Monday, July 1, 2013

My 4-year-old Twins Tattletaled on the Babysitter

My 4 year-old twins just ratted out their babysitter. 

They’re only with her a couple of nights a week—when we’re out playing Bar Mitzvahs—but gigs are long and there’s travel time and the babes end up with her for hours and hours.

The Babysitter, whom I’ll call Fabiola, is a mom herself, in her 40’s, very attractive, and often comes with her 10 year old daughter who seems to adore the twins. She is Spanish, and I encouraged her to speak a little Spanish to the twins—never too early!

She’s been with us for almost a year, and I never noticed the twins—a boy and girl who have that “WE” thing totally down—cringe or complain when I told them Fabiola was coming.

But tonight, there we were in the big family car on our favorite family outing—a trip to Target.  And Johnny (the boy) and Charlie (the girl) were chattering in their carseats.

“Fabiola says that if we don’t listen to her she’s going to give us away.”

We turned the volume down on 50 of the Greatest Silly Songs.

What did you say?

This time, Johnny verified it.  “Fabiola says this to us. Only if we don’t listen.”

My husband and I shot each other a look.

Now what?

Nobody gives children away, I tell them later as I shower them and comb out their crazy blond curls. Fabiola shouldn’t say that, but she doesn’t mean it.

Now what?

I trust her with the important things—she keeps them physically safe, feeds them from her own table, can sit through a zillion episodes of The Littlest Pet Shop and makes Charlie the most magnificent hairdos.

I guess I will talk to her about the other stuff that I feel is important. Talking to children honestly and patiently without threats—both real and not real. 

I will ask her if 7 or sometimes 9 hours is too long—and maybe I should split the time with another babysitter.

I will tell her not to say things like that to my children.

Or maybe I will say nothing and find another babysitter.

And she will always wonder why she doesn’t get called anymore.  And I will always feel guilty because I know she needs the money.

The twins are four but I believe them. And I don’t know if I would believe her not to scare them again.

Now what?