Sunday, December 20, 2009

When You Can't Fire the Babysitter, Give Her a Bonus!

We are so lucky to have several babysitters nearby who are all fantastic!

One brings a bag of books and games to entertain Carson.

One can drive herself, hallelujah!

One is almost always available and does overnighters! We hire her the most. Plus her rates are extremely reasonable. She is our favorite and the boys love her!

Two weeks ago, she watched the boys while we attended, wait for it . . . an adults ONLY party! Wooohooo! But I digress.

I am a sleep nazi and part of the reason my boys sleep so well (this is my theory anyway) is our generous use of swaddling!

Carson was swaddled until he was SIX months old. At that point we were buying yards of fabric from Jo-Anns to custom-sew XXXL swaddle blankets to fit our 20 pound child. When you can't move your arms and legs, it's hard to do anything but sleep.

Our pediatrician looked at me with awe and, I think, a little bit of "she's crazy" when I asked him if we could continue swaddling Carson until he was 18 (years, not months). NO MORE SWADDLING. We left his 6 month check up that day and burned the swaddle blankets so they could tempt us no longer.

Much to our shock and surprise, Carson slept JUST FINE with his crazy arms and legs strewn wildly about.

But again, I digress.

So I explained to our favorite babysitter that we employ the use of the Miracle Blanket. I demonstrated how the "wings" go over and under Keaton's arms to render them useless. I stuffed his legs in the "pocket" so they were tightly contained. And then I wrapped yards of fabric around his body until he was cocooned like a moth before metamorphosis. Only this butterfly wasn't allowed out until 7 am the next morning.

Our babysitter nodded her head understandingly. We left for the night, partied our patooties off, and crashed into bed.

Fast forward 8 hours. Keaton crying. I groggily make his bottle, lean over in the dark to pick him up, but alas, my poor tired eyes just don't understand what I'm looking at. It takes a full minute for me to comprehend the situation.

My 14 week old son, laying in his crib. 2 arms and 2 legs wildly making a crib snow angel. Huh? What is his body doing unswaddled? And where on earth is his head??

The swaddle blanket is wrapped several times around ... his head?? Oh yes, instant panic as I dive into the crib to make sure he's breathing. Of course he can breathe dummy, he just cried to let you know he's hungry!

This babysitter is SO fired!

But who else does overnighters for so cheap?? So we hire her again.

Friday night was my company party. I go over the Miracle Blanket instructions again and politely ask her to demonstrate her ability. I firmly remind her that this is a CRITICAL STEP in my 17 week old son sleeping through the night. Don't mess with my routine lady!

We skip off to drink merrily, eat lavishly, and cackle loudly at a fantastic White Elephant party.

Upon our return, the babysitter can't look us in the eyes. "It was a rough night" she says quietly

Apparently Keaton did NOT want to sleep and screamed his head off. Then proceeded to wake up Carson who was not thrilled either. They tag-teamed her until she couldn't take it anymore.

"I'm sorry but Keaton is ... unswaddled."

WHAT?!? How is this possible? And there goes my full night of sleep.

We decided not to fire her on the spot but instead just NEVER call her again. She is SO off our list. It's going to be a little awkward because we bump into her a lot. Darn neighbors.

I couldn't sleep that night. Because Keaton was unswaddled, I was so worried about him being cold that I put a blanket on him. This is a no-no these days so then I woke up about every other hour to check on him and make sure the blanket wasn't wrapped around his head.

I continued to do this until 7:30 am!!!

What?! ? How is this possible? My unswaddled son slept the entire night?? Must be a fluke.

We cautiously (not very optimistically) tried it again the next night. As I sit here typing this, it is 7 am and he is still asleep. (He normally wakes around 5:15 for a bottle).

So our babysitter accidentally discovered that we no longer have to swaddle Keaton! TWO whole months ahead of schedule!

This solved a KEY problem that swaddled babies go through (Keaton was just entering this phase) when they're strong enough to bust out of the swaddle but then can't sleep until re-swaddled!

We no longer need to go through the frustration of finding XXX-L swaddle blankets.


With egg on my face I will bump that cheap babysitter back to the top of the list. I might even give her a bottle of wine to thank her for her accidental discovery.

Did I mention my babysitter's name?

Nana Kuntz.

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