So, I thought that I had found a great babysitter. A high-school student, recommended to me by one of her teachers. I’ve met her mother. Sweet. Fiona liked her.
I hired her to come watch Fiona on Friday night. I prepped everything she would need to feed Fiona spaghetti for dinner. I made sure she knew where everything was. I told Fiona that having a babysitter was a special thing. We gave her both sets of phone numbers and told her to call us for any reason. It was just a test run. Not a big deal.
I need to add a phrase to my babysitter search.
Needed: Babysitter. Must prepare food for child, even if child says they are not hungry.
I came home at about 9:30 to an exhausted, unfed little girl.
“Well,” the well-recommended-sitter explained, “I asked a couple times if she was hungry, but she said no.”
“Okay.” I said, with remarkable restraint, “It’s a good lesson for everybody. Just so you know, toddlers say no a lot. She still needs to eat. If you put the food in front of her, she’ll usually eat. Next time you’ll know: Toddlers lie.”
“Oh!” She said. I think she was a little surprised that I wasn’t upset. “She tricked me!”
It’s a good lesson for Fiona, too. If she tells other people things, like “I’m not hungry”, she will probably be believed. It’s important to know that the words that you say to people matter.
Still, I find myself unsure of whether I will invite her back. Apart from not eating, Fiona was happy and well cared for, and she, at least, wants to have that babysitter back. Truth be told, the babysitter won’t make that mistake again, and if no one ever let us learn from our mistakes, where would we be?
Really, though, who doesn’t feed a child?