• The two small ones, currently aged eight and six, were in my care for more than thirteen hours yesterday. Well, no, in the interest of complete and total honesty, they were explicitly in my care for 11 hours. I left them with a sitter between the hours of 5 and 7pm, whilst I walked to work, worked, and then returned home. Having sisters so much younger than myself, I enjoy the privilege of being both sister and third parent to the pair. However, the entire concept of leaving them with a sitter was almost too much for my summer brain to handle. There are several reasons for this:
1) Who. By definition of the word, I am the sitter. I care for the children when my parents are unable to do so. Who, therefore, could I possibly call on to support my own sitting needs? Thankfully, the Mother, with her bountiful connections, texted two hours prior to inform me that a young man by the name of Bryan would be caring for the dynamic duo in my absence. So when a man came to the front door claiming to be Bryan, I let him in.
2) Leaving. It is my personal legacy, when walking to work, to loiter aimlessly around the house until the last possible moment, then spend the first seven minutes of my now-fast walk whining to myself about my pitiful lack of a car, wondering why none of the strangers driving past are telepathically sensing my woe and offering me a ride, and generally wilting under the hot sun. Thankfully, it’s a short walk. But yesterday. So I’m puttering around the house, while the girls are already giving Bryan a crash course in their current favorite card game, and I suddenly realize that I have no idea how to leave them with a sitter.
- Do I kiss the girls goodbye, tell them I’ll be back soon? Do I just slip out the door? (I told them repeatedly that I would be back soon, then slipped out)
- Do I leave emergency contact? (He has my mother’s number, and it’s also plastered to the microwave)
- Do I offer them food? I know from personal experience that a sitter judges a job by the amount and quality of food offered them. I dare not offend Bryan by failing to offer nourishment. (I pointed out the humus in the fridge, pita on the counter. Then went back into the kitchen and put four more options on the counter. Including an entire box of Mac’n'Cheese)
- And the mother of all sitting questions: Do I Pay Bryan the Sitter? (The mother left me with $20 for the sitter, then informed me that it would not be necessary to pay him. I pocketed the cash and she hasn’t asked for it yet. She will now though.)
3) Returning. I came back after work to find the eight-year-old demonstrating her ability to hide under my parents’ bed, while the 6-year-old, in a purple princess dress, hung amiably on Bryan’s arm. I greeted the trio, of whom Bryan’s welcoming nod was the most recognition I received, and then proceeded to the kitchen, where I learned that they had been so involved in their fun that they had eaten absolutely nothing. I began preparing the Mac’n'Cheese, while simultaneously giving subtle hints that I had officially arrived home, and Bryan was free to leave at any point. I, of course, being the kind and polite individual that you imagine me to be, did not wish to rush his departure, but I did desire to communicate that his stint as caregiver had come to a close, his assistance was greatly appreciated, and the little princesses were no longer holding him hostage.
Twenty minutes later, with much thanks (on my part) and waving (on the part of the girlies) we bid Bryan adieu, and the girls ate Mac’n'Cheese by candle light (only fitting for children wearing miniature princess gowns) and I sat down to scroll through Instagram until Bed Time.