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Crazy smiling woman in the eyeglasses

Filed Under , , on November 14th, 2015

Babysitter Odds

By Seth Kabala

During a Monday-morning weekend recap, a co-worker and I covered my performance guest worship leading at St Johns Wesleyan Church in North Portland, the awfulness of the new Adam Sandler movie Pixels, the superiority of Daniel Craig in the role of James Bond vs every other actor who has played the role, the opportunity costs of a career as a full-time musician vs a part-time player, and finally the rising cost of babysitting services. My colleague said she knew a woman who put herself through college providing weekend babysitting for couples who needed to get away for a couple days.

The money angle made me think about all the green my wife and I have paid over the years for babysitting services. I’ve paid anywhere from $40 to over $100 an occurrence based on first, the time expended, and second, the state of potential anarchy in which my children had been prior to our leaving them in the care of the sitter. Concerning this, the payment for services was part compensation for time, part comp for psychological damage, and part lawsuit insurance.

Thank Rosalyn from Calvin and Hobbes.

I kid, but only because of my own ignorance.

What kinds of behavioral reports do we get from the sitters? Outstanding reports. Amazing reports.  Glowing reports. Reports that–excuse my comments, future well-behaved and adjusted and successful adult Kabala children–are too good to be true.

Don’t me wrong. My children are good–most of the time. They’re reading pages of literary works drawn from those other than The Brain’s, eschewing a desire for overthrow of their parental overlords–most of the time. Sometimes, though, I see the teeth of world domination gears interlocking as they turn inside my childrens’ heads, which are, of course, transparent when bent on a course of total global control.

One Calvin and Hobbes strip has the adolescent trouble-maker and his A-Beautiful-Mind stuffed tiger shooting rubber darts at Rosalyn, the babysitter, as she makes her way upstairs to check on them. After narrowly escaping the onslaught of toy-store ordinance, Rosalyn takes on a visage I can only describe as Hexenbiest-ish–Can you tell we live in Portland and have been watching a lot of Grimm?–jaw dropping to chest level, eyes narrowing to slits of rage, rolling up her sleeves for what can only be assumed to be domestic abuse about to take place off-panel. You know, the fun-filled, animated kind.

Rosalyn makes a lot of snide comments when Calvin’s parents come home for the evening. But she takes their money and keeps coming back. What if, however, she keeps coming back because she’s been psychologically manipulated? What if Calvin and Hobbes’ have so damaged her ability to deal with the world that she feels she has no choice but to return to the scene of the abuse? Sort of a weird take on Stockholm syndrome.

As it pertains to my children, again, I have no evidence. But with the advent of dystopian movie franchises like The Hunger Games, I think about my kids dropping the babysitter into a manufactured land where wild fires are conjured from nothing and melt your skin, and rabid dogs are hungry for a bloody feast, and if you manage to escape the quasi-natural dangers, there’s always an archer with a razor-edged arrow that has your name stamped into the tip.

Picture the babysitter running around with Katniss Everdeen. How long do you think she’ll last?

Hopefully until the movie is over, because we need some alone time. At Midnight, the spell breaks, and we must return to the master manipulators and face the slings and arrows of rubber.

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Seth Kabala

About: Seth Kabala
Seth is an entrepreneur, writer, musician, family man, and juggler of balls--big ones. He lives with his wife and three children in Portland, OR.

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