Tuesday, November 09, 2010

yeah you know we'll have the TV on

I babysat a great deal when I was a teenager. I wasn't a horrible babysitter and nobody ever died on my watch, but I certainly wasn't the most dedicated child-minder in the world. I would essentially phone it in until it was time to tuck the charges into bed and then I could surf all nine channels in peace.

I was in a high demand, though. This was primarily because, in those days, babysitters were dirt cheap, and we lived on a street populated with enormous families. Fifty cents per hour was the going rate, and if you were really lucky, you got seventy-five cents per hour after midnight. This was for looking after anywhere from four to eight kids, mind you. Parents actually made money by going out every weekend. For $3.00 they could ditch the kids and the dirty dishes and go out dancing until 2:00 AM, which they did often.

I still think of those kids as being two, or six, or ten years old, even though it's more likely that they now have their own children of that age. I somehow doubt that those kids I used to babysit go out until 2:00 AM every Friday and Saturday night, like their parents did.

Do you have babysitting stories to share?


Missy said...

I babysat all of the time! I was the lone babysitting teenager in a brand new 2nd ring suburb. I know for a fact that some of the kids I babysat already have their own kids, it creeps me out.

John Mutford said...
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Toccata said...

Babysitting twin baby boys! The entire time I would kind of do that dance thing parents do with their kids to stop them from screaming only to put down a happy quiet baby in exchange for howling baby number two. I did not earn nearly enough money for looking after those two shrieking machines.

John Mutford said...

I remember this one time when I was babysitting and there was a call that turned out to be coming from somewhere inside the house.

bloody awful poetry said...

I can't say I've ever babysat, but babies seem to enjoy whacking me across the thigh a lot. They defy my authority all the time, so I just avoid them. I'd be such a lousy parent.

L said...

So true! I used to babysit for one couple in particular that would go out EVERY weekend, sometimes two nights in a row. I know none of my friends with kids do that now. But, those people paid-- I could make $100 in a weekend, and at 14, 15, and 16, that was pretty awesome. I'm not sure how the kids turned out, though.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

You were the only babysitter in the area, Missy? They must have treated you like a queen! Good thing that power hasn't gone to your head.

There's not enough money in the world to compensate for that, Toccata. You probably saved their parents' sanity though.

I assume you then hid upstairs, John, because that's always the safest place when there is an ax-wielding maniac in the house.

We ALL think we would be lousy parents, BAP. And just because it's true, that doesn't stop us.

Holy smokes! I was lucky to make $10 in a weekend, Lesley.
I'll bet those kids turned out just fine if they spent time with you every weekend.

Allison said...

Ah, babysitting. I did it a lot when I was younger too. Until I was about 16 and then I got a regular job.

For the most part the kids I looked after were pretty good, but there was this one pair of siblings that were absolute terrors and in one night managed to rip down all the curtains in the house and throw popcorn everywhere. There was also paint involved somehow, but I forget how that started. I looked after them once more and then never again. Not worth it.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Al, I think you may even surpass my sister's experience of getting locked out of the house by the five boys she was babysitting, only to have them strip naked and walk across the back of the chesterfield in front of the picture window, mocking her. At least there was no paint involved.