Be prepared to see an influx of posts....
With the demise of SV Moms on the horizon, I need to start copying my NJ Moms Blog posts into my personal blog for prosperity. A programming note: there may be repeats.
Here is my very first post on NJ Moms:
A Stranger Is Watching
A Stranger is Watching is the title of New Jersey resident, Mary Higgins Clark's third best-selling novel about a demented kidnapper. While my story isn't as dramatic, it is the story of one Mother's first time experience of letting a complete stranger watch her only child.
This version takes place while visiting friends in Charlotte, NC but to paint a better picture and to truly tap into my paranoia you need the prologue to this story. First, my husband and I were told while trying to have a child that our chances were slim to none. Thus when we had Benjamin, we believed (and still do) that he was set on this earth for a higher purpose (I know all parents believe this but we REALLY think it is true). Second, Ben is watched by his grandmother while my husband and I at work so we've never had to put him in daycare. Finally, if my husband and I ever want to go out on weekends, we have a plethora of highly qualified friends and family to watch him. All of these points equaling that my 19 month old has not had anyone watch him that I don't know and love until a beautiful Sunday in September.
I started worrying about this dilemma before we even stepped foot unto the plane.
About two weeks before the trip, I mention to my husband Wally, "who is going to watch Benjamin when we go the Panthers football game on Sunday afternoon". Wally didn't have an immediate answer which made me panic. He promised me he would speak to our friends about it. Two days before the trip, I was told that their babysitters would be watching Benjamin. This did not sit well with me. Couldn't our friend's parents watch our precious son? I'm sure they would love to see their grandsons and meet Ben. I wouldn't dare let a stranger watch their kids -- maybe the babysitting thing worked for them but not for this mom. Wally reassured me that everything was going to be okay. How did he know? Didn't he care?!?
I would like to say things got better when we got to Charlotte but it actually got more gut-wrenching for me. Not only was a random group of girls watching my son, but our friends "A-team" was not available but their "C-team" was covering the job. My reassurance was, "she isn't exactly warm and friendly and the kids don't like her much, but she wouldn't let anything happen to them." This wasn't good. I was feeling worse than before. In began to think -- why not leave Benjamin with a rehabilitated convict? Wally tried to calm me but my stomach started to hurt, and thought, this is actually a good thing because I have an excuse now not to go to the game - I was sick.
Wally talked to me about what we would say and what we would do when these girls came but he wasn't telling me not to go through with letting these "not so warm and loving" girls watch our son. I wrote a crazy lady list of things "to do" and "not to do" with Benjamin (most of the list included footnotes) and made sure that my hand writing was legible. The hour was approaching when they would arrive. What should I do? I knew I needed to be brave and trust in my instincts. If I felt that this wasn't right, then I wouldn't go.
When I met the two sitters, I didn't like the fact that the head sitter wouldn't look at me. What was she hiding? I went over the list with them several times and waited for their response. All I got was a head nod. It wasn't looking very good but I knew my dear friend would never let complete wackos watch their kids and mine (the chosen one). So they weren't warm but they are responsible and I gave them a look before I left that said, "if something happens to my only child, you better leave the country and fast." I hugged my son tight with tears in my eyes like it would be the last hug but knew I needed to be brave for him. My son's reaction was one of indifference he had his two new buddies and lots of trucks to play with. Was I the only one who thought this wrong?
Five minutes into our ride I asked to call home and then two other times as well. Wally also asked our friend to call home and each time after our friend said hello the response from the sitter was "there fine". Translation: tell the two nutty overprotective parents their son is still alive. The sitters were right, Benjamin was fine. When I came back, Benjamin was as happy as when I left him - not a scratch to be found and I checked. His diaper was a bit soaked but they swore they changed him (I didn't believe them). While I am not looking for opportunities for Benjamin to be watched by people I have only meet for five minutes, I feel I have overcome a big parenting hurdle and I am proud to come out of it a braver person.
This is an original post to New Jersey Moms Blog.
Update: This was the first and last time a "stranger" has watched Benjamin.
The Young Girl and the Sea
8 months ago