Friday, January 12, 2007

Babysitter Blues

Tonight was our first night out on a date since we met Marcie. Sure, we've hung out during day time hours, when Marcie is accustomed to being with Grandma. But I've haven't been ready to go out at night just yet. And, to be honest, I wouldn't have gone this evening. But my friend convinced me that everything would be okay if I did-- and we hatched a plan.

We would put Marcie to bed at the usual time, then head over to our local Brigantine for dinner. We know the assistant general manager there, and they've recently done a major renovation. I don't think we've been there in like 6 or 7 years-- maybe more-- even though it's less than 10 minutes down the road.

We hired a great kid down the street-- Jason told me he was 13, so I assumed he was in 8th or 9th grade. Now this concerned me a little. I mean 13 is on the young side for babysitting two wily kids. But this babysitter is a Boy Scout. And he's been through babysitter training and the Red Cross classes. And he took care of our dog while we were out of town over Christmas. Most importantly, his parents won't let him babysit unless they are home. And they only live a few houses away.

So our babysitter showed up-- and Casey was ecstatic to have a new playmate. We started telling Casey about tonight yesterday so he wouldn't be surprised. I showed the babysitter how to operate our universal remote, we walked him through the house and told him what to do just in case Marcie woke up while we were gone. We did Marcie's bedtime routine, she went right down, and we were off.

Dinner was yummy. We were in good company (though one of our friends couldn't make it because of a stomach-bug-type-thing). And around 10pm we headed home. The babysitter had arrived at 7:30, and we would be home around 7:10pm. Our plan was for Jason to drive the babysitter back down the street and then come home.

But as we pulled up, we noticed a minivan parked in front of our house. No. No one had bought us a gift. I immediately recognized it as the babysitter's mom's car. Uh oh. I said to Jason, "Hmm. That can't be good." But in my head, I added: though the kids must be okay because there are no emergency vehicles parked out front.

As we entered the home, we saw our babysitter's mom cradling Marcie, feeding her a bottle. Marcie swung her head over, and as soon as she saw us started screaming. Poor, poor Marcie. Even more-- our poor babysitter and his mom! She hadn't been awake even 15 minutes at this point, but he called his mom because she was kind of inconsolable, and he remembered us saying she hadn't been with us long-- and he didn't want us to cut our evening short.

I feel a little bit horrible. Bad, bad mommy. What was I thinking leaving my baby girl so soon? I should have at least introduced her to the babysitter before we left the house-- just in case something like this were to happen. But she doesn't usually wake up two hours after going to bed. And we have to get out every once in a while. And it makes sense to have her at home in her own bed and not at Grandma and Grandpa's every time we want to go out without the kids.

So my point is that I know intellectually that I'm not a bad mommy. And I hope Marcie has learned from this experience that Mommy and Daddy always come back. And if nothing else, our little outing has made me insanely grateful that Marcie has spent all her time away from me and Jason with family (and Ann that one time I drove Jason's parents to the airport-- but she's kind of family anyway).

It might be a while before we hire the babysitter to hang with the kids again. He did a terrific job, but I just don't know that I can handle that kind of stress!


Anonymous said...

you have to admire your sitter's use of common sense to call his mom when the going got rough for him.

you really are too hard on yourself!

Anonymous said...

I suggest that you have your babysitter over a few times so that Marcie gets to know him and then you will be able to go out without worrying that she will wake up to a stranger. Good luck and do take some time out for yourselves!

Anonymous said...

Not an issue! His mom was just training him on what to do when that happens! And besides, crying develops their little lungs so they can yell at you more efficiently when they reach the terrible twos!