Never underestimate the powers of a girl whose night out in NYC has been cruely ripped from her grasp. I checked in with a friend on the way to the city, and she relayed the bad news: stomach flu had felled our babysitter. I shook my fist and cursed the darkness, then picked up my cell phone and started flipping through namesâ€”who would know a babysitter? Karen, friend and sitter extraordinaire, is getting married in two weeksâ€¦I tried anyway. She (rightly) mocked me, but at least we got to chat. Debi wasnâ€™t home. I tried Keara at her office, and an unfamiliar voice answered.
â€œOhâ€”did I call her at home by mistake?â€
â€œYes, but thatâ€™s ok. Iâ€™ll tell her you called.â€
â€œNo, waitâ€”are you the babysitter?â€
The rest, as they say, is history. Assuming all goes well, weâ€™ll have two hours to prowl the bookstores, have a drink, and whatnot before meeting Kath at Fleur de Sel.
Do I feel guilty about dumping my kids off on a stranger? Well, other than the fact that after four days of being barfed on by one and nagged and clung to over the misery of losing my attention from the other, Iâ€™d have left them with the neighborâ€™s Labrador retriever, ok, a bit. No concern at all over Dionne the pinch-hitterâ€”Kearaâ€™s checking-out powers are more than good enough for me. That takes care of my usual reluctance to just get a babysitter from a hotel. But when Sam was a baby I found it hard, if not impossible, to leave him somewhere where he felt uncomfortable, and Iâ€™ve found thatâ€™s pretty much melted away. Heâ€™s not shy. He LIKES most babysitters, and I try to leave something fun for them to do (weâ€™ll probably pick up a treat in a toystore for tonight). Lily is at the uncomfortable, I donâ€™tâ€™ know whatâ€™s going on stageâ€”but she has Sam, and that makes a huge difference. Itâ€™s kind of an unexpected bonusâ€”one area where two is actually easier than one. I saw a woman at the museum the other day with what looked like three kids under five, saying â€œWhat a good idea. I never think about having a play date!â€ and her companion replied â€œWell, they ARE a playdate.â€
Postscript: the babysitting went far better than I deserved. A good time was had by all. I may reconsider those random hotel babysitters in the future.
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