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betty lou’s gettin’ out tonight
Jul 28th, 2010 by wrekehavoc

SQUEE!

i envy those people who have family nearby… the kind of family who will take your kids for a few hours so you can actually save your marriage and sanity… visit a restaurant that doesn’t feature kiddie menus…  watch movies where the characters say fuck and other assorted potty words. what a life you people must lead! unfortunately, our family lives 200 miles away, so this sort of thing won’t work for us.  so of course you say, get a sitter. sounds easy, right? but when you live in a place where you don’t actually know anyone of the appropriate sitter age or disposition, it gets a bit dicey. i once posted a sign at our neighborhood pool looking for a sitter; not much panned out. i also made a cute little flyer once and brought it to the university down the street; sadly, that one sitter only lasted for a time or two before her social life became overwhelming.  anyway, as we live in the DC Metro, i was always a bit leery of anyone i might meet with no connection who would actually want to sit with my kids. without fingerprints and a background check, i would probably pass.

and i mostly did. FOR YEARS.

although i would point out the time when one of our kids’ preschool teachers came to sit for us. her 20-something daughter joined her mom at my house while the mom was babysitting one evening. not a big deal, of course. but then, the girl decided to wash her hair and managed to actually clog our drain. somehow, while the idea of visiting my friends who were babysitting occurred to me in my younger years, deciding to take a shower in a stranger’s bathroom…that’s even a little too quirky for me, and i put the irk in quirky.

but i digress. per usual.

anyway, BS and i have hardly gone out for years. (forget about the fact that we have actually been on a single overnight exactly once in our short but eventful careers as parents.) so when one of jools’ classmates’ moms mentioned her sitter, who i knew to be a daughter of a friend of mine, i gasped: could this finally be the time BS and i could go out and actually feel good about our babysitting choice? the young lady agreed to come over, so i bought tickets to see crowded house at wolf trap. i couldn’t believe my good fortune.

then came the phone call.

the young lady actually had a schedule conflict. of course! i knew the gods must be crazy to let BS and i go out for an evening. and now, i had tickets, expensive tickets, tickets to a show i reallyreallyREALLY wanted to see.  (to be fair, i saw a grown-up concert last year when i took BC to her first real concert (i do not count the cheetah girls as a real concert), bruce springsteen. then again, i nearly murdered her when she had to go to the bathroom during rosalita. clearly, i love the girl.) but then, the save: the sitter had a friend who was very responsible, and she was available to sit that night. would that be ok?

i give that girl a ton of props.

the substitute sitter was the older sister of a boy in BC’s class, one of the boys she didn’t actually find repugnant. i took that as a good sign and called her up. and you know when you talk to someone on the phone and you just know in your gut that she’s a good person? i totally got that vibe. so i had a little faith, and i went forward with the new plans.

and you know what?

i had a little dinner with my husband. i had a conversation with him that didn’t revolve completely around one child or another. and we went to beautiful wolf trap in the summer evening and had a glass of wine (well, he had a beer) and giggled. and then, we sat up in a balcony and watched a great show.

crowded house, wolf trap

crowded house, wolf trap

and we came home, and the kids were asleep, and the sitter was studying — STUDYING IN THE SUMMER — for her SATs. later, the kids told me how they went and played around the cul-de-sac, painted their toenails (hellboy, too), made snow cones, played Life, and then listened to a book on tape before going to sleep. and oh, how nice the sitter is! can she come back?

i love the times when i can say yes to my kids and know that by saying yes, the result makes me just as happy as it makes them.

maybe moreso.


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