She was babysitting within walking distance of our house for a family she really enjoys. I remember how grown-up I felt the first time I got to babysit for money. The responsibility was both exciting and nerve-wracking. It was important to me to not just do an “OK” job, but do an “exceptional” job. I wanted the kids to have fun and like me, but most importantly, I wanted the parents to be proud of me and trust me implicitly. The first year of babysitting was definitely a learning curve, after all, my knowledge of children was pretty limited. And even though I had a lot of domestic responsibilities at my house, there are many things in life you just don’t know how to handle into you are faced with them. My mom received many phone calls while I was on the job that first year about fussy babies, bath water temperatures, and how long to cook something. In fact, I’m pretty sure my dad made a few quick visits to help change a battery, open a jar or turn on some confusing electronic system. It wasn’t long before I called less and managed on my own without question.
My daughter is in that same season. DW gets frustrated, feeling like she should be more confident, but I have to remind him occasionally that she is still learning “on the job”. We’ve prepared her for the big stuff, like first aid training, basic CPR knowledge and water safety. She knows about internet safety, movie ratings and the importance of not leaving the kids to their own devices. I’ve drilled and drilled that her job is not to “sit” but to interact with the kids as much as possible and then to make sure the house is cleaner when the parents come home than when they left.
Recently we received a phone call and DW reluctantly came to the rescue. (I must point out though that he was quick to respond, without hesitation. Such a good dad.) The pizza delivery guy had the nerve to tell my daughter he couldn’t give her any change, which would have resulted in an exuberant over payment.
“Your asking me to go all the way back to the store to get change and come back. My last delivery took the last of my cash,” said the Pizza Guy.
My response would have been, “Well, I guess I’ll see you in about 20 minutes then.”
Instead, DW came and paid him the remaining $5 so that he would neither be given a $15 tip or have to come back.
She is a lot like me. She needs to be faced with a dilemma sometimes in order to come out stronger on the other side. There are a million things I’ve learned over the years from making mistakes, answers that weren’t innately visible to me at the initial moment. And personally, I think that is okay as long as you know where to get the answer or find help when you are at a loss. Thus, the occasional phone call while she is babysitting. She knows to ask for help, which I think is also a very mature quality. DW is more of a fake-it-till-you-make-it kind of mindset. He’d rather make the mistake and have to fix it later than ask for help to make sure it gets done right the first time. Either approach is fine in most situations, and probably in many situations a preferable method. But when you are responsible for someone else’s welfare and safety, I don’t think you can be too cautious.
I am proud of her for asking for help, regardless. It also turned into an opportunity to talk about not letting people take advantage or bully her just because she is young. The delivery guy shouldn’t have made her feel like it was her fault he didn’t have change, that’s his responsibility. Now she knows.
One less thing she’ll call us for in the future.