When the Baby Becomes the Sitter

There she goes… down the road to the neighbor’s house for her first babysitting gig.  She somehow managed to walk, when I know that in her heart she wanted to skip!

Maggie is that kid who talks to adults all the time.  She befriends the recess monitors, is the first to greet new neighbors, and even chats up grocery store clerks.  She is polite, articulate, and helpful, so I wasn’t terribly surprised when the doorbell rang with a babysitting request earlier this week.  Ironically, she’s signed up for a babysitting class next weekend, but this dad said he already trusted her for the job.  It didn’t hurt that she answered the door wearing an apron, as she was in the midst of baking cookie brownies for a school fundraiser.  She looked like a domestic diva!

It was a unique job, because the parents were hosting a Halloween party and wanted Maggie to watch four kiddos downstairs.  We had to admit:  it was the perfect start to her babysitting career, since the adults would be upstairs.  We said yes.  We trust her implicitly, and she is ready!

Later that evening Maggie ran down the road to discuss logistics with the family.  She wrote her questions in a little notepad:

Start and end time?
How many kids?
Ages of kids?
What to bring?

She also thanked them for the opportunity, and told them she’d let them decide on payment since this was her first babysitting job.

Imagine our shock when they called me later that week and asked if it would be okay if they paid her… wait for it….



Clark wanted me to say he’d do it for that price, but instead we politely told them $100 seemed a *bit* high.  We don’t know the going rate of babysitters these days (we were never good at hiring them ourselves), but we want to set up her babysitting career with realistic expectations.

On the big day she marched down the road at 6 PM, with big ideas for entertaining four children whose ages ranged from 4 – 7-years-old.  She was thinking about simple board games, cards, and imaginary play.  She’s still a kid herself, and I knew she would have fun no matter what they decided to play.

Clark, Sam, and I went to a friend’s house to carve pumpkins, but we made sure to be home by 10:00 so we could hear all about Maggie’s big job.

The dad walked her home around 10:30, and raved about her “infectious positive personality.”  He said they hope she will babysit for them again, because she’s such a great influence on their children.  We were so proud!

After he left she squealed, “I think he paid me forty dollars!!!!”  She brought the bills out of her pocket, and when a third $20 slipped onto the floor she literally collapsed with it.


Her first job.

Her first money.

Her first true taste of independence.

Maggie embraces every opportunity for independence she is given.  If we’re at the roller rink, she wants to buy her own pretzel from the concession stand.  If we run out of chili powder, she wants to run ask a neighbor.  If we only need one thing from the grocery store, she asks if she can go in and buy it herself.

But this milestone feels different.  She just earned her own money, completely separate from allowance.

Sam was green with envy, but little does he know she spent a full hour today on Amazon, shopping for his Christmas present.

Independent?  Yep.  But generous?  Even more so.

We could not be more proud of our girl!

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