Monday, February 28, 2011

Why do I always have babysitter drama?

So I'm sure everyone is sick of hearing me bitch about my sister and brother-in-law. If you can't stand to hear it anymore, you should probably skip this post.

When I picked Caitlyn up on Friday, T., my brother-in-law, mentioned that he wanted to talk to me. My dad was at their house and he's notorious for putting his ill-informed 2 cents in on absolutely everything, so T. said he would give me a call because he didn't want to talk in front of my dad.

I thought I knew what it would be about. My sister tends to be overly sensitive about everything. She's all about playing the victim and for some reason, she is completely convinced that I'm out to get her. I can say the most harmless thing and she gets totally defensive and tells me I'm being condescending. Just so you don't think I'm exaggerating, let me give you an example:

I had spoken to A., my sister, several times about changing Caitlyn's schedule so she would go to sleep before midnight because I have to get up at 6am. The way it had been going, Caitlyn would sleep from 7am when I dropped her off, till around 10am, then she would nap for 2-3 hours in the afternoon. I simply asked that A. wake her up earlier from her naps. The inital answer I got was "well, if she's cranky I'm going to let her sleep as much as she wants- I HAVE TO DO WHAT'S EASIEST FOR ME". But she assured me she was willing to try. And try she did. For TWO WHOLE DAYS!

A. informed me that Caitlyn had been really fussy with less nap time and that it was simply too difficult for her to keep Caitlyn awake. Two days isn't what I would call a transition period, but it occurred to me that my lovely daughter was teething pretty hard at the time. I told A. that we would postpone the transition until her teeth cut through.

When Caitlyn's teeth cut and she was sleeping through the night again, I had the second conversation with A. about cutting an hour from Caitlyn's nap time. At that point she told me that, once again, this was a bad time. Her own son was teething now and was keeping her awake every night and she was absolutely exhausted and nap time was the only break she got from the kids. "Fine", I said. "Let me know when he cuts his molars and we will give it another shot then".
A few weeks later came the final conversation regarding what I felt was best for my child and my family. It went down like this:

Me: So, has S. cut his molars yet? I'd really like to get Caitlyn on that new schedule.

A: Well, he's sleeping through the night again.

Me: Great, so as we talked about before, let's just cut an hour off of Caitlyn's nap time in the afternoons.

A: I don't know. She was really fussy when I tried it before.

Me: If you remember, she hadn't been sleeping through the night because she was teething. And you only did it for 2 days so she didn't really have a chance to adjust.

A: Well I just think that's not enough nap time for her. She's gonna be cranky all the time and I have 2 kids to take care of and it's gonna be really hard for me if she's always cranky.

Me: Well I want to give it a try. I'm not expecting you to continue it no matter what. If she's cranky all the time then we will let her sleep more. But she needs a couple of weeks to adjust her sleeping schedule.

A: ......

Me: Well what about cutting the time down gradually. We can start by cutting out a half hour and see how that works. Then after another week or two of that, we can try the hour if she still isn't going to bed any earlier.

A: .....

Me: Ok, I'm trying really hard here to accommodate you.

A: I'm really tired and it's really hard for me to watch 2 kids- you have NO IDEA.

Me: So you are saying.....what, exactly?

A: When the kids are asleep is the only time I have to myself and I NEED that time.

Me: So this isn't about Caitlyn being cranky at all? You're just telling me you won't do what I want and need for my child and my family because you want more free time?

A: I just wish you would listen to me when I say something. You can never just accept what I say (I SWEAR these exact words came out of her mouth). You always have to question me.

Me: Well, I'm PAYING you to provide a service. You aren't doing this as a favor to me. When I went looking for another babysitter, you told me you "don't want Caitlyn with a stranger" and asked me for more money, which I GAVE you to continue to watch Caitlyn. And I don't think it's unreasonable for me to expect you to follow my instructions for my daughter. I shouldn't have to just "accept" what you say when my life and family are directly affected. You can't just say you aren't going to do something. If you were at any other job, you wouldn't just tell your boss "sorry, I don't agree with that and it's going to make my life difficult, so I'm just not going to do it".

A: (this part is paraphrased- but you get the idea) You aren't the boss of me! I can do whatever I want! You are being condescending like ALWAYS! You think I'm stupid and you never let me do what I want to do. Watching 2 kids is super hard and even though I allegedly feel overwhelmed, a month after we have this conversation I'm going to start watching my friend's kid FOR FREE because I need everyone to love me and think I'm the most giving person on the planet, except to my sister who I squeeze for cash at every opportunity.

Me: ::throws up hands in frustration and walks out::


Ok, so I went off on a little tangent. My point is that she is unbearably dramatic and all she cares about are her own interests and there was a similar incident where she completed disregarded my feelings that just happened last week:

Caitlyn is very close to taking her first steps. She can stand on her own for several seconds and you can just see her building up the nerve to take a step. I recognized this and remembered when I missed the first time she crawled. It happened while my sister was babysitting and I felt really sad about missing a milestone. So as she nears walking, I asked my sister to keep me in the dark if I missed anything. I quite literally said "even if I ask you, please don't tell me because it will just make me sad that I missed it". She told me not to ask her if I didn't want to know, because she's a bad liar.

So I go to pick up Caitlyn early last week and the first words out of A.'s mouth are "I really want to tell you something, but you specifically asked me not to". Well, dumbass, that's just as good as telling me, now isn't it? She justified her complete defiance of any simple thing I ask of her by saying "well, I thought it was one of those things where you said you didn't want to know but you really did". Sometimes it hurts to talk to someone so stupid. I was upset and yelled at her a little for having no consideration and left. So when I got that call from T., I figured he was calling to tell me I hurt his wife's precious little feelings or some bullshit like that. Clearly, that was not the case.

The conversation that followed was T. explaining to me all the reasons they could not babysit anymore. Which would have been significantly less infuriating if we hadn't had this very conversation 2 months ago end when I found a suitable replacement and A. decided that she DID want to babysit and that our personal issues were at the heart of her deciding she didn't want to do it anymore. "Caitlyn is such an easy baby and it was never about her. We just weren't getting along and I didn't want to watch her because of that, but actually it's become very easy to watch them both now. I'm so used to it, it doesn't bother me anymore. But hey, since you were planning to pay someone else more, would you mind matching that for me? (in all reality, she actually asked for MORE than I would have paid the new babysitter, but we settled on matching it- how fucking audacious is she? SERIOUSLY!)". So, as she explained it then, it had nothing to do with it being too much work for her, it was simply a personal issue, which we addressed and resolved at that time. Until I got that phone call from T, listing all the reasons they couldn't do it anymore.

In case you are wondering what the reasons were, here they are for you, along with my commentary in red.

  1. It's about S. We want to give him as much of our time as we can. You understand that, right? Yeah, I guess. Until you got to point #2.
  2. We are planning to have another baby in the next year. So, what you are saying is that you want your kid to get used to being the only child again so you can pull the rug out from under him in a year when he has a new sibling? Yeah, that makes perfect sense!
  3. S. comes out of his shell at night when the other kids aren't around. I just think it's overwhelming for him and he's not getting enough attention. Aaaaaand again. You think your kid doesn't enjoy being around other children and feels desperate for Mom and Dad's one-on-one attention, yet you plan to give him a sibling when he's barely 2 years old?
  4. I want to do things with S. that I just can't do when I have both kids, because the age difference really is HUGE in terms of what you can do with them and where you can bring them. Yeah, I mean S. is totally ready for go-karting and strip clubs and bars. And most bars have a strictly enforced 'only one kid under the age of 2' rule. And with strip clubs, you can't have 2 kids on your lap. How would you get lap dances?
  5. A. and I have been fighting all the time because the housework is falling by the wayside. I bust my ass at work then I have to come home and do dishes (Seriously, these exact words) because she just can't keep up now that she's watching 3 kids (remember that friend's kid who they are watching for free?). Ok, for the record, this guy is a math teacher, not a construction worker. Ever since he said this I keep imagining him wearing a sweatband with his shirt and tie. The theme music from "Rocky" is playing in the background and he downs a glass of raw eggs before working up a sweat writing equations on the blackboard. Hardcore.
  6. This will be the first summer where I'm not planning to work and I'm really looking forward to the time off. Whatever, I guess he's entitled to time off. But I'm still annoyed about this one for a couple of reasons. First, they have no common sense about money. He's a teacher and instead of stretching his paychecks out throughout the entire year, he takes a little more each check then gets nothing for 3 months while on summer vacation. Then they spend the entire summer crying about how broke they are. Even before, during and after the weeklong vacation they take to Florida every single year. And second, remember what I said about them gouging me for more money despite babysitting their friend's kid for free? Maybe he should work at his summer waiter job like he always does. I get 2 weeks vacation a year and I go to work every other day. No other job gets 3 months off. Even working just part time for the summer would be like a vacation for me. And HELLO- you have a child now! Stop bitching about your debt and how hard and expensive it is to have a kid while simultaneously planning to spend 3 months not working and to have another kid within a year.

I think I hit most of his bullshit points. Wow, did this post get long. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I can respect that they are trying to make the right choices for their family and if babysitting for Caitlyn isn't the right choice, I can respect that too. But it's hard to feel anything other than disbelief when I'm constantly getting conflicting stories from the both of them. It's also frustrating because they always talk about how much they need the money they get from me until they can't be bothered anymore. It makes me feel a little manipulated about how hard they pushed the agenda that they would NEVER ask me for more money (or any money at all!)except that they REALLY needed it. I'm also exceptionally annoyed that I keep hearing the phrase "what's best for my family" when what's best for MY family has been consistently and continually ignored. Alright. I think I made my point.


Mother Knows Best Reviews said...

I hate, hate, hate that they did this to you again... but I'm glad that you're getting out of the drama. Your sister sounds like she just flat-out doesn't care about what's best for you or Caitlyn if it's not what fits her desires.

Hopefully the person you found previously still has an opening.

Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress said...

i'm sorry that you're dealing with family stubbornness. i hope things have resolved themselves in a positive way. ugh, i dont have a sister, but i do have a brother and he drives me bats&*( sometimes.

Mother Knows Best Reviews said...

I love that you have Nicholas foods. :) I associate this pickle-beef-cream cheese dip with Maddie, because I craved it while I was pregnant. It's kind of bittersweet to eat it, you know?

I remember you telling me about Nicholas' birth. That would be so traumatic, but I love that you found the one silver lining about your birth with Caitlyn.

I don't like "Angel Day" or "angelversary" or any of that stuff, either. I also am not sure about calling her my "rainbow" baby, because it implies Maddie was a storm. I struggle with that. I have been calling it her birthday, or her "birthday in Heaven" - but I'm not overly fond of those, either. :(

If you ever want to e-mail me, I'm angiedewaard at gmail dot com.

Noa Gavin said...

Sorry to hear about the problem's you're having. I can offer my services as a knuckle-dusting prize fighter if needed.