Hide-and-Go-Seek a Babysitter

One of the best things about being a stay-at-home parent is all the time I have with my kids.  Farrah Star and I amble for hours after dropping Arlo off at school, just as Arlo and I ambled for hours around Bermuda.  Farrah hasn’t met a stoop that doesn’t need her bottom on it for a couple of minutes or a dog that doesn’t need his whiskers pulled.  There is no wrought-iron gate within a 10-block radius that doesn’t have her fingerprints all over it.  We amble and I am happy to watch her explore on her terms and with no agenda of my own.

One of the worst things about being a stay-at-home parent is all the time I have with my kids.  Without getting into the Why Attachment Parenting, WHY? or Why, Moving Again, WHY?, I’ll just state the obvious: I need help.  During our last week in Madison, Farrah played with a beloved babysitter for two and half hours – her previous record (with anyone) was 25 minutes.  This signals to me that at 18 months she has the power to play with others – just not the impetus.  I think it’s time.

During yesterday’s ambling I heard the tapping of a hammer down an alley and well, sometimes that’s all it takes to steer us in a direction.  We came across a young boy building a fort.


This surprised the hell out of me – wouldn’t it you?  I mean I know kids aren’t always on screens but this wasn’t a “just go outside and do something for an hour willya?”, this was a long-term project.  I then saw two girls run out of that same driveway and into a play yard so of course we followed them.

You wouldn’t believe what they did.  The three of them played hide-n-seek.  They climbed trees.  They did gymnastics on the high bar.  They chased each other and threw a ball around.


I was amazed. They played so easily together and were so happily active I just knew I had stumbled upon our new babysitter in the eldest girl.  My heart raced.  We ambled down this alley for a reason!  For years I would tell this story and my kids would glow in the memory of how they met their beloved caregiver/best friend.  I rode that euphoric/delirious wave right up to that girl and asked her in my most desperate, broken French – “Do you live here?  Vous-habitez au Montreal? Is that your sister and brother?  Ta souer et ton frere?” She shook her head.  Oh god.  What?  Wait.  “Oh, you are um…visiting?”  “Oui, veeseet.  Coozanns.”

Oh god.

Lisa wept.

I have a dream that one day I will find a babysitter and it won’t be via craigslist or a fee-based online subscription service.  When it comes to finding someone to be with my kids, I hope it comes to me organically – a click, a feeling in my gut or as a witness to someone being amazing without knowing I’m there taking notes.

Teach my child to build a fort or climb a tree and I’ll put you through college.  I’m out there looking for you.  I’m the smiling, overwrought mom pulling a pebble out of her toddler’s mouth.  Nice to meet you.


2 thoughts on “Hide-and-Go-Seek a Babysitter

  1. I have four kids, oldest aged eight and the youngest aged one. This is why I have never had a babysitter. It’s so hard to come across just the right ones!


  2. Pingback: Charles and Éléonore | Black Panty Salvation

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