Monday, May 21, 2007
Trials & Tribulations of Hiring a Sitter
The time had come for us to finally break down and hire a sitter. Snuggle Bug is 2 years and 4 months old and, up until now, he'd never been watched by anyone other than family or very close friends who have children of their own (not to mention that he's a stay-at-home kid). We've been spoiled in that respect, absolutely trusting those who have watched Snuggle Bug and not having to pay any money.

The Motivating Factor
When we signed up for the 10 weeks of PS-MAPP classes that we have to attend each Thursday night from 6-9 p.m., we realized that it would be a tough sell to get a family member or close friend to make that huge of a time commitment for us. So we started asking around to find Snuggle Bug's first babysitter.

The Choice
I didn't realize it'd be so hard to find someone that comes highly recommended and that is available on a consistent basis. We were striking out right and left, until some dear friends of ours mentioned that they had a cousin who was really good with kids and would probably be available. The catch? He's only 15 years old and because he can't drive we'd have to pick him up and take him home.

Looking back, I was only 12 years old when I first started babysitting, but that was in a very small town and girls are more mature at that age than boys, right?

The Interview
I was a bit apprehensive exploring this avenue but we were running out of options and we trusted our friend, so Oronzo and I requested that we meet this young man in a public place where Snuggle Bug could play with him and get to know him while we observed their interactions.

We met Cody in the nearby mall play area. Our friend, his older cousin, also met us and so did Cody's mom.

Cody is 6' and handsome with an engaging smile and a gentle demeanor. In no time, he had Snuggle Bug playing "catch me" with him while Oronozo and I sat and chatted with Cody's mom and our friend. We really got a good feel from Cody's mom. It was clear that she was raising her son to be a responsible young man.

The Payment
When we discussed the price of Cody's baby sitting service with Cody's mom, we had no idea what hourly rate to pay him, so we asked Cody's mom what she would recommend. She told us $5/hour was plenty for Cody. I thought that was a bit low, I'd heard other parents being charged $7+/hour, but Cody's mom felt that was a fair wage for her son. We agreed to it but I decided to supplement his cash payment with food. What growing teenage boy doesn't like eating, right? We told Cody we'd feed him dinner every time he babysat and when I discovered he has a sweet tooth, I told him I'd bake him goodies from time to time.

The First Night
Last week was the first time we tried Cody. Oronzo went and picked him up while I got pizza ordered for dinner and Snuggle Bug bathed for bed.

Cody was ready and waiting for Oronzo when he arrived. They had a nice chat on the way over. Since we had requested to get him about 45 minutes earlier than we really needed him, I had plenty of time to walk him through the house and share instructions and then we were all able to sit down and eat dinner before we left.

Cody brought a set of small red foam balls and he did magic tricks for us at dinner. Snuggle Bug was enthralled! When it came time for us to leave, Snuggle Bug barely gave me a hug because he was too interested in playing with Cody.

The Conflict
It was hard paying attention in class last Thursday. I couldn't help but wonder how things were going at home. When we had our first break, I reached for my cell phone to call and check on Snuggle Bug (Cody had brought his own cell phone and we had programmed each other's phone numbers into our phones) but Oronzo stopped me. He reminded me that I'd be calling during the time that Cody was probably putting Snuggle Bug down for bed and that'd be disruptive. I didn't care and told Oronzo I wanted to call anyway. Oronzo thought I was being paranoid and he snatched my phone away and put it in his pocket.

The minute class was over, I wasted no time chatting. I made a beeline for our car and forced Oronzo to hurry home.

The Results
We came home to find Snuggle Bug tucked safely in bed, fast asleep. Cody reported that after dinner they took a walk around the block (Snuggle Bug loves being outside) and then came back in and played. Snuggle Bug requested to watch "Nemo" and he fell asleep curled up against Cody on the couch at 7:45 p.m. Cody woke him up to change his diaper, put his jammies on, and brush his teeth. He said Snuggle Bug willing went to bed and fell right to sleep.

We found out from Cody that his parents had called and checked on him and when he made mention that his cell phone battery was almost dead, his mom drove over and brought his charger. She didn't want to risk us calling and not being able to reach him and becoming frantic with worry. How nice is that?!

So, all was well. Our baby survived his first paid babysitter and so did we. Cody had a good time too. He said Snuggle Bug was easy and he'd baby-sit any time we needed him. He pocketed the $25 Oronzo paid him, smiling sheepishly as he did so.

The Questions
I'm curious, when did you hire your child's first paid babysitter? How old was the sitter? How much do you pay your sitter?

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5:29 AM
14 comments


14 Comments:
At 7:05 AM, Anonymous chelle said...

Wow! I hope our first time leaving the kids with a sitter goes that well!

Congrats on making it! I so would have wanted to call to check in too!

 
At 7:19 AM, Blogger Jada said...

I'm glad you had a great first babysitter experience. If I lived close to you, I'd babysit for free. LOL I do that for my friends, sisters, and folks at church. I know for some, paying for a babysitter if the parents want to go out to dinner and a movie, makes it a very expensive evening. Just my way of helping out. And it lets me use my maternal instincts since I don't have kiddos of my own.

I'll be praying for your 2nd adoption. I think it's wonderful that you can give children a safe and loving home. You and your husband sound like amazing people. How wonderful!

~Jada

 
At 7:22 AM, Blogger Marcia said...

OW, congratulations on making it through in one piece!

Cody sounds like such a nice young man and clearly he and Snuggle Bug got on well!

We don't have kids yet and I'm in SA so there is no point in the babysitting fees....... :)

 
At 9:29 AM, Blogger Joyful Days said...

My boys first babysitter was 12 but she watched them at her parents house. Her parents & brothers were there too. So the boys didn't miss me!! This was when Boo was about 18 mos.

The next babysitter was shortly after. A wonderful young college age girl, she had reading and activities planned. I was gone about an hour and Boo threw up all over her. She didn't call me--I called her to check & felt so bad I came home leaving dh at the activity.

Since then (several moves later) the boys have only had family or a very dear friends of ours watch them. We've been fortunate not to have to have sitters often.

Glad you found someone like Cody. Sounds like a mature young man.

 
At 11:26 AM, Blogger Chaotic Mom said...

I agree with you that 5/hour seems low. I was 13 making 10.00 an hour and I paid my way thru college making 15+. I had families that would leave their children for week long trips (don't ask how much they paid)....I was the babysitter that everyone fought over...then I grew up, got married, had kids and realize why they paid me so much...if you find someone you trust who is good with your kids you have to treat them right to stick around! We moved recently and we still haven't been able to find "The One" but we pray over it constantly! My sister-in-law is much younger (18) and she is happy with 3/hour, I tell her to demand more.

It is great you found a boy too to watch your boy, it will be good for him!

Keep us posted on how the classes are going.

 
At 11:57 AM, Blogger Munchkin Land said...

Oh wow, you brave, brave woman! =) I'm very lucky in that I have built in babysitters in the form of sisters, grandparents, parents, cousins, and coworkers. So far, I haven't had to pay a dime (with the exception of our daily care.) Your babysitter sounds absolutely divine and I'm so glad your first night away went well!!

 
At 12:44 PM, Blogger The Wooden Porch said...

Like you, we also live near family--both sets of parents and one of Hubs married siblings. So far we haven't had to hire out sitting, but we've come close! I'm glad it's all working out well for you. He sounds like a wonderful young man!

 
At 5:08 PM, Blogger Carey said...

My kids are 12,8,5, and 2. and i have never hired a paid sitter. I was always to nervous to do so, and my mom was always willing to watch them, and still is.
Congrats to you on this big step. Ill be praying for you and hubby.r for peace and comfort during these next weeks, and i pray for your son and sitter that all continues to go well.

 
At 7:06 PM, Blogger Cookie's Mom said...

Wow, you are truly blessed to have found such a great and responsible sitter! Cookie's first sitter was one of my husband's former graduate students - a 20-something single woman who looks 13, and just knows how to talk to Cookie. It has worked out really, really well. We have season b-ball tickets, and end up trading many for babysitting - we'd rather a romantic night out now anyway!

 
At 7:59 PM, Blogger abebech said...

We'd rarely had a paid babysitter for little bun before Miss I came home, and once she did, we weren't ready to go out (all over again). So make sure some of these evenings are dates!
But the first time we used someone new, we had her watch little bun and a friend at home while we had a gathering that included friend's parents. It was a great way to ease into it for me though it was certainly more challenging for her (how to keep little bun and friend entertained, then how to get them settled down, with a party downstairs, and he was already 3!)

 
At 8:07 PM, Anonymous Seansmuhma said...

I"m enjoying your blog! (and after yesterday's post I won the Baby Legs!Thanks!!). How fun that you have a BOY babysitter for your son!.. I hope my boys babysit, my oldest (now 8) would be GREAT. So far, my neice usually babysits. She's 13 but knows my kids and our house.. I pay LOW, like $3/hr. (but more if I leave the baby too!)

 
At 7:56 AM, Blogger Guinevere Meadow said...

I have a 6-month old and like you, have only had family or close friends babysit him. I'm up for a part-time job at a local preschool this coming schoolyear, and we're trying to figure out what to do! Your experience has made me feel a bit better!

 
At 2:49 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

glad to hear your first experience w/finding a babysitter went so well! Sounds like he and snuggle bug really hit it off - that must ease your mind so much!

 
At 12:27 AM, Blogger pengie said...

My son was a few months old when I hired my first sitter for him, but I was home doing some work and couldn't watch him at the same time. I found my first few sitters through teen children of my dh's coworkers. Later sitters I found through my church.

 

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Name: Overwhelmed

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It wasn't supposed to work this way...Parts 1 through 10

(the story of the private, domestic adoption of our son)


(Part 1)
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(Part 6)
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Fostering isn't for the faint of heart!

(our journey to adopt again through foster-to-adopt, the good, the bad, & everything in between)


Adoption #2- considering the State
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Family Foster Home Licensing Prep Checklist
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