Dear babysitter who thinks because my son has special needs that means he’s sweet and easy.
When I told you about my son’s issues during our interview, I don’t think you were listening to me. You were so perky and shiny and a tad bit condescending. “Oh yes, I worked with special needs kids in summer camp.” But you know what babysitter? All special needs kids are not a like.
And when I told you that my son has trouble with transitions, and explained that he might get wild or mean or angry when you came, and then again when it was time for you to leave, I’m not sure you heard me.
And when I told you he was going to test you; that meant he was going to try and convince you that he could have a whole Hershey bar in the middle of the day or that you should just wait outside a minute so he could lock you out of the house or that I said it was ok to make a pretend rocket and light it on fire as long as it was outside. I don’t think you put two and two together.
I explained to you that when a child has his issues, he’ll test you because he needs to know for himself that he can trust you, that he can feel safe. He feels it’s his job to see if you’re going to make the right decisions when I’m not around.
When I came home yesterday and saw you completely tied up with caution tape and unable to move, I figured you didn’t make the right decision.
You weren’t all bad, you know. You did it all with a smile on your face and never yelled. That was awesome.
I also must applaud you for being one of only 7 people to respond to an ad that was very straight-forward:
My son is very energetic and loves to play. Please do not apply if you do not like to play imagination games and run around the house. If you do not feel that being physically active with a child is for you, that’s okay.
I want someone who will engage in his very creative play and be an active participant. Thank you!
And when I emailed you directly and explained that he had Sensory Processing Disorder and a Tick Disorder and 11 life threatening food allergies, you still responded so enthusiastically that I was thrilled!
The thing about being excited about something is sometimes that excitement makes you miss the red flags. Sometimes, when you want something really badly, you talk yourself out of the things you “thought” you saw.
When you put that “I’m not a preschool teacher but I play one on TV” smile on your face, squatted down and attempted to talk to my 8-year-old like he was 3, I should have noticed it. When you nodded your head and took a lot of notes while I was telling you things about him, I should have mentioned it was better to just listen. When he was explaining to me, right in front of you, that he was not prepared to hire you yet, I should have listened.
You see babysitter, I realize something now. I realize how badly you underestimated my child. I realize now that you equate special needs with low intelligence. That was a very bad mistake on your part.
Of course when I came home Friday afternoon to the sound of all of our silverware rattling in the dryer, and then turned the corner to see you lying on the sofa completely tied up with an 8-year-old boy sitting on top of you laughing maniacally I figured you had realized the error of your ways. And when I finally got you untied while he screamed “Don’t untie her! Don’t do it! She’s ruining everything!” I realized who was really in control.
So you see babysitter, I wasn’t surprised today when you texted me that you were quitting with less than 24 hours notice. I had actually expected that text yesterday. I appreciate you lying about why you were quitting, you know – the whole “it’s me, not you” thing was really classy. The thing is, if you want to grow to be a responsible adult someday (I’ll give you a few, you’re only 24), it’s better to take responsibility for your actions. Maybe next time try, “I didn’t really understand what you meant when you said trouble and test and imagination.”
Here’s a tribute to some amazing babysitters of a really rambunctious boy.