Saturday, September 13, 2008

:: :: soon i'll be telling them how to walk up stairs :: ::

When the babysitter arrives, Evan and I are upstairs just barely through a diaper-rash-induced wrestling match that ended in a frazzled mommy and a somber little boy with a sore bum. I call down for her to come on in and we meet her at the bottom of the stairs where I basically tell her, “Here’s Evan. He’s sleepy. He’ll probably want to play for another half an hour and then go up to bed. You can put him in his crib awake — you don’t need to rock him or anything because he likes to put himself to sleep.”

I run through the quick spiel: phone numbers, make yourself at home, eat whatever you want even though we don’t have much, etc. etc. standard babysitter speech.

And then I have to tell her the things I’m slightly embarrassed to tell her. Like how to operate the gate into Evan’s room (it’s far too high to step over, but I’ve had babysitters tell me they couldn’t figure out how to open it so they had to climb over it which would be quite difficult… so I actually take the babysitter up to show her how to open it).

“Also,” I add, embarrassed to be telling her this. “You can close his door when you put him to bed so that you can listen to the TV at a volume audible to humans.” I just assumed sitters would close his door (we have a monitor, people) but time and time again we’ve come home to find his door open and the sitter cowering in front of the TV with a glass to her ear like Lucille Ball trying to hear what Blonde-Haired Leading Lady is telling Chiseled-Chin Leading Man.

As I tell this particular babysitter these things, she looks at me like, “Yeah. I’ve kind of done this before” and I look at her like, “Yeah, but you wouldn’t believe the dumb things babysitters do” and she looks back at me like, “Seriously. We’ll be fine. I know what I’m doing” and I look back at her like, “I’m not worried about Evan or anything. I’m sure you’re fully capable of playing with my child and not injuring him or allowing him to injure himself but things I would have thought were common sense have turned out not to be common sense and so I just thought I’d pass on my wisdom” and she looks at me like, “you’re old.”

So what did she do when she put Evan to bed?

She left his light on. Like, his light. Not a nightlight or anything. A lamp. And it was on all night because when we got home we were so tired from being out at a party with graduate students who (gasp!) still live in the city and still party and still think we’re cute for leaving at 10 to relieve our babysitter when they are headed in cabs to a club to hear some live music that we didn’t look in on Evan and so didn’t discover the Great Light Debacle of 2008 until morning. Even when Evan woke at 1:30 AM and started talking like it was morning we murmured something like “not crying” and then “nothing we can do” and then Brian turned the volume down on the monitor and we went back to sleep, naive to the light-party Evan was having in his own room across the hall.

And now I have to add that to my list of “things I know I probably don’t have to tell you but…”