General Etiquette > Family and Children

"who's watching the kids?"

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The thread over on Life in General about dads being "allowed" to "babysit" their own kids reminded me of another conversational gambit that we found annoying when our kids were little.

Right after our first was born, we went to a wedding, leaving her in the care of my two best friends (they were both so excited to spend time w/ her that DH & I joked about whether her arms would be longer when we got home from them doing a tug-of-war with her).

At the wedding, about 5 people approached us to say, as the first words out of their mouth, "Who's watching the baby?" Some of these folks used a sort of challenging tone, which was frustrating; it felt like they felt they had a right to demand that we justify ourselves.  Or like they thought it was shocking we'd not attend the wedding (or whatever) without the kid; or that they didn't trust us to properly choose someone to care for our child.

And with all of them, the next minutes of conversation were them quizzing us about the babysitter of choice or talking about how it can be hard to find someone trustworthy.

It kept going, for years.

Every now and then I'd try something like replying, "Is there a reason you wanted to know?" But that just kept the conversation going.

Until, after the 2nd kid was about 2, I figured something out that just shut that conversation down.

I started answering, "Oh, we just left them home alone. I figure DD is 4, she can get her brother a cracker if he's hungry. And really, what's going to happen? They're not going to burn the house down." My DH played along and threw in other nonsense, over-the-top stuff. "We left her money for Chinese food; she knows where the store is."

They gave up the conversation. And then we had the usual "how are you" stuff to talk about. And it didn't get used as a conversation opener much anymore.

(I've just now realized--I wonder how much that played into my difficulty in getting DH to look beyond family members for babysitters...)

Ha ha!

My husband and I went to a wedding last summer, and we left our 2yo son home with a babysitter.  Everyone asked me "WHERE'S your son??".  Part of it was probably because kids were actually welcome at the wedding, and in our culture kids are not usually left home so adults can go "out".  So I was expecting that sort of question.

I usually said "Oh, we left him at home!"  Most of the people were horrified because they thought I meant home alone.  And then I explained that we left him with a babysitter. 

That is what I would be tempted to say.  "Oh, that kid?  We locked him in the basement where there aren't too many things to hurt him.  Is there something wrong with that?"

you can always just make light of it.

years ago I attended my mothers 65th birthday party.  I was separated at the time and going through a divorce,  and I had both of my kids living with me.

I had to fly half way across the country to go back to my hometown for the party.

A lot of the people that were at the party were obviously friends of my mothers.  I knew most of them because I had gone to school, and socialized with a lot of these peoples children.

I was sitting at a table and talking with some of my mom's friends.  They were asking me how I was doing and just general chit chat and catching up.

One of them mentioned how nice it was that I was able to get away and come home for my mom's party.  I responded that it was nice to be back home, and I was glad it all worked out.  One of my mom's friends said something along the line of "and of course you've got someone watching your kids?"

I looked at her slapped the palm of my hand to my forehead and said, "Oh..... the kids, I knew I was forgetting something!!"


--- Quote from: Daquiri40 on April 25, 2013, 07:28:29 AM ---That is what I would be tempted to say.  "Oh, that kid?  We locked him in the basement where there aren't too many things to hurt him.  Is there something wrong with that?"

--- End quote ---

We did use something like that once when the baby was the only one not there. Like, "we just left him in the crib--he can't get out, after all." My DD picked up on it and added something like, "We put his favorite toy in with him."


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