Growing up my sister and I babysat all the time. I don’t want to toot my own horn but we would get booked months in advance. We were the kind of sitters that played with the kids and made sure the house was clean when the parents came home. Most kids didn’t cry when their parents left and if they did, they didn’t do it for long. Our business grew by word of mouth and we never had any complaints from parents or kids.
I did have complaints sometimes. There was one family who just wasn’t right. The first time I babysat for them, they told their 11 year-old that I was not there for her, just the rest of the kids, basically license to be a brat. Then their home decor was early dead African animal. I am not kidding. There were mounted animal heads everywhere from Africa and pics of the Dad with his kills. (Sidebar: I don’t have a problem with hunting if the hunter is choosy with his kills AND eats the animal as well. Killing for killing sake is not a sport in my opinion.) The first time I ever babysat for them they started freaking out about the baby ducks in the barn (it was a horse farm) that were bleeding and kept throwing the ducks at me. I went home, my new pink Gap collared shirt covered in duck blood (this was the 80′s). (Note: the ducks were fine, the ends of their feathers were scratching them. Normal when the flying feathers are growing in…I think they knew that).
I always tried to come up with excuses as to why I could not sit for this family. Unfortunately, if the Mom got my Mom on the phone, my Mom would usually accept the engagement without asking me (oh, YES you did, Mom!).
One time, the last time, I was there babysitting during the day and we walked down to the barn. The 11 year-old went into an empty stall and said, ‘Oh, no!’ and pointed at the corner where she was on the ground. I along with the younger girls went to look what she was worried about. The 11 year old ran out of the stall door, slammed the door shut and locked us in, laughing, then ran away. The girls got scared and started to cry a little bit. I gave them hugs and told them it was ok and we’d figure a way out. Luckily, there was a small window not far off the ground. I turned a bucket over and was able to lower the older of the two girls out of the window and to the ground. She ran around and opened the stall door. As we were walking back up to the house and I was telling the girls how helpful they were, the Mom came in the driveway. I did not see the oldest girl but told the Mom what happened. She wasn’t even that apologetic. She kind of laughed it off.
The next time she called (cannot even believe she called), I declined her offer and told my Mother I was never going back there and if she accepted a job then SHE could go and get locked in a stall.