The Taz is off school this week, a result of an education system that is being wrongly unfortunately affected by the state’s lacking budget, requiring a furlough week in between summer and winter vacations. And because his sister is still in school this week and I still need to work, the Taz is spending time at his grandparents’ house who have graciously offered up their house as a place for him to crash. That’s why today we were driving into my parent’s neighborhood in the early morning as I made the race from my daughter’s school to my parents’ house in an effort to make it to work still on time. A group of ladies were walking around the neighborhood, and I waved at them as we passed them. Their faces lit up and they waved back.
“Who are they?” the Taz asked.
“I used to babysit their kids,” I told them. By now their kids were graduating college, a scary thought since it seemed like only yesterday I had been entertaining them with various craft projects at the kitchen table in an effort to keep the TV off. In those days, I had made $5 an hour to watch them for 4 or more hours, thrilled to receive $20 at the end of the night to go towards my clothing fund. It’s a far cry from the $8 or more a babysitter now receives to watch kids – an amount that encourages me to stay home almost every Friday night.
“If I were to babysit, I’d bring over all my video games, and then I’d BBQ for them,” the Taz told me.
“Well, you can’t really BBQ when you’re babysitting,” I told him. In my youth, the parents of the kids would always have dinner either waiting for us, or they’d prepare something I could just heat up. On the rare occasions that I did cook for the kids, it was usually something easy like Mac n Cheese, or pesto spaghetti from a convenient container of Butoni’s. I could just imagine if I had suggested to the parents that I would be BBQing for their children.
“Mr. and Mrs. Smith? I would love to marinate this top grade sirloin and then grill it until it’s just barely pink in the middle, serving it with a side of baked potatoes and corn. I promise to do my best not to burn your house down, and if your kids get burnt in the process I will promptly put a Band-Aid on it. Would you like any leftovers?”
“Except, I would be making riblets,” the Taz corrected me.
Well, that makes a difference.
He was quiet for a moment, and got a pensive look on his face.
“Do boys babysit?” he asked. “Or is it more of a job for girls?”
That was a good question. When I was younger, my sister and I, along with a couple of our girlfriends, were the neighborhood babysitters. Boys lived in our neighborhood too, but I never saw them hanging out with younger kids, trying to keep them all in one place at least by the time the parents got home. When I had kids of my own, I did use my cousin, Paul (who has been begging for a mention), to babysit. And I also trusted a guy friend to babysit as well. But the majority of the time, our babysitters were of the female gender.
But there’s no reason why a boy can’t babysit. They are just as capable of keeping kids safe and entertained for several hours while the parents are away. They can just as easily make a box of macaroni, even if you have to tell them that macaroni cannot be BBQ’d.
I told the Taz that boys can definitely babysit, but I admitted that it was usually girls who took on the job. But as the conversation closed, I felt like I had swayed him from a job that he might have had interest in as a teen.
Do any of you have sons that babysit? Or have you allowed a boy to babysit your children? Is there any reason why a boy shouldn’t babysit?
And just how much do you pay your babysitter???