I wish there was some kind of magic babysitter fairydust I could sprinkle on new mothers so they could jump right over all the crippling angst about making the transition to life-with-babysitter and reach the state of bliss that has caused me to write this post.
Lorna. Her name alone conjures relief and freedom for us, fun and security for the little folks.
She's been with us a couple days a week for 7 years, rarely missing a day, always prompt, always ready for whatever the day brings. Lately, that's meant "making a tent" with Eva in her room by stringing up a giant sheet so that they can play go fish, picnic, drawing, coloring, playdoh and so on under it while the baby sleeps for two hours. That alone is worthy of the trophy. But there's so much more. She just handles whatever is thrown her way.
Over the years, since she began with one child to care for, two others have been thrown her way, and she has just moved seamlessly through the ever-changing landscape of demands--multiple school pick-ups and playdates and classes and lessons and homework and infant/pre-school/elementary school/girl/boy/sick child/angry, sad, grumpy, shy, outgoing, fearful, daring, etc needs--never getting fazed, never losing her cool, never taking things personally.
At first the thought of hiring a babysitter felt like I was hiring my own replacement, my own competition, as if I were hiring a girlfriend for my husband, but worse. I barely knew my own baby, wasn't sure at all that he knew me, or my breast, from any other. The last thing I needed in my unconfident state was someone really experienced and confident to come in and take over. Of course, that's the last thing she did, except in the best way. She has a curiously perfect way of being completely present when here, but becoming invisible at a moment's notice. She knows just how to read the situation and adjust herself accordingly--do I want her to take the baby because although I'm home I need to work or want to be busy at something else, or do I seem to be settling in to have a quick lunch with Eva at the kitchen table before going back to work, so she'll quietly slip off into the living room and wait until the signals shift and then seamlessly slip back in to taking over? They all know she's in their corner, and I know she's got my back. It's the Art of the Babysitter.
There's so much more to say, but I'd need Lorna here to be able to say it!