Sitter situation / by Susie Lubell

Here's the deal. I had bronchitis and then we went to New York for a week for my cousin's wedding and to visit my in-laws who flew in from Israel for my husband's grandmother's ninety-fifth birthday. So that's why I've been MIA. And now I have all kinds of stories stored up in my head. Where to begin...

Let's go back a few weeks to July 26th when I meant to write about going to see the John Mayer concert with my husband and brother and sister-in-law. Great show. We don't often go out because getting a babysitter is such an ordeal. The last time we got one the babysitter called from her train in San Francisco because there was a fatality somewhere on the southbound line and she was stuck so we had thirty minutes to find a back-up before we needed to leave for our friends' wedding in a town an hour away. I scrambled and managed to find the friend of our old babysitter. When we left my son he was basically having a seizure, beside himself with grief that we were leaving him with a perfect stranger. I can hardly blame him. But still, did he have to be so dramatic?

Where was I? Yes, John Mayer. He is a tasty little morsel I must say. So we told my brother to get us tickets and I set up our usual babysitter who is lovely and sweet, but not the sharpest cheddar in the refrigerated section, if you know what I mean. And even though she's babysat for us at least a half dozen times, my son had a major come-apart because of the last ordeal and shrieked for twenty minutes until we finally left.

Anyway the concert was great and when we got home our babysitter said all was fine. But all was not fine. I mean no one was bleeding and she'd even cleaned up the hosue which was nice. But when I went in to check on my daughter she was sleeping in her crib wearing only her diaper lying on a sheet drenched with some kind of liquid. Then I saw her bottle in there with her. What in the hell?

I took her out and put her on my son's bed (he was sleeping in our room) and changed her sheet. The mystery liquid was milk. I got her into pajamas and realizing she hadn't had any milk since it was all in her crib, I made her a new bottle which she drank and went back to sleep. When I opened the bottle I came to understand that the babysitter had not put the valve in correctly so when my daughter tried to drink her milk it basically spilled all over her. I can only imagine the crying that that caused. What an idiot! Granted, this bottle is not the most sensical design but it's not quantum physics. It's just regular physics! I mean my son could have figured this one out. Shit, my DAUGHTER could have figured it out. Uch.

And it's not just this babysitter. The one before, the friend of the old babysitter, seemed like a competent 19-year-old. But when I went in to get my daughter the following morning she was drenched in her own pee. Why, you ask? Because the babysitter had put the diaper on backwards so all the absorbent part was on her tushy. I don't even know how she managed to get it on that way. It would have required her to put the sticky tape part on around her back. Huh?

I feel like if you can't make a bottle or change a diaper you shouldn't be offering your services as a babysitter. Maybe I'm too nonchalant in my hiring. I just take recommendations from friends and then hope for the best. It really shouldn't be this difficult. I can't decide what's worse, sleeping hungry and naked in milk or sleeping with a full belly in your own pee. Or some new babysitter whose shortcomings are undisclosed. I'm throwing my hands up.