As first-time parents, we were involved in every little thing. I remember both of us watching him nap and changing those first diapers together. Like most newbies, we wanted to be the perfect parents, forgetting you don’t achieve perfection, you strive for it. Little things like that kept us from going out much those first months.
Esther’s aunt Titi Luisa, the original baby whisperer, instinctively called and offered to watch the baby. The calls always came at the right time, giving us a chance to run a few errands or maybe go to Starbucks for a blissful hour in a baby-free environment.
It’s easy to get caught up in the perception of perfection — especially when you grew up watching Brady Bunch reruns. I watch the Brady Bunch now and see Mike and Carol Brady knocking back a few cocktails and leaving the stressful stuff to Alice, the maid.
Titi Luisa wasn’t the only person who offered to watch Cristian during early days but as new parents we were a bit overprotective. Maybe our expectations are a bit unrealistic. Our ideal babysitter had the compassion of Mother Theresa and the strength and the resiliency of a Navy Seal. We had a vetting process more stringent than the White House. Of course, their vetting process has slipped a bit over the past year.
Watching a three-month old baby is easy, just give him a bottle and wait for him to take a nap. It’s amazing how fast those initial babysitting offers dried up once Cristian started walking. Of course posts like this don’t help.
Babysitting a hyperactive three-year old without using Benadryl isn’t for the faint of heart. Your neighbor’s 13-year old daughter checking her Instagram page on her iPhone isn’t getting it done. Try that with Cristian and the house will look like Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria within 15 minutes.
We found an excellent babysitter who flew through our vetting process easily, a pleasant 30-something Central American woman. She came highly recommended by family members, and was bilingual. She was incredibly energetic, taking Cristian to the park, playing with him at home, and bringing an iPad to keep him entertained.
Our Latina Mary Poppins was very pricey — the GDP of a third-world country pricey. She was building her dream home in her country, babysitting Cristian allowed her to send home money to finance the construction. She stepped up when my dad was sick, babysitting Cristian at a moment’s notice, sometimes staying with him until late into the night. Rumor has it her waterfront villa has a wing in it named after him, paid for from with babysitting earnings.
We’re currently vetting her replacement, because we didn’t want to put up a kidney as collateral as she priced tennis courts and an Olympic-sized pool. Over the past months we’ve swapped babysitting chores with my in-laws — giving each other a breather by watching each other’s kids. The results have been great. The boys play together, the adults get a night out, and I keep my vital organs.