One of the lovely things about having a blog with thoughtful readers (as distinct from most of our visitors, who arrive in a fruitless search for pederasty) is that I don’t need advice columnists. I don’t have to suffer the smugness of traditional advice columnists, the nerditude of the Times Ethicist, or the colonic graphicness of Dan Savage. I have you.
So here’s a question from my (incredibly fascinating) life with preschoolers. My son and daughter have a fulltime babysitter. She’s older, mature, speaks Spanish (legally!), is great with the kids, we like her, etc., etc. But every once in a while she sends me scrambling for a rule book that I don’t think has been written. Like yesterday when she announced that she and the nanny of another child in my daughter’s school were going to take the kids to see Tangled after preschool today.
I mumbled some sort of acquiescence and went away. But later on, I started thinking: really?
I don’t have a problem per se with exposing my kids to movies, so my real beef was the cost. This is New York, after all, where adults pay nearly $20 a ticket even for crap Disney movies, and kids $13. So I’d have to pay about $50 for the babysitter and both kids, not counting the ridiculously marked-up food (necessary because the kids would be in a movie theater at lunchtime). We’re not broke, but seems a little crazy to pay $60-$70 so a babysitter can entertain the kids for the afternoon.
So I texted her and said it cost too much and we’d rather she just have the kids go to the library or have them, you know, fingerpaint or something at home.
Here’s where you come in: am I just being cheap? Is that a weird thing for a babysitter to bring up? Do you have any hard and fast rule about what the babysitter can spend while taking care of your kids? Do you even pay her expenses (we pay for her lunch, for example, if she’s running around with the kids)?