Monday, January 27, 2014

Your firstborn always holds a very special place in your heart. She’s the one who initiates you into parenthood, giving you a nonstop ticket to an unforgettable journey.

The late-night feedings and endless diapers soon give way to toddler tantrums and preschool sassiness, but through it all, she reminds you to STOP. To have fun. To experience the world with all your senses and without any sort of self-imposed time limit. To be hopeful.

The Big Sis is exuberant and extremely social and a natural-born leader and constantly searches for logical fallacies, and while those qualities present many challenges as a parent, they are also the qualities that will take her far in life.

Happy 7th to my one and only “Big Sis.”


Sit. Stay.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Our free sitting options are pretty limited, especially for both girls, yet it’s so expensive to ask the daycare teacher we sometimes use as a sitter because the cost of that easily equals or exceeds the cost of whatever activity we do, making it a daunting proposition to go out. But with a whopping TWO date nights in all of 2013 (and one of them was to a wedding, so it wasn’t even one-on-one time), this needs to be remedied.

Enter The Neighbor Teen Sitter who lives a few houses down from us. She is 12 years old, very mature for her age, and babysits her younger sisters (ages 5 and 2). We’ve known her for four or five years now, and she’s always been so good with both The Big Sis and The Little Sis, and her parents are good people. She told us last summer that she was interested in babysitting, said she took some babysitting-related classes (including first-aid), and she even put up signs around the neighborhood advertising her sitting services.

But 12 just seems so young, so I hesitated for a bit, even though I know many people of my generation who started babysitting when they were even younger than that (and I was allowed to be at the house alone with my younger sister when I was 12). Still, it looked like an appealing option, so we decided to try her out, sort of easing her in. Her first time sitting for us was a couple weekends ago, and we made it easy for her: We put The Little Sis to bed ourselves, so she only had to deal with The Big Sis. They would play a game together after we left, then she’d put The Big Sis to bed (late) and then just have to wait for us to get home from the comedy club we went to.

Before we had left, I asked her how much she was charging. She hesitated a bit, and I tried to put her at ease and said, “I know, I hate this part too!” She is SO nice and said, “Well, I know you guys, and I love your girls, so $2/hour is good.” Can you imagine? Two dollars an hour? I wish we could get away with that, but I don’t want to take advantage of her, either, so we ended up paying her $5/hour, which I thought ended up being a good deal for everyone involved. She got paid more than double what she was expecting, and we were able to pay half of what we’d normally pay for the daycare teacher sitter.

We’ll gradually end up increasing her responsibilities and easing her into putting The Little Sis to bed (and, of course, increasing her compensation as she does more) so we can go out earlier than 8 p.m., but for now, it should work as an option. Not necessarily our go-to option at this point, but it potentially could be in a few years.

Even better? I said to The Husband, “If The Neighbor Teen Sitter is allowed to stay home by herself with her younger sisters now, that means we have only five more years until we don’t always need a sitter to go out! Score! Oh wait — that means The Big Sis would be in charge. Maybe we need to re-think this!”

Wordless Wednesday: Kentucky snow angel

Wednesday, January 8, 2014