September 21, 2009

Behaving Badly for the Babysitter

My kids have been entrusted to the care of plenty of people in their short lives: grandparents, aunts and uncles, neighbors, and family friends. All of the individuals who have watched my children for short bursts of time have, up until this point, shared one common attribute: namely, they have all been adults. On Friday night, I charted new waters by asking a fourteen-year-old neighbor to babysit my three older children while my husband and I (and Cameron) went out to dinner with some good friends.

The babysitter's arrival was preceded by 45 minutes of role playing proper babysitter behavior. By the time the teenager arrived at our doorstep, my kids had practiced going to bed seventeen times.

My husband and I left the house with the hope that our children would keep their eye on the prize. If the evening passed without incident, everyone could invite a friend over to play the next day...and we'd talk about making New England Whalers for breakfast.

Just as dinner was being served, my phone rang. I could hear the problem before I was told about it. In the background, I could audibly make out a trio of gremlins swinging from the chandeliers.



"They all went to bed fine," the babysitter explained. "They just won't stay there."

I requested a conference call with Stripe and his crew. I couldn't think of any specific threat offhand, so I settled for something ambiguously scary.

"There is going to be a major problem if you get out of your beds again," I hissed and hung up the phone.

The night ended with the babysitter getting a big tip paid for out of three gremlins' allowances.

Needless to say, the next morning there were no New England Whalers.

****
Have your kids ever acted up for the babysitter? What did they do?

55 comments

Shosh said...

Uhhh...have my kids every NOT acted up for the babysitter? once when i got home, after the babysitter left, i saw she had left her email open on our computer, and she had been IMing her friend about my kids. it went something like this: "the kids im babysitting for are really wild....I put them to bed but I hear things banging upstairs..."

GoSail said...

Oh! This made me laugh out loud. I don't have kids yet, but I do recall some nightmare scenarios from when my brother and I were kids...beacause it was ME causing them! Not because I was loud and rambunctious, though. I was so shy that I was afraid of EVERYONE, including my poor, unassuming babysitter, so I would spend HOURS hiding from her! The poor girl had to traipse all over creation, indoors and out, dragging my little brother along, to find me. Twenty minutes later, I would be gone again! It haunts me to this day, and I've always wanted to look up that babysitter to apologize for any heart failure I may have caused her. Oh, the shame! ;-)

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

My kids like to LIE to babysitters. I figured this out when I found lots of candy wrappers and such the next morning. "Did you TELL the babysitter that I said you could have treats?" Silence. Guilty looks. So now I just tell the babysitter to not believe a word they say unless she heard it from me too.

{Kiki} said...

love that picture of spike the gremlin. my favorite gremlin. lil' D has ony had family members as sitters, so they are honest about any bad behavior and can handle it properly. i have trust issues and really don't trust anyone, especially teenagers {even though i started sitting at 12, and had 8 steady families by 15}. i hope to get over it someday and find a sitter. i am also too cheap. i heard sitters want like 15-20 bucks an hour. back in the late nineties I was still charging 5-10 bucks. take care.
-kiki
p.s.- i have my 1st giveaway going on over at my blog {Mama's In Time Out} today thru 9/28.

Lori said...

I once found scissors and cut my hair while being babysat. My parents came home to find the babysitter on the couch crying. When she told them what had happened, my mom's response was "Don't worry about it, she does that ALL the time." My mom wasn't even lying about that, I did do it all the time. You can tell when you look at any picture of me when I was 3-4 years old.

Mary said...

Ummm this would be completely normal behavior for children with a babysitter. Our most memorable experience would be when our daughter was about 6 and we went out for a lovely romantic dinner for our anniversary without her. We left her in the care of a neighbor who was a teen boy. During dinner, we received a call placed to the restaurant - this was before we had cell phones - with the babysitter saying our daughter had taken a bath and after leaving the tub and dressing, would not stop crying. Something about her hair, he said. Well a day or two prior to this, she had gotten her first perm (they were big back then!) and this was the first hair washing she had done since the perm. After getting out of the tub and combing her hair, it appeared the curl was gone and she dissolved into tears. I had to reassure her that the curl would reappear as it dried and that she should never, ever worry about her hair so much that she would be in hysterics over it and cause a babysitter to call me during dinner.

Guess I should have had a female babysitter.....

Marissa said...

Awesome, I am not the only one! My two oldest haven't had anything in their piggy banks for over 6 months because the second there is anything, it is paid as tips to the babysitter for their misbehavior.
One day they were being awful and I was finished so I just called the babysitter and said I need a break and am going shopping. The girls will be paying you today from their piggy banks. I don't know how much she liked being paid in all coins, but I had a nice kid free shopping break. :)

Parenting Ink said...

Funny!
I don't have any great stories, except that my kid did go on the potty for the first few times for the BABYSITTER!
My older child now knows that if she gives our babysitter trouble at bedtime, she has to go to bed BEFORE the babysitter arrives--like at 5:30 pm! That has stopped her in her tracks!

Meagan and John said...

you know most my babysitters told me that my son was ok but the point that I went through like 15-20 babysitters in 6 months leads me to believe that by ok they meant he didn't kill anybody and had actually survived their adventure--granted my mom was honest when she called and told me that she actually had to be hospitalized due to exhaustion from chasing after my son--not just once, but twice, in one week--she no longer volunteers to keep him for us

oh, and don't get me started on how he is at school--last year we got nothing but horror stories from his teacher, he was so "bad" they insisted we either medicate him or take him out of school--we agreed to disagree and he would only go to school for about 2-3 hours a day in the morning instead of all day headstart, the amazing thing is that my son is not a trouble maker, he is just amazingly active and curious and not at all shy (he once came out of the classroom bathroom with his pants at his ankles because he was still trying to get the hang of pulling up his underwear and they were tangled so he needed help pulling them up--nothing like having indecent exposure charges against a 3 yr old

CSIowa said...

My five siblings and I once managed to get the babysitter to lock himself in the bathroom until my parents came home.

Rebecca said...

My son talked our newest 14 year old babysitter into letting he and his sister play on the slip-n-slide . . . only he thought it needed lubrication. They used an entire Costco sized bottle of liquid dish detergent.
That evening when I put my son to bed he said, "I liked our babysitter today. She did EVERYTHING I told her to." My husband said nearly the same thing, "What a stupid babysitter to do everything that a 6 year old tells you to do."

Too Many Hats said...

In the kids defense, you did practice going to bed NOT staying there and you probably modeled the getting out of bed behavir by having them do it 17 times ;) My 3 yr old ran out the front door when my mil was babysitting him and my 18 month old one day. MIL wins the prize for being our worst babysitter.

Scrapingirl said...

Takeing the tip out of the kids $$ is a great idea! If ever I need it, I'll use that tip. I've been blessed to not have to use anyone but grandparents. Although they do get up 5 or 10 or 40 times to go to the bathroom. :)

Cindy said...

My 3-year old son gets CRAZY with family (aunts and uncles) babysitters. I think it's the fact that they usually spoil him (read: load him with sugar). He's realized this before they even feed him sugar, and I think it's just in the air. He takes a whiff and suddenly, he's beyond hyper.

When we left him with someone he didn't know (but we did), he was an absolute angel...unless she COMPLETELY lied to me.

A Musing Mom (Taylorclan6) said...

I finally grew my own babysitter. Saturday night was the first date EVER that we got no calls or complaints.

We hurried home. It was too quiet.

AVONLadyinSC said...

As someone who babysat nonstop in high school I have to say what your kids did was nothing to compared to what I've seen. The way I used to see it was if no one was bleeding, nothing was one fire, no one was slightly injured, and nothing was broken the night was a success. It didn't hurt that they paid me well for all 3 kids. I used to spend about an hour after the kids were sleeping cleaning up to make the area where we were hanging out spotless. They were wild but they learned. My favorite time was though when the 7 year old went through a flashing everyone phase. I had to tell the parents she was doing that and I laughed the whole time I was telling them.

Camille said...

What is a new englad whaler?

girlnblack77 said...

What?? You mean I can *pay* someone to watch my kids so the hubbie and I can go to dinner?! What a novel concept!! /sarcasm

I've never been brave enough to hire a strange kid to watch my kids. It doesn't help that we moved here 3 years ago and I don't know any teens. It also doesn't help that I can't figure out how to lock the pay-per-view/adult movies from satellite (our kids don't touch the remote). Just my luck, I'd have an irate mother calling because her child found something she shouldn't on my tv.

Bart, Jeni, Jessica, Brian and Chelsea said...

Too funny!

Question: What are New England Whalers?

Sarah said...

that is a great idea to tip the baby sitter out of the kid's allowance.

my best friend growing up was the WORST to babysit for. once he tied the babysitter up and sprayed him down with the garden hose. inside.

Meagan and John said...

the funny thing is that I have been on all ends, I was the teenage babysitter (started babysitting before I was a teenager, at the age of 9 I babysat for the people down the street) and I have been the babysatted and I have used the babysitter, so I not only remember a few things I did when I was babysatted (including trying to get my babysitter off the phone, making jello cool aide, and calling my mom at work a billion times, she was a nurse at a small town hospital and appreciated the calls to see if I could have an apple oh so much)

I babysat kids that nobody else dared babysit and I was the babysitter that left the house telling their parents the kids were good (even though they weren't always) so that they would call me again, eventually the kids were good, but the first few times they felt they needed to Haze me before they initiated me in as one of their own, then we were good.

and I have been the one that has had to apologize profusely for my son's behavior, and be understanding when the babysitter informed me they just couldn't watch my son again

and then as a parent I have discovered that I no longer get initiated as an equal, instead the hazing just continues, and I give reports to parents of how their kids really behaved, mainly cause I want them to understand why my hair is standing on end and why I look like hell--"well miss so and so I look like hell because every time I looked at your boy he screamed bloody murder for over an hour" and then the parents giggle and smile at the child, they do this because they are humiliated and don't know what to say, but by doing it they tell the child "Good Job, keep up the hard work" and then wonder why their kids continue to put me through hell (it's ok though, I banned those kids from my house a few weeks ago.

this is a little TMI but to let you all know that you all probably don't have the worst kid ever out there, I once babysat a 5 yr old little boy who proposed we should "hump" and couldn't understand why I didn't jump on the oppertunity (at the time I was 9 yrs old) to hump him, so he asked if we could just make out--after refusing him (I know I am so rude) he later asked if his friend could come over and hump him--that is when I put my foot down and told him there was going to be no humping going on while I was at the house--boy was I happy when that family moved out of town

Taryn said...

Mine have never been left with a teenage babysitter. I'm a chicken that way. They've only been left with someone other than a grandparent once. She said they were great but she's since moved from Texas to Utah. Do you think my kids had something to do with that?

Robert and Sherry Leal said...

What are New England Whalers (the food, I mean)? I googled it all I got was info. on the sports team. I'm curious--I love to try new things. (I'm a westerner by the way.)

Maria said...

My kids have generally been pretty good for the babysitters we have had thus far. At least that is what the babysitters tell us when we get home and ask how they were... :)

But my three year old had quite an incident at grandma and grandpas one night while they were watching the kids. He decided that he no longer wanted to color on the paper that was given to him, and that he instead wanted to color Grandma and Grandpa's brand new leather couch. They were not in the room while this happened, so he managed to get quite an art project going before they caught him. Luckily they were able to get it all off the couch!

becca said...

see the last few posts to read about the new england whalers, she just mentioned them a post or two back. :) Its breakfast sandwich if memory serves...

I really want to meet your kids! LOL.

livieandhermommies said...

Not my child, but children I was once babysitting, FOR THE FIRST TIME, waited until I went to the bathroom - then shut out every light in the house. Since it was already dark outside - this was NOT fun for me!

I have to ask - what are New England Whalers>????

Rocket Ma'am said...

My kids are usually really GOOD for sitters- it's like aliens take over. I think it's the novelty. Either that or those girls are lying.

Rocket Ma'am said...

After reading the comments, it seems that maybe we are the exception to the rule. Which is not to say all my sitters have had it easy- I've had a few calls because the baby threw up or the kids are in bed, but they're still talking and giggling (meh). Once I came home from being gone 4 hours to find that the 3 older ones had spent the entire time playing video or computer games and the younger 2 had napped nearly that long, while the sitter sat on the couch and read a book (how's that for $10 an hour? as for me I was just glad they were all alive and the house was still standing.) Probably just jinxed myself by saying all this.

It's a far cry from babysitting disasters when I was a kid- one night I had 4 sisters who discovered (at bedtime, when they went to raid their dad's drawers for nightshirts) that their dad had packed up and moved out (leaving behind only some shirts for them). Their two girl cousins stoked the fire by telling them he left because they were bad kids. Meanwhile their 12 yo boy cousin was being such a butt that I started a game of "I'll tie you up in the basement and time you to see how long it takes for you to escape." Yeah, I earned my $20 that night.

JAMIE said...

My 4 year old at the time, was in the basement with the babysitter, and decided to race her to the top of the stairs, and proceed to lock her in the basement. She had to wait 10 minutes for him to finally open the door for her. She called her mom, and then her sister, and both of which just laughed at her!

We still giggle about this, and we quickly disabled the lock at the top of the stairs to avoid such occurences in the future.

Post-it Note said...

Well I've been babysitting all morning so this post speaks to me. Apparently I don't have the tools to occupy children over the age of two, and that not good.

When I was a kid 3 of us used to scream at the top of our lungs and not stop no matter what the sitter said. And I hid my babysitters shoes under my bed when I was 3 and she went home crying without them. We weren't too naughty but we tried our best. My parents thought it would be great to go on a double date, and pay one babysitter to watch all of us kids, but that was a bad idea.

Stephanie said...

My husband and I went out on a RARE date one night and left a girl I *thought* was responsible and capable in charge of my 12 and 9-year-old stepkids and my three year old son. When we stepped into the house around midnight, we couldn't even hear ourselves. Every light in the house was on, the sink was full of dirty dishes, the TV was blaring, the older kids and the babysitter were laughing and chatting on the couch, and my three-year-old was yelling for someone to tackle him as he tried to run the football through the hallway. This, after I had WRITTEN DOWN all the instructions for her AND talked with her about every single one before we left. When I asked my stepson why in the name of all is holy he hadn't done what he was supposed to do, he said, "C. wouldn't go to bed....so we all stayed up." Brilliant logic. NOT. Needless to say, they got a dressing down and the babysitter hasn't seen the inside of our house ever since.

Missy said...

I thank God all the time that I have family who is always available for babysitting.

Miss Ellaneous said...

Hi Meanest Mom! I'm 14 and new to the world of official blogging. Before now, I just used to write updates. Please check out my blog by clicking my name. BTW, I didn't steal your code-name idea, when I saw it on your blog I was surprised.

I don't have kids, but I babysitted for my cousins a long time ago.... They were HORRIBLE! It ended in lots of tears and a promise from me NEVER to babysit for them again. I was supposed to get them to do their homework, and I couldn't. I think that is why my aunt and uncle asked me to do it, they couldn't either. I didn't want to accept the money because I felt that I failed as a babysitter, but my aunt told me to take it. So, I did. I will still never babysit them again though, I don't know if any amount of money is worth it.

Bethany said...

I don't have kids but I've babysat many and had a few ;) that acted up. For the most part it was at bedtime- eventually they all fell asleep, but not always when or where they were supposed to!

Makayla said...

I have a younger brother (5 years younger than me) whom I used to tend, along with the rest of my siblings. This particular brother has always had a fondness for sharp and dangerous things. One of the most eventful babysitting nights included him chasing the brother just older than him with a fork and a knife.

He now collects swords, machetes, and other sharp weapons. He's 18 now though, so I no longer have to deal with the concern of being stabbed to death. :)

Rose Belle said...

My brother babysat my 2 girls not too long ago for me and when I got back, my brother said he had to buy Harry Potter costumes online for his two nieces for Halloween because that was the only way he could get them to stay quiet to keep his sanity. I offered to pay him back but he said it was his own choosing and he refused my money. So yeah, how's that for a guilt trip? Not only did my brother refused my repayment, he also didn't want to take any money for babysitting my girls because according to him: "there shouldn't be a price tag attached when you do things for your family".

Anonymous said...

Well, I don't have kids, but I remember giving my own babysitter a hard time. Her name was Dusty. When she would come to sit with us, she spent most of the time on our phone talking to her boyfriend. He called her one night at our house, and she was in the bathroom, so I answered the phone. I promptly told him to call back as she was "sitting on the shitter"
something I had never said before, but had heard my father say many times. Later after I had gone to bed and my parents had returned home, she relayed the conversation I had with her boyfriend to my parents. My father came down and yanked me out of bed, smacked my behind and made me march upstairs to appologize. She felt so bad about getting me in trouble that she came down to say goodnight before leaving and shoved all her hard earned money under my pillow.

I accepted that as a full appology.

Michelle said...

Our babysitters never admit it if they do. We use a 15 year old high school Sophmore now which made me nervous at first but the kids like her and she is really responsible so it works.

Michelle said...

I can't believe so many parents don't go on date nights. Our marriage and my sanity would never survive without the occasional break.

Viv said...

I would be so excited to find a babysitter. Sadly, only my step son will sit for us, but, honestly he just plays video games while my 12 year old does all the work.

Felicia said...

I found your blog thru Desert Rose...funny how your title made me laugh. And also feel a little bit relieved. Yes. My 2 almost 3 year old can be a "handfull". But I know that's just a nice way of saying she can be a royal pain in the butt!

Connie said...

Almost every time I came home I'd hear from either the baby sitter or a sibling, about all the horrible things done.
BUT I can remember a time when my brother and I had a baby sitter. He took a beebee gun and shot through the screen in the front room window...several times. When my parents came home, the screen had a lot more holes in it than it did before. My parents weren't happy. Neither was my brother.

Mia said...

What's a babysitter?

Deirdre said...

The first time we paid a teenager to babysit, we went out for a quick dinner and got home before bedtime. Sitter said the kids were good. Took her home; started putting the kids to bed and realized they had trashed their rooms, including stripping their beds (right down to the mattress). DD informed us the sitter knew she did it--sitter never came back. We recently tried it again, warning the kids that if there were problems, they'd be paying for the sitter. They were good this time.

whiting family said...

When our kids were young the problem was that they loved having a babysitter too much! They would always beg us to go out so that they could have a babysitter. Once when our oldest was three my husband and I had a class to go to one night and got a babysitter. When we got there the class was cancelled and so we ended up wandering aimlessly around the mall for 2 hours, because we knew the fit our daughter would throw if we came home early!

Renny said...

As a babysitter I never called any parents, no matter how difficult the children became. I always found some angle, if it was a girl she usually wanted to be seen as cool by an older girl and so I'd tell her misbehaving was seriously uncool. If they were little kids I'd tell them they were hurting my feelings.
Its easier with your own family members. If my baby brother copped a 'tude with me I copped it right back. If he threw a tantrum, I'd mirror his actions. It drove him crazy but he'd always end up laughing. Or send himself to bed so he wouldn't have to be around me.

Stephanie said...

All of our babysitters have "lost" our number. None are brave enough to return. The last one was locked out of the house and had to go to our neighbors house to get a key, which she could not find, so they called the police. I'm sure our neighbors hate us even more. I am in the process of grooming my teenager to handle it. She will probably run away after the first time.

little rambler said...

Hmm...these comments are pretty funny. I started babysitting as a pre-teen, and have kept right on at it as an adult (even though I am married and have a Master's degree and a full time professional job). The funny thing about having done this for so long is that it's hard to believe people hire teenagers to babysit (but I can appreciate that an eighth grader probably costs half of what I do). It's been a few years (knock on wood) since I have had any exceptionally outrageous experiences but some of my favorites involved a diaperless three year old (who was headed for the bath) pooping on the back deck; a four year old chasing myself and his siblings around the house with an enormous chef's knife, which was inexplicably stored within his reach; and the time two of my charges managed to start a fire in the bathroom by throwing a koosh ball into the bathroom light fixture (that experience was truly harrowing). Anyway, for those of you who have trouble finding teens you can trust, perhaps try reaching out to the college crowd. They're usually more responsible, more likely to have a car, and probably twice as desperate for the money!

Mirinda said...

Mine usually have the fear of God put in them by my husband so normally, no problems. They will always test the waters but usually know the limit. We once had a sitter who was dumb enough to let them play a game and said the winner got to stay up late.

My kids are 4, 6 and 7. Yeah, bright idea. Needless to say the 7 year old won and they 6 year old was so upset she finally had to call us to come home because he FLIPPED OUT about not staying up late and could not be calmed down. Genius girl, that one...

I think it depends on the sitter. We've weeded out all the wussies. LOL

coll4040 said...

I hired a babysitter for my youngest son Alex and just about every day, I would receive a phone call at work from him or the babysitter. I ended up writing a non-fiction book "Mom, I Fired The Babysitter" about Alex and his babysitter.

amysue said...

my kids are always good for babysitters, in fact they prefer them to me.

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

Uh, my youngest son did not want to stay in bed so he kicked the babysitter and told her he was going to stab her in the head.

Yes, we've discussed it with him.

No, we're never calling her again. I am too ashamed!

The Snow Family said...

I have three boys 6 and under and they would literally hold on to my legs as I left for date night. It got so bad, i found one hiding in the back of my van as i pulled out of the garage one evening to go meet my husband for a much needed adult dinner. That is when I introduced the Mommy Fairy. She only comes when we have babysitters and she leaves a little surprise under the pillows of children who go right to bed. The sitter always reports back. And the sitters love the 'mommy fairy too'. It's a win win. Give it a try! I guess it would have to be the 'meanest mommy fairy' so maybe you could leave dental floss??

The Bus Driver said...

as a babysitter myself, i've done a few things that would make parents cringe and pull their hair out.

Most of my clients were good families, they loved me and i enjoyed babysitting for them. I did have the experience of getting locked out of a house and having to call my parents for help. I also had the experience of getting sprayed with a hose and drenched and having to call my mother for a change of clothes.

But two of the most memorable babysitting incidents happened when i was much older and more experienced.

1. I was asked to babysit for a couple who had children who were way too old for babysitters (the oldest boy was 13 or 14 and the youngest was like 10.) I had upped my rate as i was older (i think i had charged like 7 bucks an hour)
These parents only wanted to pay a measly 3 bucks an hour. by the time they had asked me i was already getting between 5-7 dollars an hour regularly. anyhoo, the father of the boys drove me home that night and gave me a lecture as he careened down the hill on the way to my house about how i should be cleaning toilets and bathrooms with how much i was charging to babysit his kids. and i was thinking my god find someone else to babysit your cheap ass kids.

2. I babysat for an aunt and uncle on new years eve/newyears day while they went out and partied that night. The catch was i ended up with like 8 kids under my supervision (i was told it would be about 5) BOTH sets of parents didnt want to pay me more than 3 dollars an hour.. i negotiated for 6 .. from each parent. then proceeded to load their kids with sugar before they got home, and peacefully drove home at 1:30 am knowing the kids were hell on wheels by that time full of sugar.

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