Any parent will tell you how indispensable a really great baby sitter is. After all, everyone needs to get out from time to time. It’s pretty stressful if you live far away or don’t have any family to look after your little one on the odd occasion. Then you may be forced to look for a trustworthy babysitter in the area, but how do you know who to choose? This was exactly the conundrum Claudia Sorhaindo found herself in when she looked at a photo of her daughter and immediately froze.
Claudia Sorhaindo lived alone in Florida with her young daughter, Ava. She tried her absolute hardest to be with Ava at all times, but being a working mom meant that that wasn’t always the reality. Work already meant that Ava had to go to pre-school every day and then an email arrived from work detailing an out of town meeting that she simply couldn’t miss. She wouldn’t be able to take Ava along with her and that was a problem for which she had no solution.
Claudia felt trapped between a rock and an impossibly hard place. She’d been managing quite successfully with being a single mom working a full-time job, but that was before she was promoted and needed at far-away business meetings. This was her first big meeting and it would not reflect well on her if she was to miss it. Besides, she’d already taken all the leave she could — what with Ava being sick last week. She had no choice.
A Reliable Sitter
It was time to call on friends and family alike, but she knew everyone’s schedules were as packed as her own. She hoped against hope that a responsible adult would be available to babysit Ava this weekend. Luck was not on her side and the only person that could do the job was far too young for Claudia’s liking. It was at her sister’s suggestion that J’Ann, her niece, took care of Ava for the weekend. Claudia had hired a babysitter before and it had not ended well.
The problem wasn’t that her sister’s daughter wasn’t experienced enough, she had, in fact, looked after many children… but it’s different when it’s your child and she could shake the feeling in the pit of her stomach when she thought of it. Claudia knew J’Ann well, but she didn’t know that the choice she was about to make would change her very life.
No Time Yet
Time before the trip was running out and Claudia had to make a choice now. Nobody had been able to commit to looking after Ava and the time to make a decision had come. Her choices were to risk her job by missing the trip or let her 15-year-old niece watch her precious daughter. She would come to regret her decision, she just didn’t know it yet.
J’Ann arrived a little early, always a good sign, still, it wasn’t enough to calm Claudia as her mind played and replayed all her unknown fears. J’Ann knew the house well so Claudia just ran her through the essentials — where the baby food was stored and how to make it, the diaper room and all its bits and bobs before handing her niece an extensive list of emergency numbers. Numbers that would prove useless when she was so far away.
She was soon in a cab and before she knew it, boarding the plane. Her worse moment yet was switching her phone to flight mode, cutting herself off from any news. It wasn’t a long flight but Claudia counted the minutes until they were due to land. She tried to focus on preparing for the meeting but her mind kept drifting to her daughter and whether she was okay or not. As more hours passed she got more anxious about her still lifeless phone.
Starting To Panic
It was a full flight today, with passengers jostling each other to get their carry-ons the best possible place. The tight space made Claudia feel a touch claustrophobic and she loosened her collar to breathe easier. The tight space and crush of people weren’t doing much to relieve her nerves and remembering Ava again gave way to rising panic. She just wanted to arrive already to find out what J’Ann was doing at home.
Finally, the plane was descending. She had her seat belt fastened tightly as she prepared for landing. With a bump, she was grounded again and finally allowed to use her phone. Turning the phone back on she waited for the loading screen to pass and saw a text message blink on her screen. It was a photo from J’Ann, sent moments after she had lifted off, so in fact hours old. The small thumbnail showed something that sent terror through her veins. Ava’s legs were completely wrong! What had happened?
Claudia’s brain couldn’t figure out what was happening to her baby in the picture and she was trying not to panic as she opened the thumbnail to get a better look. Seeing her baby looking so odd, almost contorted, was the last thing she had expected. She needed all the information and punched the message on the screen to see what message J’Ann had written to explain the photograph. She had some major explaining to do.
A Weird Text
The message seemed too mundane for the obscene picture that had Claudia’s brain twisting and turning for clarity. The 15-year-old’s message made no sense. She was saying something about wanting to make herself a sandwich. Making any food in the kitchen would mean leaving Ava alone for a time, albeit a short period. Unfortunately, Claudia’s frazzled and overwrought brain gave way to instinct and she pressed the speed dial button for 911.
Not Making Sense
Her daughter’s legs were so severely swollen that she couldn’t believe what her eyes were telling her. She’d never seen the pants that she was wearing either. Her muddled brain just wasn’t making any sense of the situation at all. Was it an allergy she didn’t know about? Her mind raced through every terrible scenario before she clicked and looked closer. She’d made a huge mistake.
Making A Plan
J’Ann was actually being an astoundingly good babysitter. She had thought about how protective her auntie was and figured that it wouldn’t be okay to leave baby Ava alone for even a second, so she had devised a solution to the problem. The problem solving 15-year-old had made a makeshift kangaroo pouch from a pair of particularly stretchy pants and little Ava was comfortably sitting right up close to the girl. It was a very out of the box solution.
Because Claudia couldn’t figure out what was happening in the picture her first reaction was to get a medical authority to her child as quickly as possible. She had thought her daughter was in dire need of attention. It was only after the fact that she’d slowed down enough to make sense of what was happening on the screen. Then she couldn’t contain herself. Laughter spilled out of her mouth, drawing looks from all around the aircraft.
The smart teenager had found a way to be the most responsible babysitter of all time and make herself a sandwich too. Finally, Claudia conceded that J’Ann was more than fully capable of looking after Ava. Relief washed over her as another giggle burst from her lips. Her niece certainly had the most original way of looking after a kid. J’Ann really did deserve recognition, and Claudia would make sure that she got it.
Claudia took to social media to show everyone the sweet solution her niece had cooked up in the kitchen, “So… I asked my niece to babysit Baby Ava… later I received a text saying that J’Ann wanted to make a sandwich but didn’t want to let baby Ava out of her sight. Lord send help this was her solution…creativity at its finest.” Facebook was ready with their reply.
Of course, such a funny picture was sure to go viral but it’s hit or miss which tone it can take. Well, the whole internet was congratulating the creativity of the teen babysitter. What was even better was that Claudia had finally found herself a reliable and capable babysitter whenever she needed to be out of town. The comments on Facebook were overwhelming.
Likes And Shares
Among one of the most frequent comments was in fact where other moms and caregivers could get those kangaroo pants. It was a much cheaper alternative to an expensive baby carrier. There were almost 300,000 like and shares of the photo and that sparked an idea. She was about to embark on an entrepreneurial venture of her own.
J’Ann hopes to raise enough money to create her own “J’Pants”. Claudia, being the supportive aunt that she is, even started a crowdfunding page on GoFundMe to see if they could raise enough money for J’Ann to get her business idea off the ground. Now she just needs to get the business model right.
As with all great ideas, everyone now wishes they were the one to think of it. Someone of Facebook commented: “Brilliant! Carried my babies around on my hip in the ’70s. I wish I had thought of this!” While others say that the idea had potential. Another user wrote: “you could make maternity pants that turn into this after! Get a patent on that! I see $$$$$$” So Does J’Ann!
Of course, Claudia is a now super supporter of J’Ann’s idea and of J’Ann herself. She will never forget how grateful she felt when she eventually figured out that confusing picture. Ava was so well taken care of that she was never out of sight for even a moment. Needless to say, Claudia will never feel anything but confident about her niece babysitting for her again.
Smart Young Lady
When Claudia wrote up the GoFundMe page this is some of what she said: “My niece J’Ann is so excited to design a working model. let’s encourage her to use her creativity to design something wonderful that will help caregivers everywhere!” The crowdfunding page has raised $215 so far, but many people are promising to back J’Ann. One user wrote: “I will be donating on my payday next Thursday. You are a very smart and intelligent young lady, don’t you ever forget that sweetie!” But Claudia wasn’t the only mom to get a surprise from her babysitter. Except what this mom got was far less pleasant. You’d think asking your mom to babysit would be the easiest choice but that’s not always true as this mom shows us.
She had been excited to see her daughter, although it had been nice to have the day off so that she could run some errands. But she never expected her own mother to put her in such a rage. It wasn’t the usual grandma offenses, either. She didn’t load Trish up with sugar or let her stay up past her bedtime. No – what she did was much, much worse. It wasn’t the usual grandma offenses, either. She didn’t load Trish up with sugar or let her stay up past her bedtime. No – what she did was much, much worse.
Trish greeted her mom excitedly, running up for a hug and handing her a manila envelope. Her mom, thinking nothing of it and expecting a doodle or love letter from her daughter, opened it up and unfolded the offending piece of paper inside. When she started to read, she couldn’t believe it. And then, she saw red.
The Perfect Sitter
Grandparents play a vital role in families. Everyone can agree that it’s great for them to spend time with their grandchildren and share the knowledge they have accumulated throughout the years. They always have funny stories and hold a wealth of history — it’s all the fun stuff without the responsibly of parenthood. Your job is done and dusted when your children move out and start their own families. But there’s nobody better suited to babysit than granny… or is there?
Burned By Grandma
Sophie and her mother had never quite seen eye-to-eye. As soon as she finished college, she got as far away from her as possible. Her two siblings followed closely behind, and soon, all the Miller sisters had put an entire state between themselves and their estranged mother. But Sophie thought that it was important for her daughter, Trish, to see her grandma from time to time. Trish’s visit to granny resulted in a scorned mother and a post to ‘Ask Amy’ named ‘Burned By Grandma’. You read that right.
Surely Grandma Miller can’t be blamed for making sure that 14-year-old Trish had a good time while she was visiting? She had planned everything down to the last detail. She’d booked train rides into the city to visit the Field Museum of Natural History and the Art Institute of Chicago, with stops for lunch and dinner in between. But then, she did something outrageous.
Taking The Cake
Mrs. Miller was a retired college professor, but to her daughters, she was well-known for being severe, petty, and emotionally cold. But what she had done on this occasion had taken the cake. Sophie kept reading the letter that had come home with her daughter, dumbstruck. She felt angry and betrayed. With nobody to turn to, she wrote the letter to an advice column that took the internet by storm.
“Dear Amy,” her letter begins innocently enough. “My mother lives in a beautiful lake house that has been in our family for 50 years, and for the second summer in a row, she had my (now 14-year-old) daughter to stay for three weeks.” But a granddaughter visiting her grandmother over summer vacation is common enough, right? Then, things took a strange turn.
Grandma took her granddaughter on a trip to the city to see a museum. One of the items on the list were the train tickets, as well as the admission fee to enter the museum. Their day in the city was certainly a fun-filled occasion for the two because this bill wasn’t small. What exactly did the bill add up to? This grandmother clearly turned this trip into a business transaction without informing her daughter.
It’s an incredibly bizarre story, or this is a weird family. She must have known that this would ruffle feathers. Grandparents are generally eager and excited to get to spend some time with their grandchildren. Was this grandmother teaching her daughter some kind of lesson? Sophie’s face turned white when she saw the bill.
An Itemized Bill
Inside the envelope was an itemized bill. Every item granny purchased for her granddaughter was charged back to the mother. “I sent a check for $300 to my mother to cover my daughter’s expenses during her visit. Upon my daughter’s return, my mother sent me an invoice for $475.50 for additional expenses, including the cost of gas to and from the airport to transport her (45 minutes away), train tickets to go to the city to a museum, and the cost of the museum admission. It was an itemized bill.”
“This is hurtful, as this past winter my mother came to live with us for four months and we paid for everything, including a nice vacation to an island over Christmas. Neither of my siblings has a relationship with my mother because she is petty and doesn’t respect boundaries — like a $300 budget,” Sophie continued in her letter. Maybe Ask Amy could provide some advice.
“How do I address her behavior? I am hurt and angry by her decision to charge me for gas to pick up her granddaughter from the airport, as well as the other expenses,” Sophie explained. “My mother is a single woman (a retired college professor), and we have never asked her to pay for anything. We even write her a check for groceries when she hosts Thanksgiving dinner,” she continued.
“Now I feel she has taken advantage of my generosity, and I don’t trust her to spend time with my daughter because it is just too costly for me (financially and emotionally).” The letter was signed off anonymously as ‘Burned by Grandma.’ But what could Sophie do about it?
Either way, since the trip the mother really is considering whether grandma will be allowed to babysit again, harsh as it would seem. But this was not exactly a request of some compensation for looking after the little girl, but a rather large itemized bill. Nobody ever said looking after children isn’t expensive, but this must have been a nightmare for Sophie. This grandma could have easily spent the time with her grandchild at home, not turning the trip into a lavish see-all and do-all trip.
Ask Amy had replied with the following advice: “You are going to have to express your concern directly to your mother. Your daughter’s trip to see Grammy has cost you (I’m estimating) around $1,000, with plane tickets, plus the invoiced expenses incurred while she was there.” The columnist was clearly trying hard to see both sides of the story…
“Is your mother financially insecure? Is she worried about maintaining her own lifestyle in retirement? These are legitimate concerns,” Ask Amy wrote. Then, she voiced another theory about grandma’s bizarre behavior. Was granny really trying to prove a point with her itemized bill? Sophie took a deep breath and considered the other reason for her mother’s unexpected babysitting bill.
Sticking To The Budget
“But is there a legitimate reason she couldn’t stay within the reasonable $300 budget, spending over twice that amount? Is this itemized bill her passive-aggressive way of telling you that she doesn’t actually want to host your daughter for such a long visit?” Amy wrote. “After you communicate your questions and concerns to your mother, you will have to make the tough decision about future visits.”
Will grandma ever be allowed to babysit again? Or is her point that she really doesn’t actually want to? A bit more communication would have prevented all this confusion and disappointment. What is strange about granny’s behavior is that it’s almost as if she resents that her granddaughter comes to visit. But should Sophie pay for a bill she really wasn’t expecting?
The internet is divided on this one. On one hand, Sophie did send Mrs. Miller $300 to cover Trish’s expenses during her stay, but did granny really need to spend all that extra money on expensive activities? And is granny justified in sending her daughter the bill? After all, Sophie footed the bill for her mother’s rent-free four-month stay previously. If it’s some sort of tit-for-tat, Sophie’s in the clear. But should grandmas be paid to babysit their grandkids?
A recent survey on HuffPost polarized readers on the issue of whether grandparents should be paid to babysit. “Yes. They deserve something extra for helping out,” wrote Melissa McCloskey. “It doesn’t have to be huge, but it should be something…” Another reader completely disagreed: “You are going to take money from your kids??” she wrote. “Not unless you really need the help financially, geez…” What do you think? Was Sophie’s mother in the wrong here?