Thursday, August 8, 2013

10 ways to lose your babysitting job (Adventures in Babysitting: Part 2)

After wading through all those crazy people on, I finally found a babysitter I actually liked, but… I had to fire her.

I believe that she – let’s call her “Lana” – took well enough care of Quinn, but she was unprofessional and irresponsible. I felt awful firing her, but it’s my job is to protect Quinn, not Lana’s feelings.

So to help other young girls out there who are looking for babysitting gigs, I put together this handy list of ten easy ways to get fired.

#1. Make verbal communication as painful as humanly possible.
Lana smiled and nodded a lot in a “deer in the headlights” sorta way. She never asked a question, which didn’t make her appear knowledgeable – it made her seem too inexperienced to even know what to ask. She only gave one-word answers to my questions, making dialogue about Quinn excruciating.  

#2. Let the child watch hours of Cartoon Network.
On her first day, I sent Lana a text to check in. She replied that they were watching cartoons. What? I’m paying her $15 an hour so she can plunk my kid down in front of the television? Grrr… So this led to a discussion about how much TV Quinn is allowed to watch and what shows are acceptable. (I.e, not Cartoon Network!)

#3. Assume you know everything about children and don’t read any of your employer’s instructions.
I gave Lana two and a half pages of brief, bullet pointed instructions, which I don’t think is unreasonable for a nineteen year-old girl who’s never watched Quinn before. And most of it was just a list of foods picky Quinn might eat. Lana obviously hadn’t read it, and I asked her three times. Finally, I pushed the papers in front of her said, “I expect you to follow this.”

#4. Put the child down for a nap at anytime that’s convenient for you.
Even after finally reading my instructions, Lana rarely stuck to the schedule. She put Q down for a nap at 11:30, so he woke up by 1:30. By dinner time, he was so over-tired he wouldn’t eat, and our evening together wasn’t a lot of fun.

#5. Take the child to a new place completely unknown to his parents without asking permission.
Lana took Q on a walk to her house. Why? I have no idea. I’m probably over-reacting, but I’ve never been to her house, and I have no idea what her home life is like. For all I know, her mom has some alcoholic, unemployed boyfriend that occupies the couch all day. (Yes, these are the terrifying scenarios that run through a mother’s mind.) Most likely, her house is a perfectly safe place, but I still didn’t like it.

#6. Give the child a stuffed animal covered in a slimy brown substance and watch his germophobic mother try not to throw up.
Q came home from Lana’s house with a small, stuffed bunny smudged with brown sludge. I had no idea where this bunny had been, but it immediately went into the washing machine.

#7. Show the child a scary dragon on your cell phone, giving him nightmares.
Q started saying a dragon scared him. I asked where he saw the dragon, and he said, “On Lana’s phone.” Lana said Q wanted to see a dragon, so she showed him one. Q was probably trying to tell her about Baby Dragon’s ultrasound picture on the fridge, which I can see how Lana might have misunderstood. However, when a kid is obsessed with something that you’re not sure about, distraction is probably a better option, and a more experienced sitter would’ve put that together.

#8. Wear a see-through top so your employer – and her husband – know what your bra looks like.
Oh. Yes. She. Did. I’m not just talking about a rogue bra strap, people. One day, Lana wore a loosely crocheted top that had gaping holes without a cami or anything underneath. At least her bra was white and not some lacy number. But still, not something I really wanted my son to see, and definitely not something I want my husband to see when he comes home!

#9. Three weeks into your new job, inform your employer that you’re going overseas. For. A. Month.
I know going to Australia for a month is just something you do when you’re nineteen, but I feel like you either travel overseas OR you get a summer job. A mom needs a babysitter she can depend on.

#10. On your first day back to work, show up late, lie about why you are late, and don’t offer an apology.
On her first day back after a month, Lana was 30 minutes late. I called her, and it was obvious I woke her up. She made an excuse about her car acting up, but that it was working now and she was on her way. When she arrived, she just breezed in the front door. As if she hadn’t been gone for a month. As if she weren’t late. No apologies. I understand being late for work sometimes – s**t happens. But don’t lie to me like I’m stupid! And even if she was telling the truth about her car, she should’ve called to say she was running late. And apologized, for heaven’s sake!

#11. BONUS: Show up late with Starbucks in your hand.
Okay, so Lana didn’t actually do this one, but I’ve seen it happen, and it annoys me. When you’re running late, you DO NOT have time to stop at Starbucks. I suppose maybe you hit bad traffic or got lost after you went to Starbucks, but if that’s the case, you better chug that s**t before your employer sees you. It just looks bad.