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Writing is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.

— Winston Churchill

Pssst. Can I Tell You a Secret

My friends, I have a little secret. Maybe you’ve already figured it out and in addition to what I’m about to tell you, I’m also suffering from delusions to think you don’t already know this about me, and if that’s the case I apparently have a few more problems than I’d like to admit. You also know I write from the cuff and don’t really edit before I post, right? Wait, that’s not the secret.

Where was I? Oh yea…my little secret. It’s so embarrassing, but … well, here it is: I’m completely neurotic-about who spends time with my child.

His preschool teacher?
I Googled her to death and did a background check before letting my son walk unaccompanied into her classroom.

His soccer coach?
Well let’s just say I’ve got my eye on him. Aaron started an after-school soccer program, which means on Mondays parents are supposed to pick up little darlings half an hour later than normal. That first day … who do you think was the only parent marching her tush onto the field as soon as practice started? I tried to disguise my neurosis by carrying a water bottle and explaining it was so terribly hot I just wanted to make sure my little guy was well-hydrated. Of course his teacher has me pegged (she knows I Google her) and she didn’t buy into my camouflage for a minute. However she did have a good-humored laugh while making me fess up that I was really there to see if the coach is a freak.

Can you really blame me? This week Spanish police arrested 121 people on child pornography charges. You’ve all heard and read stories about the coach, teacher, daycare provider, or fill in the blank____________who was found molesting children. And what about the sitters who actually kill their little charges? Yes, I know that not all people who work with children are perverts and abusers. Most are wonderful and under appreciated. I also realize people who have those tendencies seek gigs where children are readily available as prey. It’s pretty difficult to tell the good apples from the bad until you take a bit. I’m not sure how hungry I am.

We’ve never hired a babysitter. We enjoy our son’s company more than Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny combined, so we’re not all that anxious to be away from him. Jen at The Story of Us recently cut the cord, and the picture she posted has been niggling at my temples. She looked so happy and beautiful and her husband was beaming during their child-free evening. I may have to reconsider my paranoia.

I used to say that once Aaron could talk and actually communicate if something went wrong, I’d be ready to hand him over to a well-coiffed 16-year-old with a cell phone and boy friend. I figured the talking excuse would give me lots of time to become comfortable with the idea of a sitter.

Guess what happened? After a couple of years, my little bundle of joy actually started to talk. I quickly moved my benchmark and decided no babysitters, ever. Let’s see. He’s four now, so by my brilliant arithmetic that means in about 16 years I’ll feel perfectly content leaving him home alone.

We live far away from grandparents, aunts and uncles, and the one relative living here who we did trust when my husband and I decided to make infrequent runs to adult-style entertainment or restaurants, well that one person happens to be my oldest step son, and he just moved to South Africa. Yea I know, the nerve.

Dear Oldest Step Son,
If you happen to be reading this from the other side of the globe, rest assured that I’m not trying to pile on more guilt. I thought all the snot and tears I spewed at your going away party would have had some effect. Apparently not, though, so rather than make you feel guilty for moving 8,431 miles away (yes, I looked it up) I just want to say we’re all doing well. Your baby brother isn’t missing you a bit. Nope, not one bit, and really you’re not missing much. He’s only grown six inches since you left last month and he’s started saying obnoxious things like, “Yo Dude.”

You are coming home for the holidays, aren’t you? You know how I pout and pout for weeks when you’re not here, which makes your father grumpy. I know it’ll have only been a few months since you moved 8,431 miles away, but there’s this show at the theater I want to see, and what about New Years? Did you give these things any thought before you moved 8,431 miles away?

What was I talking about? Oh yes, one of my secret neurosis. Wait a minute. What kind of juicy secret were you expecting? This is still our first date, and we don’t even have a baby sitter.

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28 comments to Pssst. Can I Tell You a Secret

  • Amy

    You crack me up — but I have not had a babysitter in over three years and very few times in the past thirteen years!! I do indeed understand, I am ‘that’ mom too! And you know what? It is okay!!!

    Amys last blog post..Wordless Wednesday – Queen Giselle

  • With out older son, who was in daycare a lot, we didn’t go out much. Because he REALLY needed time at home with us. On the rare occasions we did, the grandmothers watched him. (I tried a teenager two or three times, but once her mom called looking for her on a night she wasn’t with us, I never used her lying little *** again.)

    With the younger son, we also had the benefit of our niece, 20ish, who moved back “home” and nannied for us.

    And once the older one was 12 or so, we were OK with him watching his brother for an hour while we went out to dinner.

    Smalltown Moms last blog post..If I still worked in an office…

  • I don’t think this is horrible at all! I’m very protective of my little ones. I remember, as a child, shouting over my shoulder to my parents as I left the house, “Bye! I’m riding my bike down the old highway to look at the dead skunk in the pond!” My mom was all, “Just be careful!” I can tell you this would never fly with me today.

    jenboglass (steenky bee)s last blog post..I’m Real and Unspectacular

  • I can relate. My older son was about 6 by the time I hired a real baby sitter. I’d had friends and family watch him/them briefly but no strangers. I just felt more comfortable when the two kidlets were both old enough to fully express themselves about the evening’s events. And there was one not so great incident that both boys quickly let me know about, so I was glad they were mature enough and could articulate the event.

    Hilarys last blog post..Edging Into October

  • Oops, somehow I posted that before I was finished.

    When the kids outgrew the screaming fidgety stage, we enjoyed (and still do) taking them with us rather than leaving them home…concerts, theater, whatever…

    Now the oldest is 18 and wants to be on his own. Sigh. Too soon. (And yes, I have googled his girlfriends if I’ve know their full names.) A mother’s “curiosity” never ends.

    Yes, parents: Do check out who is responsible for your kids. You’re not crazy. You need to be comfortable with the people. But it goes both ways. Volunteer at school, daycare, soccer, whatever. You can help while you are observing.

    Smalltown Moms last blog post..If I still worked in an office…

  • Tricia

    Ohhh, Smalltown Mom, I hadn’t thought about the future possibility of Googling girlfriends, and with all the stuff kids are putting online, that will be incredibly helpful.

    We also love to take our son with us, and when we don’t it feels like something is missing. We end up hurrying home.

  • i wonder more about the parents who aren’t worried about who they leave their child in the care of…but then i also think that we are devolving into a stupider species re: the common sense factor…

    sorry i’m letting my cynical side out for a short run this evening :)

  • LOL. I have so much to learn from you about this parenting stuff.

    Brandygirls last blog post..MAKING BABIES LIKE ASIAN INSTANT NOODLES?

  • My son introduced me to my hubby when he was 3 (hubby was the maintenance man at my work where there was an on-site day care). We had to learn how to build a relationship with child already in tow and I was blessed with living near my twin at the time. Instant babysitter. :)

    I get your fear…it’s alright.

    Grandys last blog post..A New Play Toy

  • Tricia, I hear you on all counts. I don’t easily trust people. I’ve only had family or VERY close friends watch my children. I can’t seem to cut the cord either!

    Mrs. Schmittys last blog post..If You Give A Child A Bar Of Soap

  • donna

    Tricia it is ok to feel that way. However your dad and I are coming to see you all in a couple of weeks. You and Kim can plan a romantic night out if you want. You can never be safe.( you can google us if you feel the need)and no one who is worth their weight would not mind if you goggled them before you let your child around them. To bad I did not have this when you all were little.
    XOXO

  • Tricia

    Well, now that’s a thought; Googling my own mom. I wonder what I can find to bribe you with? And if I do find any good dirt, I’m cashing it in for home-made apple pie. People, my mom makes THE best apple pie!

  • I am a googler to. I google their teachers, friends and people that their mother spends time with. You can never be too careful.

    WickedStepMoms last blog post..Things that are important

  • Jen

    Awww, I’m in your blog!! And beautiful! Yay!

    Here’s my uneducated take.

    It’s hard to leave your kids. Period. But, I think after all you went through just to get him, it’s a bit harder for you. You have the unique ability to cherish him that much more. It was “easy” for me, and I took it for granted. You probably can’t really do that, which I admit to being kinda jealous of. I think you probably look at parenting through different eyes, special eyes and the experience is so much more enhanced for you. I’m probably talking out of my rear, since I have no experience with it. Just an outsiders POV.

    Anyway, I get where you’re coming from in this, obviously – and I do hope that you can cut the cord one day, because it really IS nice. But only when you’re ready!

    Jens last blog post..So I think…

  • That stepson needs to get his A$$ home so he can hang out with his excellent little brother!

    garys last blog post..little and BIG

  • David dos Santos

    Hello my sweet older step-mother number 2! I have missed reading your blog, I will keep up to date going forward. Thanks for the kind words from Aaron, you should be lucky I am not the there, you know my lingo and the way things can be said!! Lucky you! I know he misses me lots and lots like jelly tots. Great to hear he is becoming a little man. I think of him often, as I pass a Montessori near my house regularly. Unfortunately no States side for holidays, if anything I want to be in Lisbon with my grandfather. Will see what happens. Next sighting States side will be for Thanksgiving. Sorry mom! Trust all well with all, love to family.

    PS things are going great in SA, flown in a helicopter, and various other light aircraft. All progressing well!

  • Ha ha! Your Mom posted a comment on your blog! That is SO COOL! You should have a contest for a piece of her apple pie, I would SO sign up :) . I’m with you on checking people out who work with children. They should have *nothing* to hide. Nothing.

    goodfathers last blog post..Subleme

  • David dos Santos

    finally reading the full article, there was a big reference to google, and T, you being as “googlespysoccermomer” as you are, how did I slip through the cracks?

  • I understand you completely. This is why I cringed when my girlfriends all announced their babies were going off to in-home daycares when they went back to work. My mom watched my son for 2 years (and it’s a 2 1/2 hour drive for her to come in, so she stays with us all week long!) and now she watches my baby. Then, at 2 I put my son into a Goddard School for the sole reason that in an organized day care facility there are many adult eyes. I could never trust someone to take care of my kids behind their own closed doors – especially before they were talking. No way, no how.

    HeatherPrides last blog post..Photo Essay: I’m Gonna Get You, Sucka!

  • donna

    Ok goodfather I think that this is a way to make money on the apple pies, and of course you are only taking Tricia’s word for this.
    Are you in?
    I want 80% and you and Tricia can split the rest.

  • Tricia

    Gary: Agreed!!

    Jen: That’s twice in a week you’ve gone all comment soft on me and made my eyes mist.

    Oh dear man child: if I had googled you all those years ago, I probably would have been too afraid to marry your dad. Hah!

    goodfather: you have an interesting suggestion. I could completely exploit my mom and her apple pie for the benefit of my blog. This is an idea I could dig my teeth in to.

    HeatherPride: in-home day cares scare the heck out of me too. I know there are great ones out there, I’m just TOO much of a freak to feel comfortable with it.

  • Oh, dear! Oldest step son better get home quick! :)

    Starshines last blog post..feeling the breeze of life go by

  • You are so not alone! I haven’t left my kiddos alone with a stranger babysitter yet and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to do it. Thanks for stopping by my blog today. :)

    Missy @ Marketing Mamas last blog post..Drafts

  • Well, you may know that I don’t have kids, but I’m sure if I did I would be horribly obsessive about it. Even if I acted like I wasn’t, on the inside I would be seething with constant worry and stress. I don’t know how parents do it. And now with the internet, you can obsess 24/7 and never leave your office if you wanted to. And while you’re sitting there in front of your Google machine, can you tell me how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

    Margarets last blog post..Ya Know It’s Hard Out Here for a Blog

  • donna

    Margaret
    A woodchuck would chuck all the wood that a woodchuck couldchuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood. Say that really fast 5 times.

  • So nice to know that there are other women out there who suspect the worst when it comes to people who come into contact with my children. I do my best not to foist those neuroses on the kids — well, at least not that one. I frequently check the Megan’s Law database, burning the photos into my head and making sure no soccer coaches or T-ball coaches or Cub Scout leaders or dance teachers are on it.

    patoiss last blog post..Seriously, ROFL!

  • TOTALLY AGREE! We have my in-laws who rock and I love dearly. And, we have the Godparents. My mom is within’ range but dealing with enough medical issues and disability of her own — I could never straight out tell her? But, I won’t let her keep my youngins.

    DH wants to get away without the kids — “We need some “we” time.” He tells me. Well, “we” to me, means the four of us. I don’t trust anyone. The school is great, but I’m always watching, asking questions, etc. No Boy Scouts for us — not anymore.

    And, I stay for all extra curricular activities. And, birthday parties. So, you are NOT alone!

    Happy Friday!

    Farmer*sWifes last blog post..I’m a Lemonade Gal, Myself…

  • Gotta love Google. Although, if you Google my real maiden name you get results on a crack addict in California. Of all names, they picked my maiden name as her make-up moniker so as not to identify her. Nice.

    I don’t blame you one bit, Tricia. This is a naughty world with plenty of predators. And there is plenty of evidence most kids are harmed by people in their immediate circle.

    Lisa Ps last blog post..Economy May Not Be So Bad

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