Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Babysitterless

I mentioned in one of my first posts that my sister and brother-in-law have been babysitting for me since I went back to work. My sister only works part time and my brother-in-law is a teacher, and her schedule is quite flexible so there is always someone home with their son and my daughter. Or there was.

I knew it was coming. Before Caitlyn was even born, I knew. A. (my sister) is the type to change her mind in the blink of an eye. When I was pregnant, she was babysitting for a friend of hers a couple of days a week and one day just decided she was done with it. The official story was that the friend's daughter was in day care most other days and was "always sick" and my sister didn't want her son getting sick all the time. When we made arrangements for her to watch Caitlyn, this was obviously a point of concern for me. I couldn't just have her decide one day that she didn't feel like doing it anymore. So we talked about it. She assured me that she would "never do that" to me. She emphasized that her friend was 1. not paying her, 2. already comfortable with the day care her daughter attended so she wasn't worried about sending her for an extra day or two and 3. that she was really just worried about her son's health... since my daughter wouldn't be in day care at all, we wouldn't have to worry about her bringing other kids germs around all the time. She never mentioned being overwhelmed or feeling like she couldn't handle more then one kid. Not even once.

There has been tension between us lately. I could feel her resentment the day last week that she sent me a bitchy text message about how she couldn't believe I'd forgotten Caitlyn's pacifier because she had things to do and couldn't " hold her all day". I found it especially odd because Caitlyn is almost always fine to play with a toy or just hang out. She's not high maintenance at all, so I couldn't figure out why my sister was OMG SO ANNOYED. I texted her back with obvious sarcasm "oh is she that much of a nightmare to watch? Just give her a toy or put her in the jumperoo" and "have you never forgotten anything". What I got back were 7 back to back messages about how I have NO IDEA how hard it is to watch 2 kids at once and how dare I even say such a thing to her! Oh and "yes, sometimes she IS A NIGHTMARE". Hmmm... are you sure you don't mean your own kid? I took the high road and kept that comment to myself...along with about 6 others, almost all of which included the word "cunt".

Then there was the comment she made to me when I picked Caitlyn up on Saturday. She made some bitchy reference to how I'm only paying her like $4 an hour. And yeah, that week it did come out to about that. But she seems to forget about the occasions where she only babysat one or two days and I paid her the same flat $100 for the week. In my opinion, it was a fair arrangement for both of us. There were weeks I made out better and weeks where she did. And hey, remember how I mentioned that she did it for her friend for FREE?

So it isn't even like she mentioned to me more then just the one time that she was feeling a little overwhelmed. But then today I get a text message that said "I need to talk to you and Rodolfo". And that's when I found out I no longer have a babysitter. We discussed, in detail, before Caitlyn was born that if she decided she didn't want to babysit anymore that she needed to give me a reasonable amount of time to make other arrangements. We haven't discussed that yet, but I really hope she understands that a week isn't reasonable time. She's selfish in that way... when she stopped babysitting for her friend she told her 2 or 3 days before she was supposed to babysit and thought that was plenty of time. Which is why we had the conversation about "reasonable time" in the first place. So I'm wondering how that conversation is going to go.

And ok, just to go to the bitter place, let's smack talk for a minute, shall we? This woman is the same person who wants "at least 2, but probably 3" children. This is the woman who knew at 18 that the only aspiration she ever had for herself was to be a mother. She didn't want a career, didn't bother to even finish high school. She just wanted a dude with a good job to take care of her while she stayed home and shot out babies. That's always been her plan. And, in fact, when her husband pushed her to have some sort of goal for herself, the best she could come up with was that she would L-O-V-E to open a daycare. She went so far as to look into how to get certified and what she would need to do to make it happen. And I know, a few minutes worth of research doesn't sound like anything, but damn, that's because you don't know my sister. For her, that's the closest she's ever come to a career.

So I guess I'm curious what she thinks the reality of any of these things would be. Does she expect it to be magically easier to care for more then one kid when they are both her own and she has to do it all the time? Umm, yeah, not really. Especially since she turns them into overscheduled whiners. And with the daycare thing, did she think she was going to just throw on "Finding Nemo" for half a dozen kids and rake in a bunch of cash without doing any real work?

My problem now is that I don't have a plan. Daycare isn't going to work for me. My schedule is too flexible...my hours are too varied. Most daycares aren't open past 7pm and that's not even close to late enough for it to work. And even if it would, I really don't want to leave my kid at a daycare. Not to say I couldn't find a trustworthy person or place, but in a daycare setting, no matter how good a person is, one kid can't be the priority over all others. And I need to know that my kid is the priority. As far as finding a babysitter that will come to my home or whose home I can take Caitlyn to, well, in theory I would be more comfortable with that. Unfortunately, peace of mind ain't cheap, and a stranger isn't going to take $4 an hour to watch an infant. So right now... I just don't know where I'm at. I considered talking to my boss about working a 4 day week with 10 hour days as opposed to 5- 8 hour days but Rodolfo doesn't seem to think she would go for it (my boss is notoriously family unfriendly).

Just overall this whole situation makes me long for a major change in my career path. I've gotten stuck in this retail rut for 10 years now and I hate it. At 18 I wasn't focused enough to realize that I didn't have all the time in the world and that HEY- SCHOOL IS EXPENSIVE AND THE GOVERNMENT WILL PAY IF I GO NOW BECAUSE MY FAMILY IS POOR! If only I could talk to my 18 year old self...smack her upside her head and tell her not to waste her life and intelligence recommending outfits to people I don't give a shit about and dealing with crazy people who like to shit in fitting rooms (true story). I know that wisdom comes with experience, and nobody is expected to have that wisdom at 18, but fuck, a drop of common sense would have been helpful. If I had a regular job, with regular hours and the money and opportunities I deserve, I surely wouldn't be in this situation right now.

2 comments:

Mandy said...

There aren't words for this. I am so sorry you have to deal with this, and I sympathize because we are going through something similar with daycare.

I hope you work things out and find somewhere safe and caring for Caitlyn.

Also remember that everything you've done has led you to this very moment. You have Caitlyn and had you gone to school, you might not have her. We all have coulda, woulda, shouldas, but know how blessed you are.

Nadine said...

I still can't believe your own SISTER did this to you. I mean, I can, because I know her. But it's the fact of she is your sister and you don't think family would do this to you.