was 12 and I took care of four siblings, including an infant. Now I cannot imagine hiring someone so young to watch my two boys. (Why not, I haven't exactly parsed yet.) The babysitter we have now is a goddess - a wonderful, reliable, responsible young woman who adores our kids and whom they adore. Posts like these remind me how lucky we are to have her in our lives!

I babysat quite a bit as a young teenager - and some of the horror stories I could tell! The worst was when I babysat for the woman next door, whose daughter was a friend of my younger sister. The mother was an alcoholic, and she went out to go boozing it up, telling me she'd be home by 1 at the very latest. She didn't show up until 5 a.m., and paid me by check - which bounced. My mother was LIVID.

I have never paid a sitter to watch my kids - during my first marriage, we were too broke to go out, and on the rare occasion we went somewhere without the kids, our mothers or one of my sisters watched them. When I began dating again, my older kids were old enough to stay home and babysit The Young One, who now is old enough to be left home alone in the evening on the rare occasion that Beloved and I go out.

We had a sitter, I think her name was Melissa, who was so much fun and whenever my mom bought cheetos, Melissa's favorite snack food, we knew she was coming over. We looked forward to those days!
I'm not sure if it's sad or not, but we've never left Sprite with an actual sitter unless you count John's or my parents. I have trust issues. :-)

Oooh, you have to get that whole Dar Williams album. There's a song called "Flinty Kind of Woman" that kind of reminds me of you, way out there on your island!

I had a babysitter when I was little that was awesome. Her name was also Karen (co-incidence, or do all Karen's end up awesome babysitters?) She would braid my hair, and call me a princess and sit in bed telling me stories until I fell asleep. Then she'd play board games with my brother until he had to go to bed, too. Good times.

We're lucky to have so many relatives so close by. LG and o get to hang out with their aunties and cousins when we go out.

Oh man, babysitters are tough. I remember my childhood sitter having "boys" over and they made PB&J but put the jelly on the outside of the bread and made me eat it. I was maybe five and I was crying but they made me eat it anyways, jerks. I should look them on on Facebook and bash their faces in. Ha.

We've had bad sitters, for sure. One sitter (I was pregnant with Elliot and had her come twice a week to watch Graham while I worked) locked him in his crib with books and toys and lemonade (AFTER I TOLD THE BITCH HE ONLY DRINKS WATER OR MILK) and she watched movies on HBO on Demand. Oh, and she used my husband's computer after I password protected mine and told her not to ever touch his because it had confidential work documents on it. Grrr.

My kids are with the sitter right now. We love her, she's been with us for over a year and loves the kids like they're her own.

When I was about 15, I was babysitting the neighbor's kids, who were 7 and 3 years old. Their parents had gong to a Christmas party. Halfway through the evening, the phone rang. It was their father's brother. I explained that he wasn't home, and I asked if I could take a message.

He said, "Yes. When Frank comes home, please tell him that his mother passed away tonight."

Needless to say, I was freaking out. When they got home from the party, I said nothing. I ran straight home, woke my mother up, and told her. She ended up calling the parents and giving Frank the message.

Oh my - in my world, ignorance is bliss. I shudder to think what may go on in my absense. Luckily, we have a built in babysitter that I trust implicitly - our daughter. And for all of you out there that think I may be delusional - remember, she has two little brothers who would LOVE to tattle on her. They keep HER in line.

you have another stage to experience someday hopefully - babysitting grandkids - I was just doing that last week. Mostly fun but the dirty diaper duty is not so much.

I never baby sat, will never baby sit, and was never baby sought, lol. and i will never give my kids to baby sit

I babysat a lot - for my 5 younger siblings - and also for paying gigs. I was just thinking the other day that some of those nights, after the kids were in bed, I would talk on the phone for hours. This was decades before call waiting. How irresponsible of me!
I've never paid a babysitter for my child. Have never gone out at night, really.

You know, I don't recall that much about my babysitters when I was a kid; and I don't remember much about the kids I babysat, except that I am still in touch with one of them now, and it makes me feel old!

I am truly horrified when I look back upon my own babysitting behavior. I was totally responsible while the kids were awake, but once I got them to bed, I would smoke all the leftover cigarette butts out of the ashtrays, and drink their liquor. Isn't that nasty? I clearly remember smoking butts that had somebody elses lipstick on them! Luckily, the parents were always pretty toasted by the time they got home, and never noticed that I had been into their booze!

I can't even imagine having to deal with babysitters since I don't care much for teenagers. :) I had some good babysitters and some bad ones. I babysat around the neighborhood a lot in high school. Some where good jobs and some I dreaded going to, but needed the money. But I would never have dreamed of bringing "friends" over to hang out with me while babysitting. I would have been mortified if I had been caught.

I love that pic! I don't have any babysitting stories. I was my mother's live in babysitter. I fought and complained for eight years, till I ran away.

Sadly, there is one more stage to babysitting.
As we get older, there will be neighbors, relatives, etc, checking in on us.
Trips to the doctor or even the store may require an escort.

As a teenager my uncle and aunt roped me into 'sitting for their first born princess. They had developed this method of having her go to sleep in her pram, pushing the pram the length of the kitchen and back again. I, with all the brains of the lazy, tied a length of twine to the handle wrapping the other end to my wrist thereby solving the problem of getting her to sleep. These conditions continued until one night RTE showed Paint Your Wagon. At the scene where the body is hoiked out of the grave, I burst into laughter which woke the child. Knowing that she was going to cry moan and generally grouse herself until ten minutes before her parents returned, I proceeded to push her into the parlour placing a double set of doors and an eight foot stone wall between her and the film.
After that night, while she would whinge and moan before sleep with everyone else, anytime she saw that it was Vincent she slept like a log.

Babysitters scare me! That's why we hardly left our kids when they were really young, and if we did we had grown-up friends doing it. My daughter is now old enough to babysit her siblings and that's been interesting!

This is pretty much why I don't let any teens watch my kid. It's scary....I worry about the girls my nieces are being watched by. I'm just sure that one day I'll hear a story about something odd happening while Sister-in-law was at work.

So far the only thing that has happened to us is that last year, while out for Valentine's Day, my parents house sat, watching our son, the cats and the dog. We called and Mom had to tell me the dog had ripped a nail and was gushing blood all over the back bathroom floor.

Needless to say I never asked those old farts to watch my kid and dog again.


I love that my 13-year-old now babysits. He makes great money. But somehow I don't feel comfortable leaving my home when he is babysitting elsewhere! I stay home so parents in the neighborhood can go out....

the last one who pretty much lied about everything. who did not put one dish in the dishwasher or even rinse the fuckers, even if it was a dish she used, who thought my kid needed psychological help b/c God forbid she whined or didn't behave one day.

You've had your share of interesting babysitters. when I was in my teens my mother would not allow me to babysit, went back to a bad experience she had had with the father of one of the kids she babysat.

We didn't really have babysitters growing up, our folks were poor and didn't get to go out until we were much older and didn't need to be babysat anymore.

Myself, I have yet to hire a babysitter for my 3 1/2 year old. After reading your post, it will be a long time before I do!!

Oh the flood of baby sitting memories unearthed in my brain as a result of this post... I was so thrilled when one of our long-term babysitters locked my brother in our utility room while he screamed. A thrilling moment for me. And then Diane was never asked to return. This post has brought up a juicy set of stories that I will save for a rainy blogging day...Thank you!

I've had 'babysitting post' scribbled in my notebook forever but never gotten around to writing it. I may have to do that now that you've jogged my memory.

Here's one for you. I had a babysitter that used to tie the kids to the legs of the couch with pantyhose. Niiice.

My worst experience of being babysat was when my sister (six years older than I) and her friend, the neighbour from across the road, told me that Santa did not exist. Hardly a worry, but devastating for me at the time, who loved Santa. I rarely have my young daughter babysat; my 20 year old son and his girlfriend looked after her the other night when I went out. I don't have grandmothers or aunties to call upon, and I don't like asking friends who have their own children or grown up children. She starts pre-school next week so I'll have all my outings etc. when she is there having fun with other kids her own age and trained staff. It's always a worry leaving one's kids in the care of others, though.

Ginger, what kind of person leaves a message with a stranger - a teenage girl at that - to tell his brother that his mother has died?

What a jerk.

I've definitely blocked out any bad babysitter experiences involving da boys...

However, I do remember being...maybe 14? And babysitting for a neighbor and the power went out. It was VERY DARK.

I lit a candle and holding it, I peered through the curtains out the front window...and my hair caught on fire!

Looking back, I realize I could have burned down the whole house. Love the smell of burned hair!

I remember my sister coming home with a nasty black eye after the child she was baby sitting intentionally hit her in the face with a baseball bat.

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