BG: We have a neighbor who has become somewhat of a friend. We don't socialize all that much but we talk when we're outside, and have had cookouts together a few times. Neighbor has a live-in friend (girlfriend? I can never tell) who has two children, who are 1 and 7 years old.
Neighbor will occasionally ask us to babysit (which, it's weird that the childrens' MOM doesn't ask, but that's another story..) We have watched them a couple of times for a few hours, and do not want to do it again. For one thing, they burned us with pickup time once. We had told them that we had to be somewhere at 6, they said no problem as Mom got off work at 4. She ended up agreeing to stay late at work, no call, nothing, and didn't come get them until 5:40. They also dropped them off once when the baby was teething, in bad pain, and had a fever.
Also, and I hate to say this, but the older child drives me nuts. She can be sweet but she's completely undisciplined. She doesn't listen at all, and I'm pretty sure she has ADHD which is not treated. When she's around, our DSs follow her lead and it's just chaos all around.
So.. my current dilemma. Neighbor called yesterday and asked if we could keep the kids OVERNIGHT for TWO different nights in the next month. I chickened out and told him I'd have to check with DH, because I was totally on the spot. I really don't want to, but I don't want to get on bad terms with neighbor either. It's hard to just tell him that we have plans, because they can see our house and see when we're home. I suppose we could make plans to be gone those days but that just seems silly. Also, it wouldn't prevent them from asking again.
I thought about telling them that four kids is too much to handle, but he knows we've had sleepovers with/babysat other kids in our family around the same ages. I really need to find a way to say "YOUR kids are too much to handle" but there's just not a polite way to say that. I know that "No" is a complete sentence, but it just seems rude.
I don't mind helping out in an emergency, but I'm just not interested in becoming part of their babysitter rotation. It's also awkward because he'll try to give us 5 or 10 dollars on the times that we have watched them, which is odd. We can't really do reciprocal babysitting either because I don't want them watching the boys (for many reasons, which I won't go in to here).