A Rookie Babysitter Mistake
The following is a guest post by my friend, Nana Becky.
It was countdown time. We were supposed to arrive in Columbia, South Carolina at 3 p.m., but our GPS said nope, we would arrive at 4:30 p.m.—for the 6:00 p.m. wedding of my sweet aunt.
“We’re not going to make it, we’re not going to make it, we’re absolutely not going to make it,” Brittany, my daughter, mumbled as she tended to her ten-month-old daughter, my grandbaby, Blakely Faye.
“I can’t go any faster,” said Brian, her husband. “There aren’t any shortcuts, but I think the traffic is moving now.”
“We’re not going to make it,” Brittany kept repeating. “We have too much to do!”
Her panic was understandable. We had to check-in to the hotel, unload, shower, get dressed, get dinner ready for Blakely, and feed her.
“I have to show Ashley all the nighttime routines, Mom. I thought we’d have more time for them to get to know one another.” My niece, Ashley, would be babysitting Blakely for the first time.
Although an exceptionally happy baby and good traveler, Blakely was in the sweet spot of the “separation anxiety” stage. She preferred her mom to anyone else.
“Well, Britty, there’s not much we can do about getting there faster. But Rachel is already there. She can meet us and grab some food for Blakely. What will she eat?” I asked.
I jotted down the foods and called my sister to craft our arrival plan. Rachel pre-checked our rooms to make sure mine was wheel-chair accessible and adjoined to Brittany and Brian’s room. Her husband, David, and her daughter, Ashley, our babysitter, picked up Blakely’s food, met us in the lobby, and helped us carry the luggage to our rooms.
The Arrival and Departure
From my room, I could hear my daughter instructing her twenty-year-old cousin and Blakely’s babysitter for the night, “Blakely’s a good eater, Ash. She can feed herself.”
Ashley, a SnapChat connoisseur, captured the moment.
“I’ll change her and then we’ll put on her pajamas,” Brittany continued. “After I leave, give her a bottle. Put her down in the crib, no blankets. Leave her for a little bit, she will cry and then go to sleep. Text me if . . . ”
I closed the door to our adjoining room to finish getting ready—touched up my make-up, added a little bling and a spray of Tory Burch perfume. Minutes later, we all met up in the hall.
“Is Ashley set, Britty?” I asked.
“I think so.”
“She’ll be fine,” Brian said, taking Brittany’s hand. Although Ashley was an experienced babysitter, she hadn’t had much experience with children as young as their daughter.
“I don’t hear any crying. We better roll,” I told them. We headed to the parking lot, piled in my van, and made it to the church in record time. As their tagline promised in the hotel’s welcome magazine, Columbia was hot, “Famously Hot.” My van thermometer read 102 when we pulled up to the church.
How Did The Babysitter and the Blakely Do?
After the ceremony, Ashley’s SnapChats lit up our phones.
“Looks like she’s having fun, Britty!” I said.
“Wait, she’s texting me with questions.” Brittany squinted into her phone
“Is everything alright?” Brian snuck behind her to read the text. They both burst out laughing.
“What’s funny? What happened?” I asked.
“Well, apparently Blakely fell asleep without crying. Ashley wanted to know if it was okay to skip that step!”
We all doubled over with laughter.
“Now that’s a rookie question!” I said.
“The truth is that Blakely doesn’t usually cry,” Brittany told us, “but I wanted to prepare Ashley, just in case.”
Exhausted from the trip, little Blakely slept well that night. She and Ashley became fast friends and we all enjoyed the time together. It took a team effort to make it happen, but isn’t that what family is all about?
How about you? Any family stories of team effort to share? Tell me about them. I’d love to know.
Rebecca Faye Smith Galli is a freelance writer and columnist who has faced continuing challenges in extraordinary ways. In 1997, her busy life as a dedicated community activist and mother of four children—two of whom had special needs—was dramatically affected by paralysis from Transverse Myelitis, a rare inflammation of the spinal cord.
Reflecting on these and other life-altering circumstances, Becky’s freelance publishing career began in 2000 with an op-ed piece for theBaltimore Sun. She has written over four hundred columns on family life and resilient living including ” From Where I Sit,” slice-of-life musings for a Baltimore Sun weekly, ” Looking Homeward,” a continuation of her father’s column for Huntington, West Virginia’s Herald-Dispatch, ” Tuesdays with Madison,” reflections of parenting an adult daughter with autism for www.autismafter16.com, and a weekly newsletter,Thoughtful Thursdays, Lessons from a Resilient Heart. She also periodically contributes to the Baltimore Sun’s Op-Ed page, Midlife Boulevard, and Nanahood.