We have finally reached the point where we will allow our 14-year-old boys to babysit their 6-year-old sister. For parents of younger kids who have been paying for babysitters for years, this brings a sort of freedom akin to the moment you realise your toddler is toilet-trained and you no longer have to spend half your income on nappies!
Of course we are naturally cautious about when we choose to have them babysit. Normally it’s when we are at a function very close to home, and not a terribly late night, just in case we need to rush home (yes, still slightly paranoid). And we seem to have randomly struck upon a financial deal whereby if they are both home we don’t pay them, but if only one is home then we pay him $20 for babysitting services. Logically, I don’t expect this arrangement will last very long, but it’s financially beneficial whilst it does. 🙂
On the first weekend we left them to babysit, we were actually out two nights running. All seemed in order when we arrived home each night, and our daughter was safely tucked up in bed. The fun started the following morning, when my daughter informed me: “(Insert name of Man-Child II) told me not to tell you, but he had friends over last night”! What an interesting bit of information. Of course I enquired exactly how many friends he had over and was a little shocked to hear of 4 visitors. When I asked Man-Child II about his visitors I was relieved to learn they had not stayed long, and had just detoured via McDonald’s on a Saturday night. I also pointed out that perhaps next time he might actually ASK for permission to have friends over – I didn’t tell him the answer would probably be “no” in our absence.
The next morning, after our second night out, our in-built lie detector (6-year-old daughter) was again quick to enlighten me with tales of the prior night. She informed me that “(Insert name of Man-Child I) asked me not to tell you, but he was using your Mac (sexy work computer) last night, and it wasn’t even for something important, he was on Facebook”. I tried not to laugh, and thanked her for being honest (and the perfect “dobber” in my view). The boys clearly don’t realise that in asking their sister not to tell us, her radar instantly goes up and she knows they’re doing the wrong thing. I will not be educating them anytime soon.