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February 1, 2007 / Maleesha Kovnesky

Babysitters and Why I Fear The Whole Idea

We don’t get out much anymore. 

Part of the reason for this is that it is pretty difficult to do any extracurricular anything with a toddler.  I am okay with this.  My parents did not subject restaurant patrons or movie-goers to me when I was a toddler, lest a screaming fit ensue, and I am not going to either.  Sometimes when Grandma or Auntie can watch the Boy, we get out of the house.  Those two are only local babysitters I trust.  

Sure, some of my friends say “I know a really reliable teenager, you know, a friend of a friend.”  Or the ol’, “I bet you could drop the Boy off at so and so’s house for a couple of hours.”  And deep down, I know that things would be fine if I chose to use these referred babysitters.  But I don’t – at least not yet.  Not until the Boy is old enough to give me a play by play of the entire night. 

There are good reasons for this.  The reasons are the traumatic memories of my own babysitters of yore.  Now here comes a really long blog about those hired hands who contributed to my screwed-up childhood. 

The first babysitter in my memory is Mrs. Holt.  She was perfect.  She was an old lady who liked to crochet and read about tomatoes from an Ortho manual.  Mrs. Holt would join me as I pinned a towel around my neck and pretended to be a bird.  If only I had the foresight then to appreciate the sight of an elderly woman standing on the couch flapping her arms like an eagle.  Mrs. Holt was like the grandma I never had…or more accurately, the grandma who didn’t live a thousand miles away.

It was all downhill from there. 

Mrs. Holt’s replacement was a lady – I don’t remember her name – with long, dark hair and coke bottle glasses.  She was mean for no reason.  When she came to the house, there was no more bird role-playing.  She had to bring her daughter, who was my age, along with her for some reason.  So at least I had a “friend” to play with.  This would have been okay, had this girl not been a total psycho.  She liked to, in child psychology terms, act out.  And when she acted out, we both got severely punished (i.e. whipped and yelled at) even though I was too shy to even talk to anyone, back in those days.  I didn’t have to be anywhere near this girl, I would still get in trouble just the same.  This lady was all about the screaming and the threats.  I don’t remember much else other than I was pretty sad that Mrs. Holt wasn’t there anymore.  I was four, so I have no idea what happened there. 

Then we moved to town.

The first babysitter I remember from these early days in town was “Gramma Gigi” and you can read about here in a previous rant.  Whew, I bet the ghost of Gramma Gigi still haunts half of the kids who were subjected to her. 

Then for whatever reason we got to stop going to Gramma Gigi’s house and instead my mom found a “reliable daughter of her friend”, who I will just call “S.S.”  S.S. was thirteen.  I was eleven.  I didn’t particularly want this babysitter, but my mom felt more comfortable having a slightly older kid around.  You know, incase of emergencies.

The thing about S.S. was that she was the emergency.  Immediately after my mom would leave, the snakebites (some of you might remember them as Indian burns) would begin.  She would sit on my little brother if he didn’t fetch her cans of Pepsi in an expedient manner.  When I tackled her in response, she’d grab us and lock us both in the hall closet.  Man, I hated her.   That summer, S.S. started inviting her 16 year old boyfriend, and all of his friends over.  S.S. promised us that if we told on her, we were pretty much going to die.  And we believed her. 

Thank goodness for aging.  Sooner or later we didn’t need babysitters anymore. 

These are some of the reasons that I don’t do babysitters, that is unless they are somehow related in blood, marriage, or spirit.  Every time I hear the word sitter, I have to rub my wrists, because I can still feel the snakebites inflicted by the evil S.S.   

Karmic forces pretty much guarantee that S.S. is now three times divorced and collecting welfare from her double wide, but that doesn’t make me feel better. 


Leave a Comment
  1. Nicole / Jul 25 2008 1:24 pm

    I am in the SAME BOAT! I am just accustomed to having our daughter with us at all times – so movies are out of the question (although I hear there are now cry-rooms). I am soooo paranoid someone might hurt her that I would rather miss out on some outtings for now and ensure she is safe. Hang in there!

    Yes, it’s so not worth it to me. I look at it this way…in about four more years, I’ll have a TON of cheap DVDs to rent because I’m sure I won’t see most of them before then! If I found a really good babysitter that had a ton of recommendations, that would change. Plus my son is getting old enough to be able to “narc.”

  2. cherikooka / Feb 4 2007 5:25 pm

    I totally don’t blame you! I was the same way with Kegan.


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