Babysitting, Date Night and the Art of Romance

I eagerly anticipated my son’s 12th birthday. Of course, I was sad to see my little boy grow up, but I was excited that he could become our resident babysitter. John is very responsible and trustworthy, and almost never locks his sisters in the bathroom.

You see, we had paid for 12 years of babysitting. Over the years fees have skyrocketed to almost $20 an hour and this was putting a damper on our date nights. When you factor in the sitting fees on top of dinner and a movie (and absolutely forget it if you want popcorn and a drink), things were getting out of hand. Yes, I was beginning to think we no longer could afford romance.

But, hurrah! John turned 12 this summer and we began to groom him for his next career: sibling management. Our biggest expectation was that his siblings were still alive when we returned home. Afterall, that was pretty much what we expected from our professional sitters–unfortunately, that’s about all you get for your 20 bucks around here.

Considering he’s a boy scout and has earned his first aid badge, he’s actually more qualified in some ways than our previous sitters, too. We went over the rules and expectations. We made a checklist and gave him bed times and chores that needed to be done. He had his trusty list of phone numbers and was briefed on dialing 911.

When he sits, we don’t go far. Maybe to the local movie theater or a nearby restaurant (we’re talking one or two blocks). The girls have consistently been alive and well-cared for upon our return. I even found myself daydreaming about the day that we might be able to go away for the weekend. I knew this was years in my future, but a girl can dream.

Well, a girl can dream until she is watching The Real Housewives of Orange County. In this particular episode, the mom and dad were going for a night away, but had to have the grandma come and watch their 16 and 18 year olds so that they didn’t get into trouble. This is where I begin to bang the remote control against my head.

What? I have to hire babysitters when my kids are 18? What? This means I only have a few years of sitter fee freedom? The world is a cruel, cold, confusing place. I have so much to learn.

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