I've been going round and round about the difference in a nanny and a babysitter and, as best I can figure, a babysitter is a random, occasional sitter while a nanny is a routine, scheduled sitter. By this definition, I am both.
That's right friends, when I realized I'd have lots of time on my hands this semester, I knew I'd have to do something. I applied to be a cake decorator (no word yet and, um, no experience to speak of) and I also went back to my old roots from when I lived in Durham before: hanging with the babies. I could've stayed home and simply planned elaborate dinners for B & myself, but then we would've been overweight and Vitamin D deprived, which isn't good for anybody.
I decided to put myself out there and asked my sweet sister to let her friends know. She did me one better, letting her classmates at UNC as well as her parenting group at church know that I was around and available to hang out with the kiddos if anyone needed some help.
Boy, did they.
By the end of the week, I'd booked a few people to meet with. By the end of two weeks, I had a full schedule:
Mondays- 7:30-1:30 (10 month old); 3-5 ( 7 month old)
Tuesdays- 2-6 (4th & 7th grader)
Wednesdays- 7:30-1:30 (10 month old); 3-5 ( 7 month old)
Fridays- 9:45-12:15 (14 month old)
Plus I'm sitting for a family with a 4 month old and another with two kids, ages "almost three" and one-and-a-half. It's nuts! I've told B that, for better or worse, I'm working harder than I have in years. Granted, this is a very very different kind of work. Instead of being creative with my writing and finding fun stories to feature, I'm finding fun books to read, making up stories and dances, making lunches, doing the happy baby bouncing dance, enjoying naps, singing songs, and counting, naming, and identifying color for everything under the moon.
You know what? I love it. I love hanging on the floor with them, building towers, playing cars, decorating doll houses, coloring pictures, and being covered with goldfish dust and puffs.
That said, I'm also thrilled to come home. It's the best job I've had yet. I go on walks (which makes everybody happy), hang with kids, watch bad TV during nap time, then come home with a little extra cash, a little exercise completed, and a true excited happiness to see B.
I'm still getting settled into the new routine (as those of you who know me might imagine-- 7:30 AM!!) and finding the kinks (favorite blankies and insane animals). So far my tips for parents with sitters are few but firm.
1- Tell me if you have pets. I love dogs but was still surprised to find them at two of the houses I visit.
2- Tell me how I can help you. Want texts? Photo texts? Updates? Let me know. I can do them!
It's been fun and I'm learning, and also doing more laundry. "Work clothes" are now clearly defined and relegated to the laundry basket as soon as I get home!