This week’s guest post comes from my fellow outmanned mommy and psychology blogger Angelica Shiels from Family Psychology Blog. So far I’ve only been brave enough to inflict my boys on family members but with this handy guide to babysitter interviews we might be seeing a few more date nights in our near future – or at least a good story to tell them when they get older…
Not Your Average Baby Sitter Interview
So you want me to pay you to watch my three boys, huh? I see from your references that you come highly recommended, but since you have never watched these boys before, I just have a few screening exercises to go over with you. You know, just your basic babysitter interview.
1) First, I just want to make sure you can communicate with my two year old effectively. Kamee shit don. Jew wike wato? Oh, you didn’t catch that I was telling you to sit down and asking you if you’d like some water? How about this: I’m just going to gauge your reaction as I repeat myself a little louder. Of course I will also be pulling the neck-opening of your sweater all the way over your shoulder and spraying chewed-up Cheerios in your face while you stand there choking. Turing up the intensity sometimes helps with comprehension.
2) Okay, if you tend to my two-year old alone for more than three minutes, my four year old will command your attention. You have two options here, and I will let you pick. Option one is: You draw Charlie a “donkey with a turtle face looking surprised” with your left hand while you find Benny three yellow Legos with your right hand. Option two is: You forgo the drawing and only find the Legos while I relentlessly blow this fog horn into your left year. Your choice. I’ll just sit right here and take notes on your patience and composure.
3) This next activity is easy. All I want you to do is watch the You-tube video “Black Widow vs. Cicada” on our big-screen TV on repeat six times while providing educational and engaging commentary. I hope you are okay with extreme close-ups of slime, guts, and hairy insect legs. I will just be sitting over here asking you realistic questions and judging your answers. First, why is the black widow’s butt so big? Does she have to do a big poop?
4) Okay, next I am going to give you a pile of sheets and some duct tape. I am going to use a stop-watch and a megaphone while you build a castle that is “bigger than the whole universe” in our 2,000 square foot house. I will be playing the part of the boys, pulling your legs and jumping on your back, while I note how you engage me and teach me manners. At certain points, you will be blindfolded by my booger-crusted fingers on your face, but you must forge ahead. And….GO! NOOOO, not the BLUEEE duct tape! I want bat-man duct tape but with purple glitter! Make the door in the shape of a GUITAR! Can we have a MOAT? No, MAKE a real POOL! NOT like THAT! One that smells like LEMONS and sea horses SWIM IN IT!
5) So my six year old must practice reading every day. What I want you to do for your next activity is let me sit in your lap while you listen to me take 63 minutes to read two simple sentences. I will continue to shift my weight and burrow my bony butt into your thighs, and I might even pass gas a couple times, but the cuddle-position is just so much better for maintaining focus. And no, you are not allowed to look at your phone, the TV can’t be on, and you cannot have a snack. Did I mention my son is highly distractible. So, actually, before you embark on this activity, I’m gonna to need you to sing “This old man” all the way to “This old man, he played 100″ in order to ensure you have what it takes to put the younger boys down for nap before reading can commence. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to rhyme exactly; Just don’t make it ridiculous– My four-year old will let you know that “you can’t play nick-nack on a grandma.”
6) It’s time to start potty training my two-year old. For the next task, I am going to squirt Hershey syrup all over the bathroom walls, floor, and door knobs. Then, I am going to toss you a canister of Clorox wipes before I immediately take your being occupied as my cue to run to a secret corner of the house, drop my drawers, and pee. You will be required to keep your composure while I next run to the marker cabinet and help myself to some sharpies while you are still elbow-deep in Hershey squirts. Also, my other two boys take a woman in the bathroom as their cue to bust in and initiate casual conversation. And if they get a dot of chocolate on them, you just wouldn’t be the right fit for us. Best of luck.
7) The kids love to engage in elaborate pretend-play. For your final screening task, I’d like you to do your best interpretation of a “puppy spider with tyrannosaurus rex arms playing race-car school.” Just do your best rendition as I observe you for the next twenty minutes. Feel free to use this construction paper to create a natural habitat for this creature as you see fit.
Okay, now that the screening is complete, I am just taking a minute to go over my notes on your performance. I know you are so excited about this amazing opportunity, and you seem like a wonderful girl, but I simply cannot hire someone without the proper qualifications–I’m sure you understand– And, let’s see…. it looks like the castle pool smelled more like bananas than lemons, and there were absolutely no seahorses. And you really put up a fight about cleaning up my pee in the corner of the bedroom. And you got a little lost on “this old man he played 87….” But all in all, you scored very highly compared to the other applicants. Congratulations!
Yes, that’s right! You’re hired! Please, don’t forget to bring tennis shoes, rubber gloves, and a supply of batman-glitter duct tape when you come on Monday!
Angelica Shiels is a wife and a mother of three young boys. When she isn’t ninja-fighting, catching frogs, and cleaning pee from around the toilet, she is conducting therapy and workshops with children, couples, and parents at Maryland Family Psychology.