Adventures in Finding a Baby-Sitter

As many of you know, I’ve had a hard time finding a baby-sitter for Jack. Most of them want $10 per hour, and that’s just not something I’m willing to pay. Most of what we need is for someone to entertain Jack while I’m here but need to get stuff done. On the far flung occasions when we do go out at night, I can generally ask my neighbor, who is wonderful with Jack. Even if we did need a baby-sitter, I’m not paying someone $10 an hour to watch movies while Jack sleeps.
Whenever Jack and I happen to be around teenagers, I am always tempted to ask, “Anyone here baby-sit?” Yesterday, Jack and I went to the park around dinner time. While there, we met 2 teen-age girls who immediately started gushing over him. One of them asked, “You need a baby-sitter?” I said, “Are you serious?” She nodded and I said, “Give me your name and number.” She was very excited. It turns out, she’s 13, so I told her, I didn’t mind that, that what we wanted was for someone to play with Jack while I did things around the house. She was happy with it, and said I didn’t even need to pay her, she could just use the experience. I told her I’d give her about $5 an hour, and she thought that was acceptable.
Then the situation got a little strange. She started trying to convince her friends at the park that Jack was her cousin. She kept asking me to make sure I would remember to call her mom. She started talking about how she could baby-sit right away – she asked if she could come on Sunday (tomorrow). She said that she could just walk home from school straight to our house (we’re very close to the junior high) and she’d love to baby-sit all the time. She told the girl she was with (the other gusher) that she would have fun pushing him in the cart while we all went grocery shopping.
Any ONE of these eccentricities, I could handle. But ALL of them? I’m thinking that she was just enthusiastic, and that she wanted to show off for her friends. I told her I would call her mom and ask some questions before I would set anything up. I have some idea of what questions to ask, but I’m really not that good without a set list. And I’m concerned because maybe she is a little too strange – I mean, was that exuberance or could she be a stalker?
She did seem to be smart, and she knew how to carry Jack and make sure he was OK on the swings. He immediately liked her. She was certainly a nice girl. She’s also black, which I like because all of our closest friends here are white, even though we’re the only white people on our block.
So, I’m planning on calling her mother tomorrow, and trying to sound professional as I find a way to ask, “Is your daughter a stalker?”. Mostly, I think she was just showing off, but I would I hate to have her come over and find that it really doesn’t work. With her personality it could be a difficult situation. Then again, if that kind of energy could be put into her playing with Jack, she could be really great to have around. I was certainly enthusiastic about kids when I was that age, but I was too shy to be boastful about it.


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