Posted by: laughs4dads | February 3, 2010

The Guide to Babysitters, Part II

Forget about the old stereotype of the father driving to a secluded spot for a quickie with the gorgeous baby sitter.  You don’t want a gorgeous baby sitter.  If the girl is gorgeous, she’s got better things to do on Saturday nights.  And there’s something about a gorgeous girl that makes you not want to trust her with your baby, as if she’s likely to peroxide the kid’s hair while you’re gone.

There’s also a problem with college students.  They have this thoroughly annoying habit of leaving town and going home whenever school is not in session.  Some of them live in faraway places like Virginia, and it’s difficult to pick them up and still get out in time for a 7:50 movie.

What you do want is a sitter with her own car.  This is so important, we actually once gave a car to our favorite sitter.  It was an elderly car that maybe would have fetched $500 as a trade-in.  It’s value to us as our babysitter’s car was far greater.   It improves your quality of life so much when you don’t have to drive the sitter home after an evening out.  It also improves the quality of your sitter’s life; she can go out partying after you return for your 11PM bedtime.

We gave the car to a local high school girl named Karen, who had been sitting for Casey since she was 12 years old (Karen, not Casey).  If only we could have given her the car then.

I liked Karen immediately because, the first time I drove her home, she recommended some music she thought I’d like: James Taylor.  (“He’s mellow,” she told me.)

Karen was also a rarity in that she didn’t sit because she had nothing better to do; she wasn’t ugly, she was just greedy.  She babysat because she was a responsible young woman who liked to make as much money as she could.  She may even have been investing her baby sitting money in options, because she now lives in a truly spectacular house with her husband and three kids of her own.

Casey adored Karen to the point where Barb and I started getting a complex.  When Karen arrived, Casey immediately turned to us and said, “Bye,” gave us kisses and sent us on our way.  Once, she even told Barbara she was forgetting her purse.  It made us wonder exactly what Karen and Casey did while we were gone.

But don’t get the idea that we were worriers.  Sure, in case of emergencies, we’d leave a phone number where we would be, the numbers of a few neighbors, the police and fire departments, and some close relatives, but we didn’t call in constantly or spend the evening saying, “Do you think she’s all right?”

Some of our friends, however, did.  You know the type: the people who are reluctant to use sitters in the first place.  They are over-protective.  They run to their child the moment he or she starts crying, they run to the doctor at the first sniffle, and they refuse to let their kid ride on the roof of their car.   These people are foolish.  You simply have to have some time to yourselves, and you just have to watch out for the clearance signs on low overpasses.

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