Being self-employed has its perks, one of which is planning a Christmas dinner with like-minded people. No corporate party for me. I can’t think of anything worse. A night out with people I barley know. Spending the entire time wishing I had something charming and witty to say. Argh!
With that in mind we picked our venue and instead of a double date scenario like last year. I asked my friend to add a few more guests, rounding us off to a comfy group of 10.
This was his response, ‘Lorraine? Sociable!’ What can I say; sometimes I surprise myself.
My next challenge was to find a babysitter. It’s an impossible situation, made difficult by my snowflake daughter. Who is petrified of staying away from home, scared of strangers and hates mummy going out. She’s 13!!!
This triggers my internal berating; I should have been firmer with her. Taken her to more playgroups, or at least one playgroup. Arranged more sleepovers, sent her on sleepovers and not collected her after an hour. Followed by, dear god – she’s never leaving home…
Then there’s the younger boy to consider. He’s a chatter box with too much energy, which manifests into boredom. That leaks into playing pranks on his sister. He loves it when she screams. I dare not ask my 80+ Nan to look after them; I don’t think she’d survive the night.
Thankfully one name came up. I was told she’s 16, great with kids and has lots of experience. Perfect. I arranged it all with her mum and agreed to drive her home afterwards.
Saturday night approached, I checked to see if ‘Girl’ was still available and offered to collect her. I was assured Girl knew where I lived and that she was only 5 minutes away. All seemed great. My daughter was becoming nervous, needing lots of hugs and reassurance. At one point she asked if she could be the babysitter and just phone me every hour. UH NO!
Girl phoned at 7.05. ‘Sorry I’m running late but I’ll be with you in a moment.’ Phew, I pop on a coat of lipstick and get the kids settled in separate rooms with a DVD.
7.30 – Comes and goes. Hubby and I are getting anxious. Not only have I arranged a night out with people I hardly know but the babysitters late. Do I call her mum or wait patiently? Being rational I think; I walk my dog past her house, it’s not far. Maybe she changed her mind?
7.40 – I call her mum. ‘What? She left over half an hour ago, she should be there!’ her mum says.
Oh god, I’ve lost someone else’s kid. My writer brain kicks in conjuring up graphic murder scenes. How am I going to live with myself!
‘I’ll get in the car and drive around for her. What colour hair does she have?’ I say. Then drive around the block looking for a kid I’ve never met. It’s dark and foggy with no one on the streets.
5 Minutes later I’m back home again and call her mum. Please let her be ok!
‘Any luck finding her?’ I ask
‘No and her phones just died. I’m around the corner from your house looking for her.’
I teeter out in my heels and dress to join the search. I tell her I’ve checked the streets and ask if she would have gone to a friend’s house. Preying she’s gone AWOL and not abducted.
A lad not much older than my son runs over to us. ‘Mum… mum!’ he shouts, ‘She’s back at home.’
It transpired Girl’s mum had told her to call at the wrong numbered house. The poor thing spent half an hour knocking at every number five she could find. By the time she arrived she looked like she might cry and offered to babysit for free. I told her not to worry. Then gave her a box of biscuits and tub of pringles. I briefly introduced my kids and left a shell shocked daughter as me and hubby legged it out the door. We we’re now late for dinner!
The evening was perfect! Amazing food and great company. More importantly I laughed so much my stomach hurt. I can’t wait go out with my new friends again. To top it off, I came home and discovered my daughter and the babysitter hit it off. Now she knows where we live, I hope she’ll be available for the next event.
Why not share your funny babysitter stories or even some Christmas party fiascos? I love to get your comments so don’t be shy.