I wasn’t ten minutes down the road before I (pulled over and then) sent a text message:
“Plz be careful around the cat – she scratches. And help yourself to any food!”
(I find that exclamation marks keep things light and cheery. Like, “Nope, no neurosis here!”)
A few minutes later it occurred to me I should call and just let her know that although I set out a fork and spoon, Alice doesn’t really need them – she can eat her dinner with her hands. I worried about this all the way to the Bay Bridge – about how Alice would take her chicken and carrots.
Oh, and P.S., she likes to pull the magazines down from the rack, and that’s totally fine. You can let her. And don’t worry about cleaning it up. Don’t worry about cleaning anything up.
Also, she likes to wear all her bows at once, so you guys could do that if you run out of other ideas.
And here’s one more emergency number. Just in case.
But I didn’t call. Just the one text.
It was tough.
I don’t know that I ever had a babysitter. Not in the usual sense, anyway. There was always family taking care of me.
There isn’t that here.
There are friends – and they have stepped in angelically to watch Alice a few times – and offered more. But it doesn’t seem really fair to rely on them that way. Maybe I’m wrong about that. I don’t know.
We felt like we should have a babysitter. It took me a long time to come around.
I was a youngish teen when I started taking care of infants, and I pulled it off capably, I think. The babies in question seem to have grown into really neat people. I cannot take credit for that. I just mean that the time they spent under my inexperienced supervision couldn’t have slowed or scarred them much.
And even though:
It’s not like we found this babysitter wandering in the alley or something. Obviously. References. First-aid training. We had her over for a trial run a couple of weeks ago (David did some yardwork while she played with Alice and I was at work).
She’s great, of course.
But still. But anyway.
A friend asked me to help her shop for a wedding gown in San Francisco. I had to leave the house before David got home from work. I took a breath and decided to call the sitter.
David tells me that when he got home, he found them working on a puzzle.
He sent a picture to my cell phone and wrote: “Proof of life.”
He knows me really well.