Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Crazy? I think not!

I started "babysitting" for the family that lived next door when I was eight years old. I say "babysitting" because it was more of a mother's helper role for the first few years. When I first started helping out, for $2 an hour, they had two little boys. By the time we moved away seven years later there were four boys and I was a full-fledged babysitter, making the then-high wage of $5 an hour.

I was a pretty mature little 8-year old, if I do say so myself, but over the years I have wondered if our neighbor (DB) wasn't a little crazy to have such a young kid playing mother's helper . . .

And now as a mother, I get it. And know that she wasn't crazy, she was a freakin' genius!

If she ever did leave the house it was to run to IGA right down the road, and my mother was right next door in case of an emergency. I don't know what DB did with most of her time when I was over, as we were usually outside playing, but I would guess it was a combo of catch-up with the house and some me-time. For $2 an hour, totally worth it!

My nieces and nephews live around the corner, my oldest nephew (R) is 10 going on 11, and now I am the one hiring a mother's helper. Last week I had R over for an hour to play with Sophia outside, and it was awesome! They played in our side yard so I could see them out the kitchen window. Meanwhile I got caught up on a massive pile of dishes, started dinner, and organized the bill/filing pile. My most productive hour in a long time!

Great deal for me, and great deal for Sophia. I went outside to check on them at one point, and know what they were doing? Sitting on the deck stairs . . . breaking bark.

Now, my tolerance for sitting on the steps and breaking up bark is definitely not as long as R's, so way more fun to do it with him. And as far as time goes, for once Sophia got to play outside as long as she wanted, and actually decided to come in on her own.

My parents are moving just around the corner this summer, so my youngest sister is going to be able to bike over . . . and she isn't just a mother's helper, but a legitimate babysitter! The timing couldn't be better with baby #2 on the way.

Amazing how your perspective changes with the arrival of a kid or two. The next door neighbor is no longer a lunatic, but a brilliant woman who knew the key to staying sane. May you all be so lucky as to live so close to a potential mother's helper!

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