Dear Good Greatsby: Babysitter or Baby Sicker

Posted on August 8, 2012


Today’s question comes from Heather at Beaches & Peaches.

Heather: I have a baby, and yesterday the babysitter for this baby showed up very sick. How do you deal with this situation? I pretended to walk a block and then came back in the apartment and told her I’d acted too soon, and actually wasn’t ready yet to leave my baby with a babysitter, and paid her $20 for her time. (I never let her touch or hold the baby, having put him to bed myself while she waited in the living room). What would you have done? Thanks Greatsby!

Paul: I may not be the best source for advice on babies because I didn’t even know babies could get sick. I don’t even remember seeing my kids until they were four when I realized they could be trained to retrieve beverages from the fridge.

But my wife confirmed our babies did get sick, and here’s another interesting tidbit: apparently, babies can also wake up during the night.

You handled the situation with great diplomacy, although I’m not sure any diplomacy was owed when the babysitter put you in that position. I would have recommended saying something to scare the babysitter, forcing her to be the one to call it off:

“I’m so glad you’re already sick. It makes me feel less guilty about handing you a baby with the Ebola virus.”

“If the phone rings and you only hear heavy breathing on the other end, I know your instincts will tell you to grab the baby and run out of the house, but that’s exactly what he wants you to do.”

“I’m listed as my brother’s emergency contact if he overdoses on heroin again, so if his friends bring him here, you’ll have to administer an adrenaline shot to the heart. The adrenaline shots are on the top shelf of the pantry. Also, help yourself to anything else in the pantry.”

“Do not go in the basement! If you think you hear the clanging of chains, that’s just the furnace. If you think you hear someone yelling for help, that’s just the furnace. If you think you hear someone demanding to know when their water dish will be refilled, that’s just the furnace.”

Here’s another option: Instead of cancelling and sending her home, why not babysit the babysitter. Give her some chicken broth and she’ll owe you free babysitting. Let the baby have a night out instead. Yes, there are dangers for a baby out on the town alone, but I feel too many parents wait too long to trust their children with responsibility. Your baby’s probably much more responsible than you think.

Readers: What would you have done?

Do you have a question for The Good Greatsby? Submit your questions on the Dear Good Greatsby page.