Scoring Free, High-Quality Babysitting

By Rebeldad Brian Reid

I can't remember exactly what the going rate for babysitting was when I was a teenager, but I don't ever remember the wrinkled bills my next-door neighbors pressed into my hand at the end of the night making much of a material difference in my life.

Now, as a parent, babysitting has the potential to make a much bigger material difference. The New York Times reports that high school kids are bringing in much as 15 bucks an hour to make mac-n-cheese, supervise some tooth brushing and read a book or two. Even by the slightly more modest standards of my neighborhood, dinner and a movie means $40 in babysitting. At a couple of dates a month, that's $1,000 a year.

I haven't shelled out for babysitting in years, instead falling back on the it-takes-a-village approach to care that I've mentioned before. In my child-dense neighborhood, trading babysitting obligations with the parents up the block has proven to be a much better deal than hiring the kids down the street.

The idea of kid-swapping -- and the more formal babysitting co-op -- isn't a new one, but the Times suggests that the co-op movement is growing in popularity, with books on the topic becoming increasingly popular.

I know a handful of families that are involved in co-ops, almost all of them thrilled with the idea of having experience parents sit for free. My wife and I have explored making the leap to a formal co-op, but we seemed to be derailed by the fact that a) the current arrangements work pretty well and b) I have a deep aversion to bureaucracy, and the idea of keeping track of points or poker chips or Monopoly money is enough to give me pause.

Of course, I do feel like a derelict husband for not having a Rolodex of a dozen high school students who can be pressed into service at a moment's notice. Last-minute nights out are hard to come by; organizing babysitting swaps with friends takes a certain amount of planning, and I'm about as good at planning as I am at dealing with bureaucracy.

I'd love to hear from those of you who have co-op experience. What works? What doesn't? And for those of you operating without a co-op, what do the local teens really charge?

Brian Reid writes about parenting and work-family balance. You can read his blog at rebeldad.com.

By Brian Reid |  July 12, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Childcare
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Comments

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We pay $12 a hour for two very young children being watched by a grown woman with 25 years of preschool teaching experience. I would never trust a teenager with my 1 and 4 year olds.

Posted by: Tally | July 12, 2007 7:28 AM

The kid swap works great for us, but I wonder about single parents? How are they able to manage? Do they do this? In our neighborhood the expectation is that when the parents retrun from their date, their child is asleep in their room-- but to work that as a single parent, you'd have to bring your child with you and risk having them fall asleep and then shlep a sleeping child back to your house. OR the single parent would say, sure I can watch your kid, but it'll have to be at my place. With married/coupled parents one stays with their kids, and the other goes the other parents house and it works great.

Posted by: Jen S. | July 12, 2007 7:43 AM

The kid swap works great for us, but I wonder about single parents? How are they able to manage? Do they do this? In our neighborhood the expectation is that when the parents retrun from their date, their child is asleep in their room-- but to work that as a single parent, you'd have to bring your child with you and risk having them fall asleep and then shlep a sleeping child back to your house. OR the single parent would say, sure I can watch your kid, but it'll have to be at my place.

Posted by: Jen S. | July 12, 2007 7:45 AM

I was in a babysitting coop for nearly a decade while I was a SAHM mom. Daytime swaps were at the sitter's house, at night the sitter came to your house. Hours were earned were called into a secretary - there were 30 families in the coop (always a waiting list), and the job of secretary rotated on a monthly basis, so that meant you did it like once every 2 1/2 years - not much of a bureaucratic burden. It was fabulous - cost free, worry free babysitting at a time when we were so dead broke that we never would have gotten out if we had to pay even the modest babysitting rates at the time, to say nothing of the problem of finding an available and reliable teen. The only down side was having to face the fact that other parents prefered my husband over me for the night time sits - he started doing them when our uber-fussy youngest was born, since it was a major crisis for me to be away from her, even for a couple of hours. After a while, othe members would call and specifically ask for HIM for an evening sit, saying he was their kids favorite sitter. I used to joke with him about being married to Mary Poppins!

Posted by: mommywarvet | July 12, 2007 7:45 AM

I've never quite understood the concept of trying to get away with paying the least amount possible for babysitting. Sure, the price should be commensurate with the experience and services offered, but come on! These people are taking care of your children, not your houseplants. Why should you pay someone more money to mow your lawn than to watch your children? Now a co-op I could see, but I wouldn't begrudge paying someone $40 to watch my kids for an evening.

Posted by: Is it Friday yet? | July 12, 2007 7:53 AM

Brian

Make sure background checks are done on all of the members of the co-op!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 7:56 AM

I pay a high schooler $8 an hour to watch my 4 and 7 year olds. She was a counselor at my son's preschool camp last summer - he just fell in love with her and I knew we could trust her since she worked at the preschool. Both kids look forward to her coming over so it's a win-win for everyone. When the kids were younger I used college students that I found on an American University website and paid between $10 and $12 an hour. I've never done a babysitting swap with another family although I've had some of my daughter's friends over for sleep-overs to help parents out.

Posted by: PT Fed Mof2 | July 12, 2007 8:00 AM

A friend of mine went on a date that started around 10 PM. She asked her older daughter (13) to watch the younger one (5), promising $20 to the older and $10 to the younger, for good behaviour. Both kids were thriled to get the money that normally would go to high school kid down the street for doing essentially nothing. The funny part was that the older kid was so excited that she fell asleep before the younger (and before he mom left), so she was sorely tempted to reverse the payoff terms. Before you advise me to call CPS on her -- it happened 5 years ago, the kids are still alive and well, and the story is part of the family lore. It's called "Baby"sitting for a reason: if a kid can walk to school/get on a school bus/is of legal age to be left alone (7 or 8 years old in most jurisdictions ) -- go for it. Give her/him a computer, a couple of DVDs, well stocked fridge and drop the "baby" sitter.

Posted by: Home alone | July 12, 2007 8:01 AM

No wonder the under-16 crowd has to beg their parents for money. No babysitting opportunities!! We have an au pair who lives in, so we haven't had to deal with babysitters in a while. But there are two teenagers who I have my eye on. They're both very responsible young women. I don't care for the parenting/babysitting style of either of the women who've volunteered to swap with me. I'll watch their kids, but they're not going to watc mine. With one of them, she's a screamer and it upsets my children, and the other is so distracted that she's almost not visible.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | July 12, 2007 8:15 AM

If you want to be safe, never ever have a teenage boy or a man babysit your kids unless the guy has his girlfriend / wife there to help out.

Posted by: Victimized & Abused | July 12, 2007 8:17 AM

WorkingMomX

"I don't care for the parenting/babysitting style of either of the women who've volunteered to swap with me. I'll watch their kids, but they're not going to watc mine. "

A twist. Neighbor's kids are MONSTERS. It is exhausting to be with them for 2 minutes. I don't want my kids near the parents of these brats and I will NEVER let these kids in my house again. It's a cinch that they will end up in handcuffs.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 8:22 AM

It's the other way round-kids don't need the money and that's why babysitting's so expensive.

Posted by: atlmom | July 12, 2007 8:27 AM

"It's called "Baby"sitting for a reason: if a kid can walk to school/get on a school bus/is of legal age to be left alone (7 or 8 years old in most jurisdictions ) -- go for it. Give her/him a computer, a couple of DVDs, well stocked fridge and drop the "baby" sitter."
________________________

Yikes! A 7 or 8 year old left alone for a whole evening????????? Could that child handle a real emergency? Be counted on to be responsible?

Here's the Virginia guidelines:

7 & under Should not be left alone for any period of time. This may include leaving children unattended in cars, playgrounds, and backyards. The determining consideration would be the dangers in the environment and the ability of the caretaker to intervene.

8 to 10 yrs. Should not be left alone for more than 1½ hours and only during daylight and early evening hours.

11 to 12 yrs. May be left alone for up to 3 hours but not late at night or in circumstances requiring inappropriate responsibility.

13 to 15 yrs. May be left unsupervised, but not overnight.

16 to 17 yrs. May be left unsupervised (in some cases, for up to two consecutive overnight periods).


Posted by: Kattoo | July 12, 2007 8:34 AM

Depends on the sitter. I have one sitter who only comes over after our 2 year goes to bed. She never sees him, she gets $6 an hour. I have a colege age babysitter and a professional nanny who make $10 an hour. And I normally tip on that.

Posted by: jodi | July 12, 2007 8:34 AM

Another blog topic pretty much exhausted by 9:00 a.m. ....

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 8:34 AM

It's the other way round-kids don't need the money and that's why babysitting's so expensive.

Posted by: atlmom | July 12, 2007 08:27 AM

_________________

I totally agree! Kids aren't hungry enough to earn money these days...they're already getting all the money/stuff they need/want from their parents.

Posted by: kattoo | July 12, 2007 8:39 AM

Not that I want to start this battle again, but my brother was a wonderful babysitter. "Victimized and Abused," not all men have uncontrollable impulses to abuse children, and not all women are free from those impulses. Your advice would be better as "be sure to get tons of references from any potential babysitter, teach your child about inappropriate touching, ask your child how the night went, and trust your gut if something doesn't seem right."

Posted by: Meesh | July 12, 2007 8:42 AM

Best free babysitting == grandparents! Of course, a lot of people don't live close to extended family anymore, so not everyone can have Granma keep the kiddies overnight.

The only times I had to pay for sitting was when I lived in Savannah (before that, I was in my hometown, and in Raleigh I had my sister nearby). One piece of advice I have is to make sure your sitter (especially if the sitter is a teenager) has taken and passed a safety course of some type. The Islands 'Y' offered babysitting classes to potential babysitters who were at least 13 years old. If you're hiring anyone younger than college age, I would also suggest hiring someone whose parents are very close by. Our sitter in Savannah lived on our cul-de-sac, so if anything had gone wrong, she would have had her parents pretty much right there.

Posted by: educmom | July 12, 2007 8:42 AM

"I totally agree! Kids aren't hungry enough to earn money these days...they're already getting all the money/stuff they need/want from their parents"

Yup, in my day we worked like dogs for 5 cents an hour, and we liked it!

Posted by: Old Fart | July 12, 2007 8:44 AM

kattoo

"I totally agree! Kids aren't hungry enough to earn money these days...they're already getting all the money/stuff they need/want from their parents.

Yes. I rarely see kids wih shovels or rakes looking for work these days. When I was a teenager, we raced to pick up these small jobs.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 8:44 AM

*only times I had to pay for sitting was*

I meant *only times I had to pay for sitting were* -- need more caffiene...

And, I paid $5/hr, but that was more than 10 years ago.

Posted by: educmom | July 12, 2007 8:46 AM

If you had them, why should somebody else sacrifice their time to take care of them? Pay for the care of your own kids, for Pete's sake. I suppose you want free childcare, free health care, free elder care, free schools, all paid for by the Government. Then you get defensive when the Government wants to search your luggage at the airport.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 8:47 AM

I think co-op arrangements are a great idea, and I hope that when we have kids we'll be able to swap instead of hirirng someone.

But don't complain too much about how much it costs to hire a babysitter. My brothers always made more than me in a half hour of mowing someone's lawn than I did for a whole evening babysitting multiple kids. I realize that babysitting might not be as physically strenuous, but I think priorities can get a little skewed sometimes. I'm glad to hear that rates for babysitting have increased since I was a teenager.

Posted by: Carifly | July 12, 2007 8:48 AM

"If you had them, why should somebody else sacrifice their time to take care of them? Pay for the care of your own kids, for Pete's sake. I suppose you want free childcare, free health care, free elder care, free schools, all paid for by the Government. Then you get defensive when the Government wants to search your luggage at the airport"

Um...aren't public school free?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 8:48 AM

I participate in a sitting co-op w/ my moms club. It works well for daytime sitting but not so well for evenings. It's done on a point system with points earned/paid for 15 minutes of sitting, extra half points for each additional child. Evening and weekend sits are double points. Members take turns being the coordinator to keep the point tallies.

For evenings we use either an adult sitter for $12 for 2 kids, age 2 and 4, or a high school student for $8. I'm equally comfortable with both of them but the adult tends to be available more often. It seems like the mature, responsible teens are also very busy. Our teen sitter (I'll call her "Anne") is on swim team, involved in drama productions, church youth group, sr. girl scouts, and works as a life guard in the summer. She is also less reliant on babysitting pay. Our adult sitter (aka "Marta") is a foreign college student and relies on sitting income to pay the bills.

We could probably pay as little as $5/hr for a teenager. That's what Anne originally quoted but we felt that wasn't a fair rate, given that we'd been paying college students $12/hr. So, we initially paid her $7/hr and raised her to $8 when she got her driver's license, meaning we no longer have to pick her up/take her home. I also figure that with her busy schedule she's more likely to make time to sit if we're paying a bit more.

I don't think I'd be comfortable with a teenager I've never met, but Anne is from our church and we know her family and spent a bit of time with her before asking her to babysit. We have also used a couple friends of hers (also kids we're familiar with from church) when we've been in a bind and Anne and Marta were both unavailable. That has worked out fine and I trust Anne's recommendations. She also has a little sister who I'll have to start trying out for babysitting. Anne is a senior this year so I only have one more year with her. That's one problem with teenagers -- they all leave for college!

Posted by: Suzanne | July 12, 2007 8:48 AM

Victimized & Abused AKA Father of 4

"If you want to be safe, never ever have a teenage boy or a man babysit your kids unless the guy has his girlfriend / wife there to help out."

Right. Men never ever commit crimes when the girlfiend/wife is around. Get real!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 8:49 AM

If you want to be safe, never ever have a teenage boy or a man babysit your kids unless the guy has his girlfriend / wife there to help out.


Get help, please.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 8:49 AM

I can see some potential problems with a babysitting co-op. Like others have posted, you may not like other parents or other kids in the co-op. How can you avoid them? Also, does anybody worry about other parents suing you if something happens to their kid in your house or yard? Do you have people sign a waiver before accepting their kids into your home?

Posted by: Meesh | July 12, 2007 8:50 AM

We pay $15 an hour for most of the babysitters (all 20 somethings with other jobs during the day but looking for extra cash in the pm). One babysitter charges $20 and hour. She is a preschool teacher at my kids school. We have 2 kids age 3 and 5.

I have not had to hire teenagers. I hire the young adults that are recently married and desparately need money (working 2 and 3 jobs -- one of which is babysitting). I absolutely dont begrudge them the money and in fact we usually give them tips because I know how hard it is at the beginning and we can afford to do so. The result is that we frequently have babysitters calling us asking when we are going out again.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 8:51 AM

If you had them, why should somebody else sacrifice their time to take care of them? Pay for the care of your own kids, for Pete's sake. I suppose you want free childcare, free health care, free elder care, free schools, all paid for by the Government. Then you get defensive when the Government wants to search your luggage at the airport.
__________

What does all that have to do with security checks at the airport??

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 8:52 AM

We hire a professional nanny to sit (she's another family's nanny, but wants to earn extra money on the weekends). The rate is $15 per hour (which is in the normal range in our area for someone with her experience) - even though our daughter is 7 months old and asleep for the vast majority of the time the sitter is there. There are plenty of areas in our lives that we can and do look to economize, but the person taking care of our daughter is not one of them. It does limit what we do when we go out, though - the $45-$60 comes out of the overall entertainment budget.

Posted by: BLE | July 12, 2007 8:54 AM

Re: Cost of teenaged babysitters. I agree it is a supply/demand situation pushing up the cost of hiring a teenage sitter (too few sitters available for the jobs pushes up the pay for those who take the jobs). But I've found it isn't that teens don't want or need the money they could earn. It seems to be a case of the teens simply not having the time to babysit with the academic demands and extra-curricular activities expected of them to apply to college.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 8:55 AM

"What does all that have to do with security checks at the airport??"

Nothing. Today's topic is boring.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 8:56 AM

"Yes. I rarely see kids wih shovels or rakes looking for work these days. When I was a teenager, we raced to pick up these small jobs."

Totally! I mowed lawns and shovelled sidewalks as a kid.

I put an ad on Craigslist for someone to let my dogs out on days when both my husband and I are at work. I offered $8 per visit. That's $8 to open the back door and close it 20 minutes later. I only got one reply, and she later blew me off! It's summer; where are all the broke kids looking for extra cash?

Posted by: Meesh | July 12, 2007 8:56 AM

Meesh, you asked "Also, does anybody worry about other parents suing you if something happens to their kid in your house or yard? Do you have people sign a waiver before accepting their kids into your home?"

Maybe it's naive, but no. We have a $1 million umbrella policy (I think that's what it's called) and I guess that's what we would turn to if someone decided to sue us for an injury that occurred on our property.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | July 12, 2007 9:01 AM

"It's summer; where are all the broke kids looking for extra cash?"

Asking their parents for it of course. One of the guys I work with was just complaining about this exact problem with his 17yo daughter. Twenty bucks here, 10 bucks there every day. He told her the well is drying up and she should find a way to earn her own movie money or start helping around the house. Much bigger problems here of course but seems to be a trend among many teenages (not all obviously).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | July 12, 2007 9:01 AM

Meesh

"It's summer; where are all the broke kids looking for extra cash?"

There have been times where I would have been thrilled to earn $15.00 an hour doing almost anything, but I can't stand kids.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 9:02 AM

Have you also noticed that the career of a teenaged babysitter is very, very short! When they're 12, turning 13, they're very excited and want to sit. They take the babysitting class at the local hospital, and they arrive games in hand--and really play with your child. Then, by the time they're 14, they don't want to do it. They have a bigger social life--and will do it occasionally. Then, by the time they're 15, forget it. Their social calendar is booked!

Posted by: kattoo | July 12, 2007 9:02 AM

This morning, I heard on the radio about a survey of moms. Moms would rather work part-time than full time. And they'd rather work, than not work. Did anyone else hear that? I think it's interesting that moms would rather work, than not.

Posted by: An alternate topic... | July 12, 2007 9:06 AM

With both of us working full-time and using a center for day care we rarely, rarely go out on nights or weekends because we don't want more time away. So, we only hire a babysitter about two times a year when it cannot be avoided. We pay about $10 an hour for one 4-year-old. We also "round up" when calculating the payment, if it doesn't come out an even number of hours. Other mothers in my neighborhood think we pay wayyyyy too much (they pay more like $6 or $7 an hour), but if we need someone we NEVER have a problem getting a sitter.

Side note: I am one of five daughters. I grew up in a house of girls who babysat. I babysat. Everyone of us will tell you it was the families who could least afford it that paid the best.

Posted by: higher.ed.mom | July 12, 2007 9:08 AM

"This morning, I heard on the radio about a survey of moms. Moms would rather work part-time than full time. And they'd rather work, than not work. Did anyone else hear that? I think it's interesting that moms would rather work, than not."

See front-page post article:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/11/AR2007071102345.html?hpid=topnews

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 9:09 AM

"This morning, I heard on the radio about a survey of moms. Moms would rather work part-time than full time. And they'd rather work, than not work. Did anyone else hear that? I think it's interesting that moms would rather work, than not."

This is news?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 9:12 AM

"I suppose you want free childcare, free health care, free elder care, free schools, all paid for by the Government."


Yep, I want all of those thing! Except, that "government" money is MY money, they didn't pull it out of thin air!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 9:15 AM

Even single people would rather work part-time (but need full-time pay - know of any gigs like that?)

Posted by: KLB SS MD | July 12, 2007 9:17 AM

KLB - your friend's daughter is 17 and doesn't have a summer job? That is one huge change from when I was that age...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 9:18 AM

Here's another "alternate topic." Do you feel more balanced during the summer, or the school year? I always feel much more balanced during the summer. I think it's because:

1) I still have a few hours of daylight left when I get home...and my son and I can spend a leasurely evening at the pool, or doing something else fun.

2) There's no homework.

3) Bedtimes can be a bit more flexible... camp isn't on such a rigid schedule. And who cares if the kids are a bit cranky at camp.

4) More people are outside--it's easy to walk out the door and socialize.

BUT...I have a friend who always seems to have MORE working guilt in the summer than during the school year. Her kids are in camp with mine. But she feels they should be home just hanging out.

Posted by: Kattoo | July 12, 2007 9:19 AM

"This morning, I heard on the radio about a survey of moms. Moms would rather work part-time than full time. And they'd rather work, than not work. Did anyone else hear that? I think it's interesting that moms would rather work, than not."

Looking over the survey quickly, a couple of points:

- Full-time employed mothers were typically dissatisfied with that choice [only 21% saw it as preferred] -- as compared to 48% of SAHMs who saw their choice as preferred.

- 34% of employed women believe that it is a good thing for society that more women with young children are working (as opposed to 22% of SAHMs viewing it positively]. Conversely, 44% of SAHMs and 34% of WOHMs view an increase in the number of mothers of young children who are working as bad for society [note: the question is specifically focused on mothers with young children -- not all working mothers].

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 9:22 AM

"I put an ad on Craigslist for someone to let my dogs out on days when both my husband and I are at work. I offered $8 per visit. That's $8 to open the back door and close it 20 minutes later. I only got one reply, and she later blew me off! It's summer; where are all the broke kids looking for extra cash?"

How often would need the kid, i.e., are the days you and your husband both work regular or sporadic. What time of day do you need the help? I have teens and they want regular work, not sporadic. Plus, the 15-year-old could only accept something in the evening/weekend or something she can get to on her own since we work and can't transport her. Granted, many kids don't need the money and many don't want to do just any work (my kids refuse any sort of food service including both fast-food and waitressing). We don't require our teens to look for a job before age 16. They are minor children who we support. At age 16, we do expect them to earn some money of their own. My kids are taking the retail, camp counseling, baby/pet sitting path rather than food service.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 9:26 AM

Here's the Virginia guidelines:

But Kattoo, Virginia doesn't actually have any law regarding a child being home alone past the age of 8.

So it's legal and CPS isn't necessary unless you leave the kid for more than a few hours. Say, overnight.

Would I do it? No. But it's not illegal, either.

Posted by: to Kattoo | July 12, 2007 9:28 AM

Here's the Virginia guidelines:

But Kattoo, Virginia doesn't actually have any law regarding a child being home alone past the age of 8.

So it's legal and CPS isn't necessary unless you leave the kid for more than a few hours. Say, overnight.

Would I do it? No. But it's not illegal, either.

Posted by: to Kattoo | July 12, 2007 09:28 AM

_______________________

I didn't say it was illegal. I was just posting the "guidelines." And quite honestly, I feel the guidelines are lenient. I don't think a child should be left alone at home for any length of time until they're 10 or 11. But that's just me.

Posted by: kattoo | July 12, 2007 9:31 AM

Actually, only Illinois and Maryland have laws on the books regarding leaving kids home alone.

Frequently Asked Questions, by the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services (DJS), has the following information about the legal age to be left home alone in Maryland:

Q: "At what age can a child be left home alone in Maryland?"
A: Family Law Article, § 5-801, provides:

(a) A person who is charged with the care of a child under the age of 8 years may not allow the child to be locked or confined in a dwelling, building, enclosure, or motor vehicle while the person charged is absent and the dwelling, building, enclosure, or motor vehicle is out of the sight of the person charged unless the person charged provides a reliable person at least 13 years old to remain with the child to protect the child.

(b) A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine not exceeding $500 or imprisonment not exceeding 30 days, or both.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 9:33 AM

We were spoiled for the past year with my brother a block away and looking for ways to pick up some extra cash -- we actually set it up so he'd come over every weekend for a few hours. Since neither of us is very good at advance planning, it was nice to have a regular setup where we had built-in couple time every weekend (even if it was just a cheesesteak and Home Depot).

Now that he's moved away, we're rediscovering the local teenagers (when we remember to call!). Luckily, my daughter loves the girl across the street, who is still young enough (15) to want to play with her. We pay @ $7.50-8/hr.

The biggest effect of the cost of babysitting on us is that we almost never see a movie. It's bad enough to pay $40+ for movie tickets and food for the two of us (since it's just not a movie without fake butter and snowcaps). But then the babysitting basically doubles the cost. And I've realized that there are very few movies that I'm willing to pay $80 to go see. So now we tend to use our rare babysitting evenings to go do something like have a nice dinner somewhere, and the movies we just rent 6 months later.

I would love a babysitting co-op, especially if the kids were close in age. We love having my daughter's friends/cousins over, because she is now old enough that they can go play by themselves -- it actually tends to make life easier. So I'd love to have a setup where we could trade off evenings out. But most of her friends live far enough away that that hasn't really worked out so far. Oh well.

Posted by: Laura | July 12, 2007 9:33 AM

"1) I still have a few hours of daylight left when I get home...and my son and I can spend a leasurely evening at the pool, or doing something else fun."

Camp starts at 9:00, school starts before 8:00. I get to work later, stay at work later, get home later, dinner later, etc. True, there's no homework, but I ultimately have no more free time in the evening than during the school year.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 9:34 AM

I live in Howard County; we pay teenage sitters $8/hour. Same for college-age. If I have my daycare provider or another similarly qualified adult watching the kids we pay $10/hour, which I think is a bargain given the price of nannies. We are very fortunate to know some great teenage/college age girls from church and through coworkers--they're good kids, resourceful, thoughtful with my children and we know their (nice, responsible) parents. I like the co-op idea, but it seems that it would result in the kids being cared for by a number of different people who they wouldn't know as well--I'd rather they be cared for by their beloved and familiar teenaged sitters.

Posted by: eliette | July 12, 2007 9:36 AM

"Camp starts at 9:00, school starts before 8:00. I get to work later, stay at work later, get home later, dinner later, etc. True, there's no homework, but I ultimately have no more free time in the evening than during the school year."

Boo, hoo. You poor little thing.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 9:38 AM

"This morning, I heard on the radio about a survey of moms. Moms would rather work part-time than full time."

IMHO, Moms wouldn't mind full time as much if full time was the traditional 40 hours per week rather than 50 hours or more. How did we let this happen? I do work a traditional 40 hours per week and I'm amazed at how many people I know consider 40 hours part time. Personally, I would like 6 hour work days rather than 8. I have a very reasonable commute, so if I were part time I would actually prefer shorter days M-F over a 4 day week of fuller days.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 9:39 AM

Why teenagers don't babysit:
1. our parents don't encourage it because of potential liability if smth happens to the kid (or to us, but that's secondary)
2. when I was not driving it was up to parents to drive me there. hard to juggle the schedules. Mostly had to do it as a favor to parents' friends.
3. now the parents of the kids to be babysat mostly don't want to pay for my driving time. I don't want to waste an hour of unpaid round trip (on average) either.
4. the unpredictable nature of the work, I would take 4 hours of b/s with half an hour travel scheduled at the same agreed upon time every week or two. Instead I get frantic calls for 2 hours of b/s RIGHT NOW with 1h travel time (unpaid). It just doesn't compute.
5, it's not a real job you can put on your resume.
6. I get much more respect at Home Depot (fixed hours pt after school). I learn more here. I can chill out with my friends during breaks. The boss makes all the decisions, and the pay is better.
7. if I need somebody to judge my "parenting" style, I'll get myself a mother-in-law, not neiborhood moms.

Posted by: Lola | July 12, 2007 9:40 AM

"Camp starts at 9:00, school starts before 8:00. I get to work later, stay at work later, get home later, dinner later, etc. True, there's no homework, but I ultimately have no more free time in the evening than during the school year."

Boo, hoo. You poor little thing.

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 09:38 AM

____________

Y'know. The original post was fine. Your response is RUDE!

Posted by: Kattoo | July 12, 2007 9:43 AM

"Yes. I rarely see kids wih shovels or rakes looking for work these days. When I was a teenager, we raced to pick up these small jobs."

"It's summer; where are all the broke kids looking for extra cash?"
------

Kids today don't have free time to look for odd jobs because their lives are completely scheduled. All of their free time is taken up by organized activities, even in the summer. Parents would rather give their kids an "edge" by having them in activities and such and give them spending money themselves instead of having the kids "waste their time" working a menial job. Of course working teaches kids a lot of valuable life skills, but it doesn't look as good on a college application as a summer enrichment program.

As for the babysitting co-op question, we were in one for a few months. We thought it was a great idea but my wife and I quickly realized we really don't like watching other people's kids.

Posted by: Dennis | July 12, 2007 9:45 AM

Lola

More of Why teenagers don't babysit:

Parents who write checks that bounce
Parents who don't pay the same day
Kids with long lists of allergies, special needs
Kids who are so needy for attention and love that it breaks my heart to come back to your house and see you treat them as trophies
Pervy dads who hit on me

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 9:46 AM

"Camp starts at 9:00, school starts before 8:00. I get to work later, stay at work later, get home later, dinner later, etc. True, there's no homework, but I ultimately have no more free time in the evening than during the school year."

Boo, hoo. You poor little thing.

You know, I was only responding to someone's question about the difference between school year and summer balance. I was just stating facts - how my schedule changes. It was by no means meant to be a complaint. Maybe you should stop being so negative that you read negativity into everything.

To be honest, by the end of school, I can't wait for summer and by the end of summer, I can't wait for school to begin.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 9:47 AM

"now the parents of the kids to be babysat mostly don't want to pay for my driving time. I don't want to waste an hour of unpaid round trip (on average) either."

Lola, does home depot pay for your commuting time? I bet not. You have some very good points but complaining about not getting paid for your travel time makes you sound like a whiner.

Posted by: Joe | July 12, 2007 9:49 AM

"Lola, does home depot pay for your commuting time? I bet not."

I bet that home depot is closer and involves less commuting time. Teenagers generally don't take jobs that require that much travel.

Posted by: I'm not Lola | July 12, 2007 9:51 AM

After 4 years as parents, we finally started getting a baby sitter regularly. They charge about $10 an hr to take care of our 1 and 4 year old kids. We have been using three baby sitters. Unfortunately, they are all going back to college at the end of the summer, so we are going to have to find another one in the neighborhood. Anyway, I love it. It's great. Last weekend we went to Morton's and this weekend we're going to see the new Harry Potter movie.

This co-op/kidswap thing sounds like a great idea, I may consider that. But I'm not sure how it works. Do the other kids come sleep over? Does one parent go to the other kid's house while the other stays with their own children?

Posted by: Cliff | July 12, 2007 9:52 AM

RE: Kids with special needs...I can see that being a factor, when I was babysitting back in the 70s we didn't have kids with ADHD/peanut (or whatever) allergies/sensory problems/behavior issues etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. How do parents deal with that???

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 9:52 AM

Joe

"Lola, does home depot pay for your commuting time? I bet not. You have some very good points but complaining about not getting paid for your travel time makes you sound like a whiner."

Home Depot probably has a predictable schedule so Lola can minimize her travel time/expenses.

I suppose I'm a whiner when I bring up the pervy dads hitting on me.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 9:54 AM

"I suppose I'm a whiner when I bring up the pervy dads hitting on me."

FWIW - As a dad, I initially thought I was just being paranoid telling my wife that I always wanted her to be the person that drives the babysitter home at night [assuming that they are too young to drive] -- talking with a couple of other dads in on the block I found out that all of them had also come up with that rule independently.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 10:00 AM

"Kids today don't have free time to look for odd jobs because their lives are completely scheduled. All of their free time is taken up by organized activities, even in the summer. Parents would rather give their kids an "edge" by having them in activities and such and give them spending money themselves instead of having the kids "waste their time" working a menial job. Of course working teaches kids a lot of valuable life skills, but it doesn't look as good on a college application as a summer enrichment program."

Bingo, very good point! As for why kids don't mow lawns or shovel driveways, what about all those sexual predators that are out there? Much safer to keep the kids under lock and key (at least that is what we have been led to believe by the media)

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 10:00 AM

We have "movie" night with two other families. Once a month one family takes all the kids and the other two sets go out for the evening. Granted, since our kids are smaller, the evenings are earlier but it works for us and you end up hosting just 4 times a year. We also had a play group for awhile that rotated amongst 3 or 4 families that met every Wed. afternoon, so moms could get things done.

Re: balance in summer or school time. I agree with the poster that at the end of school I can't wait for summer and at the end of summer, I can't wait for school. I enjoy the summer because I think there is more time to enjoy my kids as opposed to going to sporting activities and working on homework.

Posted by: Moxiemom | July 12, 2007 10:00 AM

Moxiemom

"Once a month one family takes all the kids and the other two sets go out for the evening."

How many kids? How do you handle disciplne? Are the husbands really involved or are they shadowy figures in the background?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 10:06 AM

I still remember, with loathing, the one couple up the street. Here's a primer on how not to treat your babysitter.

The very last time that I, or any of my neighborhood friends, took care of their pair of incredibly entitled and difficult children (I blame the parents!), was the night they called 10" before they needed to leave, stayed out 2 hours later than they said they would and paid me IN PENNIES when they got back.

No, he didn't hit up on me, but neither of them offered to drive me home (only a block) at midnight. It's not that it wasn't safe, it was the principle of the thing.

I can only hope their two little girls turned out okay, despite their parents.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | July 12, 2007 10:07 AM

Things seem to have really changed in the last 15 years or so. When I was a teenaged babysitter (and when I was a child being babysat), the sitters were all 12-14. I never heard of anyone hiring a college student for their occasional evening babysitting. For a full-time regular babysitter, of course, but not for the occasional weekend evening. And watching a few kids for an evening just wasn't that hard. In fact, it was a pretty great gig because you usually put the kids to bed after a few hours and got paid to watch TV.

Why the change that parents now feel a young teenager isn't adequate to watch your children sleep?

Posted by: Kathrina | July 12, 2007 10:08 AM

Wow. Back when I babysat for money (I do it for free now, go figure) we're talking $3 to 5$ an hour it's been so long, the dads always picked me up and dropped me off! We're talking the late 80's, early 90's. Then I got my license and a car and the parents loved that I could drive and they didn't have to pick me up. And I stayed local for the first two years of college, so that helped, too.

There was one summer that I babysat and "house-sat" (watered plants, took in the mail, fed the cats while people were away) so much that I did quite well and didn't need a "real job"!

Posted by: WDC | July 12, 2007 10:11 AM

"Home Depot probably has a predictable schedule so Lola can minimize her travel time/expenses.

I suppose I'm a whiner when I bring up the pervy dads hitting on me."

And those are valid points. But there is no job that is going to pay you for your commuting time.

Posted by: Joe | July 12, 2007 10:12 AM

"Why the change that parents now feel a young teenager isn't adequate to watch your children sleep?"

The same reason that parents won't use a daycare provider or daycare center where all workers aren't formally trained in early childhood development.

They live in fear that their children won't have the very, very best.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 10:14 AM

Kathrina

"Why the change that parents now feel a young teenager isn't adequate to watch your children sleep?"

There isn't enough space here to explain why people are cuckoo birds.. The short answer is that a lot of families now revolve around the CHILDREN, oh the children, instead of the parents.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 10:15 AM

Does PT Fed Mof2 have the web address for
the American University babysitting? I can not find a babysitter in our neighborhood.

Posted by: shdd | July 12, 2007 10:16 AM

Does PT Fed Mof2 have the web address for
the American University babysitting? I can not find a babysitter in our neighborhood.

Posted by: shdd | July 12, 2007 10:17 AM

"And those are valid points. But there is no job that is going to pay you for your commuting time."

True, but most people do factor in their commuting time and expense when deciding whether or not the pay offered is "worth it."

Maybe Lola would be happy with a raise in the hourly babysitting rate.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 10:17 AM

"Things seem to have really changed in the last 15 years or so. When I was a teenaged babysitter (and when I was a child being babysat), the sitters were all 12-14. I never heard of anyone hiring a college student for their occasional evening babysitting. For a full-time regular babysitter, of course, but not for the occasional weekend evening. And watching a few kids for an evening just wasn't that hard. In fact, it was a pretty great gig because you usually put the kids to bed after a few hours and got paid to watch TV.

Why the change that parents now feel a young teenager isn't adequate to watch your children sleep?"

You'd be amazed at how many parents won't let their own 12 year old stay home alone. So they sure aren't going to let a 12 year old watch younger kids.

People have the perception that the world is a much less safe than it used to be, when the reality is it's just as safe if not safer. But with the internet and 24 hour news channels, we're constantly bombarded with every thing that happens.

Posted by: Dennis | July 12, 2007 10:18 AM

Wow. Back when I babysat for money (I do it for free now, go figure) we're talking $3 to 5$ an hour it's been so long, the dads always picked me up and dropped me off! We're talking the late 80's, early 90's. Then I got my license and a car and the parents loved that I could drive and they didn't have to pick me up. And I stayed local for the first two years of college, so that helped, too.

WDC,

Are you my doppelganger? We sound as though we may be the same "vintage".

Posted by: Maryland Mother | July 12, 2007 10:19 AM

"Why the change that parents now feel a young teenager isn't adequate to watch your children sleep?"

The same reason that we insist on using car seats now when as kids we rode in the back of the station wagon without them -- we identify more potential risks and we take steps to mitigate against them. Reasonable? Well, the number of preventable childhood accidents continues to decline -- depends on what metric you want to use for success I suppose.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 10:19 AM

"How many kids? How do you handle disciplne? Are the husbands really involved or are they shadowy figures in the background? "

There are 6 kids total and they are all around the same ages from 2.5 to 6. The dads are really involved. The kids play, sometimes we play games with them. It is more fun in nice weather because the kids will play outside until it is dark, eat hot dogs and then watch a movie until the parents come back. Don't get me wrong, it is exhausting (I did it by myself one time - YIKES). But we save a good deal of money, the kids love it and our kids get to know the parents of their friends in a way they probably wouldn't either. We aren't best friends with the parents, but we share similar values and know that our kids are in good hands.

Posted by: Moxiemom | July 12, 2007 10:21 AM

"we identify more potential risks and we take steps to mitigate against them. Reasonable?"

Why are there so many retarded kids these days? Were the potential risks identified?
Wouldn't there be less retarded kids?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 10:22 AM

I forgot discipline, we handle it just hte same as we would any other play date. The kids know that we won't hesitate to call the parents if we need to and the parents are certainly on board with the general rules. They are all pretty good kids and the bad behavior is limited to petty squabbles mostly and generally between the boys and girls.

Posted by: Moxiemom | July 12, 2007 10:23 AM

The only reason I dont use teenagers is because I dont have to. I have 20 year olds available to watch my kids. I would absolutely use teenagers, but when 20 somethings need extra money and they want to babysit, I use them.

Another tip for parents -- get food for the babysitter. If the babysitter is feeding your kids dinner, have something for her to eat. I hear a lot of babysitters complaining about that

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 10:24 AM

"we identify more potential risks and we take steps to mitigate against them. Reasonable?"

Why are there so many retarded kids these days? Were the potential risks identified?
Wouldn't there be less retarded kids?

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 10:22 AM

Old sperm & eggs, by and large.

So, we should only trust 13 year old with children if they have had their own. But if they've had their own, then they are not to be trusted.

Expect to pay more for an adult to mind your kids.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 10:24 AM

"we identify more potential risks and we take steps to mitigate against them. Reasonable?"

Why are there so many retarded kids these days? Were the potential risks identified?
Wouldn't there be less retarded kids?

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 10:22 AM

Older sperm & eggs, by and large.

So, we should only trust 13 year old with children if they have had their own. But if they've had their own, then they are not to be trusted.

Expect to pay more for an adult to mind your kids.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 10:24 AM

The person who wants to pay someone only $8 a visit for pet care is ignoring the cost of gas and commuting time as well. A professional pet sitter will charge you, generally, between $12 and $20 a visit. They also are typically bonded and insured. Stop blaming the market of teenagers when you low-ball for a particular service.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 10:25 AM

As a teen I was a great baby sitter WHILE I WAS AWAKE. When I fell asleep, I was OUT COLD. Training and experience didn't matter.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 10:25 AM

There was a coop in our neighborhood. We did not use it because they had a laundry-list of "requirements." No gun in the house (regardless of where etc); no pizza, no movies, no rough housing, etc. I thought about moving but then again, I never see these people around the neighborhood anyway. Has anyone else experienced "rules" like this?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 10:27 AM

"Wow. Back when I babysat for money (I do it for free now, go figure) we're talking $3 to 5$ an hour it's been so long"

I babysat two kids for 50 cents per hour as a teenager 1968-1971.

Families were larger and most of the moms stayed home. Therefore, the kids were home among children of various ages and not in camp/daycare separated into age groups. I had much more experience being around younger children, siblings and neighbors, and therefore was more capable of babysitting as a teen than my own daughters were at the same age. I changed younger siblings diapers from the age of 8 (occasionnaly and with supervision - i was not Mom's unhired help). My daughter didn't have a diaper-changing opportunity until she had her first babysitting job. I would have allowed her to change a younger siblings diaper at age 8, but there were no siblings in diapers by that time.

I think younger teens are seen as being less capable than when my peers were younger teens, and I don't know that that is an entirely incorrect assumption based on their lack of experience around younger children.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 10:28 AM

As a teen I was a great baby sitter WHILE I WAS AWAKE. When I fell asleep, I was OUT COLD. Training and experience didn't matter.

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 10:25 AM

Same can be said for parents.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 10:28 AM


Get help, please.

This is the same kind of person who would walk down a deserted street in a bad neighborhood at night and say to themselves, get help people these are just hardworking people down on their luck, nothing bad will happen to me..

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 10:30 AM

Not that I want to start this battle again, but my brother was a wonderful babysitter. "Victimized and Abused," not all men have uncontrollable impulses to abuse children, and not all women are free from those impulses. Your advice would be better as "be sure to get tons of references from any potential babysitter, teach your child about inappropriate touching, ask your child how the night went, and trust your gut if something doesn't seem right."

Posted by: Meesh | July 12, 2007 08:42 AM

Spot-on, Meesh. Maybe this silliness can die at this point.


To the dads who don't want to drive home the sitter, it's funny but I know many dads who drive the sitters home and --newsflash - because they're not pervy and don't creep out the sitters, there's no problem. Or you can keep dumping on your wives by suggesting that, in order to avoid liability, you simply must lay down on the couch with a beer while she drives back out at 2 a.m. with the sitter. Nice. The best protection from liability is knowing well the sitter, knowing well the parents of the sitter, and not conducting conversations while staring at a sitter's legs and breasts.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | July 12, 2007 10:31 AM

There was a coop in our neighborhood. We did not use it because they had a laundry-list of "requirements." No gun in the house (regardless of where etc); no pizza, no movies, no rough housing, etc. I thought about moving but then again, I never see these people around the neighborhood anyway. Has anyone else experienced "rules" like this?

Not since i was paroled........

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 10:31 AM

To 10:22

One major reason there are more mentally retarded people today is because, with advances in medicine, babies are surviving who often might not have survived in years past. For example, very premature infants, etc.

Posted by: Tally | July 12, 2007 10:33 AM

I once babysat for a family with 3 children - the oldest was 2 years older than I was. Apparently the younger children wouldn't behave for the oldest, so I was brought in. The oldest stayed in the bedroom while I babysat the younger children. they didn't behave for me, either, and the pay was incredibly cheap. I only did that once.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 10:34 AM

"Has anyone else experienced "rules" like this?"

We actually don't let our kids play at homes where there are guns. Other than that we teach our kids that we have expectations of how they will behave wherever they are AND that they will follow the rules of the home they are in. Sometimes we are more strict about things, sometimes we are more lenient. Most of the people with whom we associate have similir thoughts on these things so it hasn't been a big problem yet.

Posted by: Moxiemom | July 12, 2007 10:35 AM

A note on commuting: in addition to the ability to factor in travel/commuting expenses when considering the pay offer for a steady job, many places offer metrochecks (or their city's equivalent), access to parking, and/or flexible spending accounts for transit expenses - not a pure reimbursement, but still a savings since money taken out is pre-tax.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 10:35 AM

Get help, please.

This is the same kind of person who would walk down a deserted street in a bad neighborhood at night and say to themselves, get help people these are just hardworking people down on their luck, nothing bad will happen to me..

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 10:30 AM

Which post were you responding to?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 10:37 AM

The best protection from liability is knowing well the sitter, knowing well the parents of the sitter, and not conducting conversations while staring at a sitter's legs and breasts.

When on a drive by, the best way to avoid liability is to know well the shooter and close your eyes and ears and look away while others make conversation about the shooting. Then get out of the car and go home. OR not be in the car

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 10:37 AM

We actually don't let our kids play at homes where there are guns. Other than that we teach our kids that we have expectations of how they will behave wherever they are AND that they will follow the rules of the home they are in. Sometimes we are more strict about things, sometimes we are more lenient. Most of the people with whom we associate have similir thoughts on these things so it hasn't been a big problem yet.

Posted by: Moxiemom | July 12, 2007 10:35 AM

How do you know if someone has a gun? When a kid is 8 and wants go to over to Suzie's house after school, do you call the parents and ask? I am truly not being snarky, just curious.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 10:39 AM

"The best protection from liability is knowing well the sitter, knowing well the parents of the sitter, and not conducting conversations while staring at a sitter's legs and breasts."


And not pressing the money into my hand too firmly.

Avoid asking me if I have a boyfriend and trying to scope out if I have "gone all the way".

Dunno how it will help a perv to know my parents.

You are a really old guy to me, please don't act like we are friends.

Don't offer "special help" to get into college.

Don't sigh and look so sad when I get out of your car.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 10:41 AM

I've always wondered how the 'going rate' is calculated. I babysat a lot (AA County, young neighborhood, tons of kids), between the ages of 13 (1989) and about 22 (occasional overnights/weekends during college), and for the most part got about $4-$5 an hour for a single kid. I usually got more for multiple kids, etc, but I never got what I heard was the 'going rate'. I also just accepted what I was given--I can't understand sitters demanding certain rates, etc. If I liked the kids, I didn't really care if the rate was low. If the kids were awful, I didn't go back, no matter how much the families paid me.

Then again, I babysat more because I enjoyed it than for the money.

I was always surprised at how few families sat me down and interviewed me first, however. Not sure if they queried other families or what....that always surprised me, even as a young teen.

I was always surprised when wives would drive me home. When I was a kid, Dad *always* picked up and dropped off the sitter (and held the car door and her jacket for her.....), 'cause Mom was dealing with us, getting dressed, etc. I just assumed that's how it always went--I only had two or three families where the father ever did that. I had one couple who decided roles well--whoever planned the outing arranged for the babysitter, and did the pick-up/drop-off. :)

Posted by: Annapolis | July 12, 2007 10:42 AM

"The best protection from liability is knowing well the sitter, knowing well the parents of the sitter, and not conducting conversations while staring at a sitter's legs and breasts."

No, the *best* protection from liability is not to put yourself in that position.

When I taught in graduate school, all male instructors were told at the beginning of the semester that they should never be in their office with a female student and the door closed for the same reason -- a claim of inappropriate behavior against a guy is easy to make and hard for the guy to disprove.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 10:42 AM

"How do you know if someone has a gun? When a kid is 8 and wants go to over to Suzie's house after school, do you call the parents and ask? I am truly not being snarky, just curious"

Yes, we do ask. We always talk to and have been to the homes where we send our kids, so we ask. I had a friend growing up who was killed in a gun accident so I'm sensitive to it. yes, they could lie to us, but that's not a reason not to ask.

Posted by: Moxiemom | July 12, 2007 10:43 AM

To Moxiemom -- how old are your kids? Thanks!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 10:44 AM


Does PT Fed Mof2 have the web address for
the American University babysitting? I can not find a babysitter in our neighborhood.

Posted by: shdd | July 12, 2007 10:17 AM

Here you go, shdd:


http://jobcorps.ausg.org/

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | July 12, 2007 10:45 AM

"And not pressing the money into my hand too firmly.

Avoid asking me if I have a boyfriend and trying to scope out if I have "gone all the way".

Dunno how it will help a perv to know my parents.

You are a really old guy to me, please don't act like we are friends.

Don't offer "special help" to get into college.

Don't sigh and look so sad when I get out of your car."

I am not even a babysitter and I am creeped out now

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 10:46 AM

4 and 6 Thanks.

Posted by: Moxiemom | July 12, 2007 10:46 AM

Moxiemom

"We always talk to and have been to the homes where we send our kids, so we ask."

How do you know people are being truthful?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 10:46 AM

yes, they could lie to us, but that's not a reason not to ask.

Posted by: Moxiemom | July 12, 2007 10:43 AM

You don't. But you ask.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 10:48 AM

Based on MoxieMom's comments I have a question. When your kids are school aged, and making friends with classmates (as opposed to neighbors), how much investigation do you do before you let your kid go over for a play date? For example, having talked to the parent at school a few times enough? Is calling the parent and finding out details enough? Is going over to drop off the child and talking to the parents for a few minutes enough? I understand that age of your child is a huge factor, but what are people's experiences?

Posted by: Penelope | July 12, 2007 10:48 AM

"Yes, we do ask. We always talk to and have been to the homes where we send our kids, so we ask. I had a friend growing up who was killed in a gun accident so I'm sensitive to it. yes, they could lie to us, but that's not a reason not to ask."

FWIW - we have the same rule but recently had to change it - one of our son's friends has a father who works for the secret service. When he was over he made a point of the security he puts in place when he has his gun at the house [and his only gun at the house is his work gun] -- it didn't make sense to put him in the same category as others.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 10:48 AM

Just keep in mind the MENA SUVARI character from American Beauty guys. Girls like herare a false sex charge waiting to happen when you drive her home.Stay away from liability and if your wife has to drive her home, tough nuts, beats a false sex charge, which will ruin your life.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 10:49 AM

"a claim of inappropriate behavior against a guy is easy to make and hard for the guy to disprove."

In addition to the open door rule, our policy is to assume that all conversations are being taped.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 10:50 AM

Moxiemom,

The reason I asked about your kids ages is because my kids are almost 4 and 6 so we have not had to deal with friends other than neighbors. But we have a gun in our home and I am thinking about what will happen if a child is not allowed to play in our home because of the gun. My child would be upset that her friend could not come over, so I have to figure out a solution. I would answer your question honestly and say yes, but I can remove it from the home while your child is there. I just dont know where I would take it. hmmm. . . I have to think about this one. Thx for your honesty

Posted by: Marie | July 12, 2007 10:53 AM

In response to "who pays for the commuting time"? -- yes, some parents do. Otherwise they would have to pick me up and drop me off. I don't like getting lost at night in the strange neigborhoods, so if they value their time at more than $10 an hour, they pay. Home Depot is 2 miles away, it's like driving on autopilot.

Maybe I never met "real pervs" but I perceive "friendly" dads as exactly that -- being friendly, the way they know how. Some have tried baby talk with me, some would put an arm around my shoulders and parade in front of their wifes showing what a good little mama I am! Stupid, but safe. I never read it as sexual, and even if there was an undercurrent of that, not responding to their signals extinguished it. Maybe it also helped that they knew I did Judo. But I also observed some men conspiciously removing themselves from any interaction with me, especially in front of their wifes.

My most serious resoan that b/s is not attractive for teens is that this job doesn't count. When I applied for the first "real" job in food service at 16 they laughed that I listed b/s as job experience. Out of 12-15 places I applied to only one made an offer, and only because they mistook the name of one of my clients (think Neiman)for the name of the store. I stayed with that place for a few months and after that I was perceived by hiring managers as having a real job experience and could choose from multiple offers. So, in terms of return on investment of time if a teenager is over 16 -- no b/s. Colleges like "real job" on the application also, b/c it shows leadership skills, teamwork, etc.

Posted by: Lola | July 12, 2007 10:53 AM

Are you my doppelganger? We sound as though we may be the same "vintage".

I'm 33 1/2 and single...Oringinally from Long Island, NY and moved down here 2 and 1/2 years ago. I babysit my friends kids every now and then for free since they're good kids -- whether together or by themselves (and the older one is handicapped) and it gives me something to do on the weekend instead of watching TV.

Posted by: WDC | July 12, 2007 10:54 AM

FWIW - we have the same rule but recently had to change it - one of our son's friends has a father who works for the secret service. When he was over he made a point of the security he puts in place when he has his gun at the house [and his only gun at the house is his work gun] -- it didn't make sense to put him in the same category as others.

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 10:48 AM

What security was that? Thanks

Posted by: Marie | July 12, 2007 10:54 AM

I just dont know where I would take it. hmmm. . . I have to think about this one. Thx for your honesty


The trunk of your locked car?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 10:54 AM

Maybe one of the babysitter's own parents could come pick her up and drive her home after babysitting. Inconvenient, yes, but less worry for all.

Posted by: Here's a thought | July 12, 2007 10:55 AM

Marie

"I would answer your question honestly and say yes, but I can remove it from the home while your child is there. I just dont know where I would take "

My kid will NEVER be allowed to go to your house. Another airhead with a gun. Just what this country needs!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 10:55 AM

When I started babysitting we got less than $1.00/hour. We rarely got additional for more than one kid. The dad always picked up and drove home. Most parents were on time and left food for babysitter.
The worst night was when the dad was almost 30 mins late. He arrived upset as he had run over the new kitten in the garage and had to clean it up before coming to get me.
He told the kids it ran away.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | July 12, 2007 10:56 AM

I just dont know where I would take it. hmmm. . . I have to think about this one. Thx for your honesty


The trunk of your locked car?

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 10:54 AM

I thought of that, but would that be sufficient?

Posted by: Marie | July 12, 2007 10:57 AM

"Colleges like "real job" on the application also, b/c it shows leadership skills, teamwork, etc."

And baby-sitting shows time management, patience, and responsibility.

If a potential employer doesn't see baby-sitting as a real job, I wouldn't want to work for that place. I bet it was men that interviewed you, too.

Posted by: Seriously? | July 12, 2007 10:58 AM

"What security was that? Thanks"

Gun unloaded.

Gun stored in combination lock box.

Ammo stored in separate combination lock box.

Both lock boxes stored in key-locked cabinet. Single key on father's work keychain.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 10:59 AM

"How often would need the kid, i.e., are the days you and your husband both work regular or sporadic. What time of day do you need the help?"

Well, it would be set days, but only three days per week. We want someone to come at noon.

I thought about the gas cost, which is why I put our address on the ad. I assumed that only people who lived close by would respond.

The local companies that offer petsitting services charges $14 an hour for a long walk and play time. Each visit lasts two hours. I figured out, based on that, how much a kid should make for 20 minutes of watching my two dogs play.

But that gives me a better idea. I'll put an ad in our community newsletter. That way the person could walk to our house. Thanks for setting me straight, anon!

Posted by: Meesh | July 12, 2007 10:59 AM

Marie, I appreciate and recognize that lots of good people and great parents have guns in their home. I am however, certain that curious boys, especially when they are older, are frequently able to circumvent security meausures put in place. You sound like a reasonable person and I wouldn't worry too much, because in my experience, I might be the only person who has this rule. Re: the secret service neighbor, I'd have to think that one over. Hasn't come up.

Posted by: Moxiemom | July 12, 2007 10:59 AM

"I just dont know where I would take it. hmmm. . . I have to think about this one. Thx for your honesty"

While you're at it, please remove the mneds you leave lying around you house...

Why do you permit a gun in a house with your child?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:00 AM

I really enjoy reading this blog most days, but wish all of the anon posters would get a handle. Is there a reason why so many people aren't doing this?

Posted by: WorkingMomX | July 12, 2007 11:01 AM

I thought of that, but would that be sufficient.

Probably, unloaded gun in trunk, ammo in totally separate high position out of view.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:01 AM

One possible resolution is to lcok your gun up in the house, show the parents that it is locked and unloaded and then place the bullets somewhere outside the house-- like in the truck of your car maybe? I have asked parents this and they have been honest (as far as I know!) about having a gun, but no bullets in their house. May child hasn't yet played at their house without me also being there, but if I saw that the gun was locked up and unloaded, I wouldn't automatically rule them out as potential "kidswap" parents.

Posted by: Jen S. | July 12, 2007 11:02 AM

"Colleges like "real job" on the application also, b/c it shows leadership skills, teamwork, etc."

And baby-sitting shows time management, patience, and responsibility.

It could. It could also demonstrate that you parked your butt on the sofa, ate the pizza, watched t.v. while the kids ran amuk, or watched t.v. with the kids. Eventually said, "go to bed". May or may not have included throwing away the pizza box and telling the kids to brush their teeth.

The problem with defining "babysitting" is that there is a huge range of possibilities. A job description, furnished by someone who had your SSN and a W-2, simply counts for more.

Babysitting is a cash-under-the-table thing for teenagers. Don't be surprised when they opt out. Pay them more, or go with the kids. Murder for date-night, but there you go.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:03 AM

Why do you permit a gun in a house with your child?

Ever heard of a home invasion, rape, burglary, assault? Standing there empty handed is guaranteed way to become a statistic. At least with a gun you have a chance. You really have to ask?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:04 AM

Ever heard of a home invasion, rape, burglary, assault? Standing there empty handed is guaranteed way to become a statistic. At least with a gun you have a chance. You really have to ask?

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 11:04 AM

Honestly, a dog who barks is a much better deterrent. People looking to do bad things are less interested in dealing with noise and biting animals. Plus they are so much more attractive and fun to have around! (The dog, of course.)

A gun may be useful only after the break-in. If you have time to find, load and aim the gun. And are committed, truly committed, to pulling the trigger. After you have fully established that the intruder really IS an intruder.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:07 AM

"What security was that? Thanks"

Gun unloaded.

Gun stored in combination lock box.

Ammo stored in separate combination lock box.

Both lock boxes stored in key-locked cabinet. Single key on father's work keychain.'

Standard law enforcement spiel. Don't believe it. Why take a chance with your kid's life & future so you can score free babysitting? Stupid, stupid, stupid!

Posted by: Magnun PI | July 12, 2007 11:08 AM

Ever heard of a home invasion, rape, burglary, assault? Standing there empty handed is guaranteed way to become a statistic. At least with a gun you have a chance. You really have to ask?

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 11:04 AM

So the criminal can wrest your gun away from you and shoot you with it?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:08 AM

it gives me something to do on the weekend instead of watching TV.

Posted by: WDC | July 12, 2007 10:54 AM


Oh, I thought singles had incredibly full, enriching lives! Watching tv all weekend? Hmmm, why am I not suprised?!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:09 AM

Moxiemom, I think a lot of people have this rule actually, so thats why I want to figure out a suitable solution. Thanks for everyone's (okay mostly everyone's) thoughts. :)

Posted by: Marie | July 12, 2007 11:09 AM

So the criminal can wrest your gun away from you and shoot you with it?


I think that would be a good trick to "wrestle" away a 12 gauge shotgun from 10-15 feet. The person invading your home probably already has a gun and is intent on one thing- crime- and raping you may be a fringe benefit.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:11 AM

"It could. It could also demonstrate that you parked your butt on the sofa, ate the pizza, watched t.v. while the kids ran amuk, or watched t.v. with the kids. Eventually said, "go to bed". May or may not have included throwing away the pizza box and telling the kids to brush their teeth.

The problem with defining "babysitting" is that there is a huge range of possibilities. A job description, furnished by someone who had your SSN and a W-2, simply counts for more."

That's why you have the parents serve as references and/or write letters -- kids are smart enough to tell parents what's going on. I heard earfuls of previous babysitters from the kids I sat for. It was a riot! They didn't get hired back, I did. Obviously, this doesn't work for the infant set since they can't talk, but they do need special attention and parking in front of the TV wouldn't work with an infant unless they were sleeping. I also never used the phone (now there are cell phones, so it's a little different I suppose). Parents aren't stupid, they should be able to tell what went on while they were out. I always put the toys away and dirty dishes in the dish washer, sometimes leaving the place a little cleaner then when the parents left. Maybe I was just raised well by my parents.

Posted by: WDC | July 12, 2007 11:12 AM

Actually, idiot, having a gun in the house is a really great way to become a statistic. It's more likely to be used against you during a home break-in AND you are more likely to kill your spouse or be killed by your spouse if there's a gun in your house.

DUH.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:12 AM

Good luck Marie. As someone who is not fond of guns, I appreicate people like you who can respect our differing opinions.

Posted by: Moxiemom | July 12, 2007 11:13 AM

Marie

"Moxiemom, I think a lot of people have this rule actually, so thats why I want to figure out a suitable solution. Thanks for everyone's (okay mostly everyone's) thoughts. :)"

How about getting the gun out of the house period? Why are you taking chances with your kid's life? Is it your gun?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:14 AM

Actually, idiot, having a gun in the house is a really great way to become a statistic. It's more likely to be used against you during a home break-in AND you are more likely to kill your spouse or be killed by your spouse if there's a gun in your house.

DUH.

You are one of those people who probably has an alarm and says I don't need a gun. Well when the thug has a knife to your throat and the alarm is going off that will be small comfort. Or perhaps a knife to your 13 year old daughter. Remember that moron

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:15 AM

I think that would be a good trick to "wrestle" away a 12 gauge shotgun from 10-15 feet. The person invading your home probably already has a gun and is intent on one thing- crime- and raping you may be a fringe benefit.

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 11:11 AM

They also have the element of surprise, not to mention already having the gun in their hand.

Honestly, most criminals do NOT want to mess around with a home that has a dog.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:16 AM

Or perhaps a knife to your 13 year old daughter. Remember that moron

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 11:15 AM

Using a shotgun you're likely to hit your daughter, too.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:18 AM

Remember that moron

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 11:15 AM

So we can assume that you keep your gun always loaded and conveniently available on a moments notice.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:19 AM

Remember that moron

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 11:15 AM

So we can assume that you keep your gun always loaded and conveniently available on a moments notice.

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 11:19 AM

Next to his chaw and spittoon?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:20 AM

How about getting the gun out of the house period? Why are you taking chances with your kid's life? Is it your gun?

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 11:14 AM

We have it for home security. Not that it would matter to you, but we do go to the gun range often for practice so that we are proficient at using it.

Why not get it out of my house? Why would I? I have prescription medications in my home. I keep them secure. Should I not put a pool in my yard just because a child might fall in? No, I would put precautions in place to prevent a child from getting hurt. Same thing with the gun.

However, that being said, other people disagree about guns and pools. Therefore, I would adapt to make that parent comfortable. That is the reasonable thing to do.

Posted by: Marie | July 12, 2007 11:21 AM

"I think that would be a good trick to "wrestle" away a 12 gauge shotgun from 10-15 feet. The person invading your home probably already has a gun and is intent on one thing- crime- and raping you may be a fringe benefit."

Good plan. First, I have to waken from my deep slumbers and fumble around looking for my glasses, the gun, and the ammo. Hope the rapist is a patient guy. Hope he stands perfectly still whilst I shakily aim at him & pee my pants. Hope the innocent bystanders I shot don't sue me...

I'll take the big scary dog.

Posted by: Elaine | July 12, 2007 11:22 AM

You are one of those people who probably has an alarm and says I don't need a gun. Well when the thug has a knife to your throat and the alarm is going off that will be small comfort. Or perhaps a knife to your 13 year old daughter. Remember that moron

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 11:15 AM

RIGHT. Because it happens ALL THE TIME. You NRA freaks love to trot out this possibility. You have a greater chance of winning the lottery than being attacked by a thug in your home.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:23 AM

"I also never used the phone (now there are cell phones, so it's a little different I suppose)."

Ha, a LITTLE different? This is a HUGE difference.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:24 AM

RIGHT. Because it happens ALL THE TIME. You NRA freaks love to trot out this possibility. You have a greater chance of winning the lottery than being attacked by a thug in your home.

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 11:23 AM

And how often do children get shot with a gun in the home? It happens, as does having a thug in your home.

Posted by: Jim | July 12, 2007 11:25 AM

Marie, prescription medications cannot kill someone if dropped, for example, as a loaded gun can do. Your analogy is ridiculous.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:25 AM

I do understand your concern about guns in the house. However, your children are young and at their ages, I think that the level of supervision should be more of a concern whether or not there is a gun in the house. Young children should not be playing unsupervised in a house. There is more chance of them falling down stairs, running into a glass coffee table, turning the stove on, getting bitten by the family dog, getting into the medicine cabinet, drinking cleaning supplies, etc, as there is that they would be able to get guns and ammunition out of locked places and hurt themselves or others. If you trust the level of adult supervision, then there should be no problem that there are guns in the house.

I have relatives who hunt. I would absolutely trust my chilren at the home of these relatives because of the security measures they keep. Secret service is just one example. What about policemen? Would you not allow your children to play at their homes?

Guns are just one of the issues involved when determining where you allow your children to play.

Posted by: to moxiemom | July 12, 2007 11:26 AM

"Or perhaps a knife to your 13 year old daughter. Remember that moron"

How many 13 year olds are raped in their own homes in your zip code every year?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:27 AM

Someone pull up the stats from a non-biased 3rd party to shut everyone up about killing intruders vs being killed!!! Sheesh.

Posted by: atb | July 12, 2007 11:27 AM

RIGHT. Because it happens ALL THE TIME. You NRA freaks love to trot out this possibility. You have a greater chance of winning the lottery than being attacked by a thug in your home.

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 11:23 AM

And how often do children get shot with a gun in the home? It happens, as does having a thug in your home.

Posted by: Jim | July 12, 2007 11:25 AM


EXACTLY. And the children wouldn't get shot if there wasn't a gun. If you have a gun in your home, there's a MUCH greater chance that your child will kill himself or a friend, accidentally or otherwise, than that a thug will come in the house with intent to harm.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:27 AM


Marie, prescription medications cannot kill someone if dropped, for example, as a loaded gun can do. Your analogy is ridiculous.

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 11:25 AM

What about the pool?

Posted by: Marie | July 12, 2007 11:29 AM

To the dads who don't want to drive home the sitter, it's funny but I know many dads who drive the sitters home and --newsflash - because they're not pervy and don't creep out the sitters, there's no problem. Or you can keep dumping on your wives by suggesting that, in order to avoid liability, you simply must lay down on the couch with a beer while she drives back out at 2 a.m. with the sitter. Nice. The best protection from liability is knowing well the sitter, knowing well the parents of the sitter, and not conducting conversations while staring at a sitter's legs and breasts.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | July 12, 2007 10:31 AM

You are obviously not a man in todays world. Those men you mention are at risk of being falsely accused of being a perv. It doesn't matter how well you know the babysitter, the risk (though miniscule) is still there. One misunderstood comment could ruin your whole life. This is one case instance where the accusation (true or not) is enough to destroy a mans life.

Men in this hyper sensitive climate should never put themselves in a position where they are alone with a young woman.

At schools these says, there are guidelines for male (all?) teachers that say teachers should never be alone with a student, and if they are, to keep the door open, sit on the opposite side of the desk, etc. If schools feel necessary to do this, why do scold men who do the same thing?

Posted by: devils advocate | July 12, 2007 11:29 AM

RIGHT. Because it happens ALL THE TIME. You NRA freaks love to trot out this possibility. You have a greater chance of winning the lottery than being attacked by a thug in your home.

Sorry Junior, I don't belong to the NRA. Your illogic is laughable. I guess you don't need car insurance either because the chances are small you will be in an accident. Keep telling yourself that alarm is enough, the thugs like it when you do.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:30 AM

http://216.239.51.104/search?q=cache:epTz4B6Hi50J:www.doggonesafe.com/bite%2520stats/CDC%2520Injury%2520Stats.doc+CDC+%2B+children+%2B+gunshots&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=3&gl=us

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:32 AM

devil's advocate - you are sooo right. I have a nice, goodlooking male friend who used to be a high school teacher. It was unbelievable how many little hos-in-training would hit on him. He never, ever, let one of them stay in the classroom alone with him.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:33 AM

Marie, WHAT? We're talking about your gun/meds analogy.

Of course more kids are drowned than killed by handguns every year. That still doesn't address your silly analogy.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:34 AM

They also have the element of surprise, not to mention already having the gun in their hand.

This is only partly true. You know the layout of your house, you know where the furniture is. Calling out that you have a loaded 12 gauge and will shoot will probably make them run for it. They like easy targets according to my police friends.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:35 AM

"Sorry Junior, I don't belong to the NRA. Your illogic is laughable. I guess you don't need car insurance either because the chances are small you will be in an accident. Keep telling yourself that alarm is enough, the thugs like it when you do."

There is mandatory car insurance and additional coverage. A lot of people skip the additional coverage based on stats.

Here's the logic: How many people were attacked in their homes by thugs in your zip code last year? If you don't like the numbers, move. Bringing in a deadly weapon is so stupid.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:35 AM

Hmm, maybe this one is better.

http://library.med.utah.edu/WebPath/TUTORIAL/GUNS/GUNSTAT.html

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:36 AM

Look it up, NRA freak, and then get back to us. The only thing illogical is your ability to fly in the face of facts.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:36 AM

I'll take the big scary dog.

Posted by: Elaine | July 12, 2007 11:22 AM

Does that dog like to eat? perhaps some rat poison meat? Every defense has upsides and downsides. You must find what you are conmfortable with.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:37 AM

Marie, prescription medications cannot kill someone if dropped, for example, as a loaded gun can do. Your analogy is ridiculous.

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 11:25 AM

You never considered the fact that your sweet little female baby sitter would steal your drugs for later use? Open you eyes about drugs in the house!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:38 AM

Child safety is an important issue. Firearms injury is the second leading cause of non-natural death in childhood and adolescence. (CDC, 2004) Accidental shooting deaths are most commonly associated with one or more children playing with a gun they found in the home. (Choi, et al, 1994) The person pulling the trigger is a friend, family member, or the victim. (Harruff, 1992) In the period from 1979 to 2000, accidental firearms deaths involving children declined in the U.S., aided by child access prevention laws and felony prosecution of offenders. (Hepburn et al, 2006)

In one survey, 10% of families admitted to having unlocked and loaded firearms within easy reach of children (Patterson and Smith, 1987). Another study showed that two-thirds of accidental firearms injuries occured in the home, and one-third involved children under 15. 45% were self-inflicted, and 16% occurred when children were playing with guns. (Morrow and Hudson, 1986) A study from 1991-2000 showed that twice as many people died from unintentional firearm injuries in states in the U.S. where firearm owners were more likely to store their firearms loaded. (Miller, et al, 2005)

The issue of "home defense" or protection against intruders may well be misrepresented. Of 626 shootings in or around a residence in three U.S. cities revealed that, for every time a gun in the home was used in a self-defense or legally justifiable shooting, there were four unintentional shootings, seven criminal assaults or homicides, and 11 attempted or completed suicides (Kellermann et al, 1998). Over 50% of all households in the U.S. admit to having firearms (Nelson et al, 1987). In another study, regardless of storage practice, type of gun, or number of firearms in the home, having a gun in the home was associated with an increased risk of firearm homicide and suicide in the home (Dahlberg, Ikeda and Kresnow, 2004). Persons who own a gun and who engage in abuse of intimate partners such as a spouse are more likely to use a gun to threaten their intimate partner. (Rothman, et al) It would appear that, rather than beign used for defense, most of these weapons inflict injuries on the owners and their families.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:38 AM

"Someone pull up the stats from a non-biased 3rd party to shut everyone up about killing intruders vs being killed!!! Sheesh. "

Someone pull up the stats re guns stolen from the homes of cops every year.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:39 AM

Good plan. First, I have to waken from my deep slumbers and fumble around looking for my glasses, the gun, and the ammo. Hope the rapist is a patient guy. Hope he stands perfectly still whilst I shakily aim at him & pee my pants. Hope the innocent bystanders I shot don't sue me...

I'll take the big scary dog.

Posted by: Elaine | July 12, 2007 11:22 AM

If this guy is intent on doing you harm and you assume he has a gun. Why do you think he won't just shoot the dog and get on with his business.

Maybe you need a dog and a gun. The dog will bark, thereby waking you with sufficient time load your gun and call 911.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:39 AM

Is there anything at all that this statement does not apply to:

"the risk (though miniscule) is still there."

Posted by: Arlington Dad | July 12, 2007 11:39 AM

One thing that concerns me when my daughters are babysitting is the drive home. I really am not worried about perverted Dads, but I am concerned that whomever is driving my daughter home may have been drinking during their night out. I am not against drinking at all, but DH and I have modeled responsible drinking to our girls - we both drink at home - out to dinner or parties, one of us limits ourself to one or zero drinks and becomes the designated driver for the night. So far, their babysitting jobs have been with people we know very well who have the same standards we do regarding drinking and driving. I don't know what we would do if asked by people we don't know as well - maybe discuss our expectations with the other parents and offer to pick our daughters up ourselves if parents have different philosophy (3 drinks ok to drive?) or maybe we will only allow the girls to babysit for current families until they can drive themselves.

Posted by: mom of teens | July 12, 2007 11:39 AM

You never considered the fact that your sweet little female baby sitter would steal your drugs for later use? Open you eyes about drugs in the house!

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 11:38 AM

Or began ODing in your house with your drugs?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:42 AM

Whether there is a gun is just one of the considerations we make when deciding where to leave our kids. My children and their friends are allowed to play unsupervised in our homes - meaning, the kids are in the basement or in their rooms or the fenced yard - while mom is in the kitchen or doing laundry etc... So, while no one is standing over them, someone is generally within earshot. I probably would not leave my child at a home with a pool until they are strong swimmers - but this has not come up. Re: law enforcement officers homes, this too has not come up and is something that I would think about. A police officer's son here accidentally killed himself with his dad's unsecured gun so they are not infallible or immune.

I truly did not intend to start a gun debate today.

Posted by: Moxiemom | July 12, 2007 11:42 AM

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/welcome.html

Better?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:42 AM

Don't confuse me with the facts.

Posted by: To 11:38 | July 12, 2007 11:43 AM

Maybe you need a dog and a gun. The dog will bark, thereby waking you with sufficient time load your gun and call 911.

EXACTLY! THhe dog barks, the alarm goes off and you load your gun. Now the odds have changed. You have a crook with several problems and not an easy victim waiting to be raped or killed. Compare that to the ostrich with his/her head in the sand "how many thugs break into houses, yada yada."

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:43 AM

According to CDC, about 500 children under the age of 14 die from gun accidents [not homicides] each year. Another 3500 under the age of 14 sustain non-fatal injuries from guns each year.

Note that 75-100 deaths per year are to children age 5 and under.

For children age 15-19, the numbers are more staggering -- but they also begin to include higher numbers of homicides and suicides.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:44 AM

"I'll take the big scary dog.

Does that dog like to eat? perhaps some rat poison meat? Every defense has upsides and downsides. You must find what you are conmfortable with."

I have. 26 years in the same house without incident. Grandkids can run around freely. Not comfortable with guns around kids.

Posted by: Elaine | July 12, 2007 11:44 AM

Is there anything at all that this statement does not apply to:

"the risk (though miniscule) is still there."

Posted by: Arlington Dad | July 12, 2007 11:39 AM

I am sure that if we went into everyone's home, we would find something that was a danger. We do not and cannot live in a bubble. That being said, there are some activities that have more risk then others. As parents, it is our job to weigh the relative risks with each benefit and go from there.

The reason that we have a gun in the home is for home security. My grandfather-in-law was killed in his home by a couple of teenagers looking for drug money. His wife lived and maintains that if they had a gun in the home he would be alive today. People do things based on their personal experiences. Moxiemom keeps a gun out of her home based a personal experience and we keep one in the house for an opposite experience. Calling people names is never productive.

Posted by: Marie | July 12, 2007 11:45 AM

ARTICLES


Statistics on Pool Drowning of Children and Adults in the United States.




Six people drown in U.S. pools every day. Many of these pools are public facilities staffed with certified professional lifeguards.

Centers for Disease Control

Drowning is the 4th leading cause of accidental death in the United States, claiming 4,000 lives annually. Approximately one-third are children under the age of 14.

American Institute for Preventive Medicine

Drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional, injury-related death among children under the age of 15.

National Center for Health Statistics

A child can drown in the time it takes to answer a phone.

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

19% of drowning deaths involving children occur in public pools with certified lifeguards present.

Drowning Prevention Foundation

A swimming pool is 14 times more likely than a motor vehicle to be involved in the death of a child age 4 and under.

Orange County California Fire Authority

Children under five and adolescents between the ages of 15-24 have the highest drowning rates.

American Academy of Pediatrics

For every child who drowns, four are hospitalized for near drowning.

American Academy of Pediatrics

An estimated 5,000 children ages 14 and under are hospitalized due to near-drownings each year; 15 percent die in the hospital and as many as 20 percent suffer severe, permanent neurological disability.

Foundation for Aquatic Injury Prevention

Of all preschoolers who drown, 70 percent are in the care of one or both parents at the time of the drowning and 75 percent are missing from sight for five minutes or less.

Orange County, CA, Fire Authority

In 10 states - Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington - drowning surpasses all other causes of death to children age 14 and under.


Apparently, we must get rid of pools also, they are killers.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:46 AM

It has been my experience that people who are anti-gun and people who are pro-gun are equally strong in their personal beliefs and will not be swayed by the arguments of the other side.

Why don't we all just give it a rest?

Posted by: lurker | July 12, 2007 11:46 AM

"It has been my experience that people who are anti-gun and people who are pro-gun are equally strong in their personal beliefs and will not be swayed by the arguments of the other side.

Why don't we all just give it a rest?

Posted by: lurker | July 12, 2007 11:46 AM"

Stop being so logical and sane! It just won't work here!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:48 AM

perhaps some rat poison meat?

Takes time and it's a noisy painful way to die.

People, most criminals are not that impulsive. They want it to be EASY. If they know that a particular home has a dog, they are much more inclined to pass it by. Someone else in the neighborhood may not have a dog AND may have an open window, or an unlocked door, or what have you.

It's kind of like those dopey commercials with the "car thief" says that leaving the door unlocked is an invitation.

Gun ownership comes into play after a crime has already been committed (breaking & entering, trespass, etc.) and again--they want it EASY. Lock your doors and windows. If you can provide for a dog, own one.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:48 AM

http://www.mlive.com/news/fljournal/index.ssf?/stories/news/20061001_crimes.html

Most incidents result from victims' carelessness, police say

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:51 AM

"Maybe you need a dog and a gun. The dog will bark, thereby waking you with sufficient time load your gun and call 911."

First I have to find my glasses...

Again, 26 years in the same house without incident. Maybe it's my killer cats...

Also know several sad cases of accidental shootings in homes with cops' guns.

Posted by: Elaine | July 12, 2007 11:52 AM

We have an alarm, reinforced doors, a dog and locks that have keys on both sides to prevent smashing a door window in and unlocking. We also have a gun as a last line of defense. We live in a nice relatively crime free suburb. Why all of this? Because when and if it ever happens , that is NOT the time to contemplate security. It is to make it unappealing to the criminal and provide safety. Make a plan to keep yourself safe.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:53 AM

Is there anything at all that this statement does not apply to:

"the risk (though miniscule) is still there."

Posted by: Arlington Dad | July 12, 2007 11:39 AM

Not that I can think of, but in this instance, the downside is really bad and the mitigation is easy.

Posted by: devils advocate | July 12, 2007 11:54 AM

We organized several babysitting swaps. We were the only couple who ever asked people to watch our kids and no one was every able to. It's all smoke and mirrors until you find good friends who will do this.

I remember as a kid doing lots of odd jobs.

I have a 12 year old niece. She doesn't need money to have fun, so she doesn't try to earn money. The internet is free and she spends way too much time there. Netflix delivers three movies a week for less than $20 a month, so the kids neither rent movies nor go to the movies. The parents belong to a pool so they go there with friends for free. They have costco-sized bags of chips at home, so she doesn't ride her bike to the candy store. Her friends also go to the library a lot. She listens to mp3s, not cds. I don't understand it, but she makes no attempt to earn more than a $5 per week allowance for doing chores. The kids these days seem to value free time more than money.

Posted by: DCer | July 12, 2007 11:54 AM

Not that I can think of, but in this instance, the downside is really bad and the mitigation is easy.

Because a kid killed by a gun is any less dead than one drowned in a pool? Just as dead but without the politics

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 11:56 AM

Plus, the 15-year-old could only accept something in the evening/weekend or something she can get to on her own since we work and can't transport her.
----

I thought this was odd. Can't your child walk to work? Why would you need to transport her if she could walk? I got a job at age 14 and walked to work every day and my parents picked me up after 5pm.

Posted by: DCer | July 12, 2007 11:59 AM

Not that I can think of, but in this instance, the downside is really bad and the mitigation is easy.

Because a kid killed by a gun is any less dead than one drowned in a pool? Just as dead but without the politics

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 11:56 AM

My statement was about being a man and avoiding being alone with a young woman, not guns in the house.

I'm staying out of the gun debate. ;)

Posted by: devils advocate | July 12, 2007 12:00 PM

What is the rate of pool ownership vs. guns?

And are they including the plastic ones we can get almost anywhere (you know the ones, a couple of inches deep, just enough to cool your beer and yourself)?

Buy all the guns you want. Keep the ammo under lock and key.

Or make it harder still. Black-powder isn't instantaneous, and it's really easy to safely contain gun powder.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:00 PM

Whew! If it's okay for parents in the babysitting co-op to have guns in the house, is it okay to smoke in the parents' homes?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:02 PM

Anyone have any horror stories with babysitters?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:02 PM

Well....this conversation seems to have gone down hill. I find it interesting that only one or two people mentioned using relatives of any kind as a source for baby-sitting. I realize its not an option for many families, given that they don't live near relatives, or don't have relatives of the appropriate age/inclination. Maybe that's one of the joys of coming from a larger family. I'm the oldest cousin in the area (Twin Cities), which means that I've got 14 cousins younger than I am and have baby-sat for them all on at least one occasion through high school. Over the last 4 years, since I've graduated college and moved back to the area, I've done a lot of babysitting for one aunt/uncle family, largely b/c I've grown up with the kids and know them well, and b/c my aunt feels like she's doing her part to feed my "poor college student" fund (I'm currently in law school). I can do my laundry for free, she pays me fairly well ($50 for an evening watching 3 kids, ages 3, 9, and 14) AND sends me home with leftovers. The babysitting also allowed me to get my "baby fix" in, especially when the youngest was a newborn - my dad thought it was a great method of birth control. Just enough time to have fun with the baby AND realize how much work it is.

Posted by: MNGirl | July 12, 2007 12:04 PM

"The reason that we have a gun in the home is for home security. "

Which is much like saying you bought a Pinto because you wanted a safe car.

Or like saying you drink soda for the health benefits.

It is empiracally, objectively demonstrated that having a gun in the house reduces your home security. It's a point of established fact.

Now, you can say you like having a gun, that it gives you some sense of control, that you enjoy using it, or any of those things -- but it absolutely, without doubt, in every single investigation and study, reduces the security of your home.

You can have your own opinions, but you don't get to have your own facts.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:04 PM

"The reason that we have a gun in the home is for home security. "

Around kids?????

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:07 PM

you need to step
back occasionally and conduct a security review, keeping in mind
the three Ds of crime prevention: deter, delay and detect.

Deter, Delay, Detect

Deterring criminals is the key to making sure your home is
not an easy target. Simple and inexpensive measures such as
replacing old locks, hiding expensive equipment from passers-by,
and owning a dog can cause would-be criminals to seek
more vulnerable prey. Anything that tells potential thieves you
have paid attention to the security of your building can be an
effective deterrent.

Delaying a crime, or preventing quick access to valuable
merchandise or equipment, is the second crucial step in
protecting your home. A sturdier, slightly more expensive
lock could have occupied the burglars long enough for the police
to reach the scene after the alarm was activated.

The last of the three Ds, detection, is accomplished by more
complex technology like alarms or surveillance equipment.
However, these products -- such as window glass bugs or motion
detectors -- can actually give a false sense of security. For
experienced criminals know that alarm companies and police
communications centers must go through a number of steps before
reaching the location of a break-in. This gives them ample
opportunity to escape with valuable equipment. For
this reason, law enforcement officials maintain that alarms and
surveillance should only be used as back-up security devices.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:07 PM

"in every single investigation and study,"

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 12:04 PM

Please list them all. My point is that there is no possible way you know about every single one

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:08 PM

As they say, "The more things change ..."
Way back when, in the 1980s, it was
tough to find teenage babysitters in
our area and there were many months
when my then-husband and I just did not
get out of the house. At all. Parents were
cutthroat about keeping "their" teen babysitters exclusive and a few even offered fairly generous retainers (I kid you not) to those they had. In our area, I tried to set up a co-op, but there was no support for that. We lived in a region where many of the parents we knew had families nearby (ours were hundreds of miles away) and grandparents, aunts and cousins were their babysitting solutions.
The inability to find a way to get out on a date really wore me down after a while,
although I knew that "this, too, shall change." I think it's nuts to feel like a "derelict" because you don't have teens on speed-dial to call. Good luck, first, finding teens who are willing, then finding a few who are capable, then finding that one or two who's WILLING.
So many teens now (and even back in the 80s) got generous allowances and $5 an hour (the going rate back then in our suburban area) was outpaced by what mom and dad handed over to them or they could earn (esp. after age 16, when they were just getting trustworthy)at some P-T job.

Posted by: SF Mom | July 12, 2007 12:09 PM

"The reason that we have a gun in the home is for home security. "

Around kids?????

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 12:07 PM

Maybe if you quit fearmongering and actually taught a child from a young age what is and is not appropiate to do with a handgun? You do teach him how to cross the street properly?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:10 PM

Re: smoking - don't mind people who smoke outside of their homes. Wouldn't let my kids be with someone who smoked inside or in front of the children. We have a very good friend who smokes, but only in the absence of kids and not in the house.

Posted by: Moxiemom | July 12, 2007 12:10 PM

http://www.gorell.com/pages/preventing_home_breakins.htm

Now, about the babysitter whose boyfriend got into my liquor cabinet. No, he wasn't supposed to be there at all, the fact that my kids were asleep in bed didn't make it "okay".

There's a sight I didn't enjoy. I also had the miserable experience of telling the babysitter's parents about what happened.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:11 PM

You can have your own opinions, but you don't get to have your own facts.

guess you won't be getting a pool then right? OR are those facts more to your liking politically?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:11 PM

Clearly some people live in a constant state of paranoia. I don't think my husband would ever think twice about driving a teenaged babysitter home at night. The vast majority of people are NOT evil and do NOT have evil intentions! That doesn't mean these people don't exist, but it amazes me that anybody would go around always thinking the worst of people.

But that is their loss...

As for me, we have a nanny who babysits for us (though very infrequently) and otherwise we used grandparents when they lived nearby. The g-parents loved spending the time with their grandchildren and we always provided a nice take out or other meal and bottle of wine to enjoy.

I remember babysitting a bunch when I was 13-15 years old. Some very young children. I think I probably wouldn't leave a young child with a teenager, though I don't know. If the kids goes to sleep before Mom and Dad leave, and you provide a cell phone number and aren't far away (and also have trustworthy neighbors who could be called in an emergency for immediate help), I wonder - what's really the harm in it? It would need to be a teenager I trusted and knew the family of, but otherwise - what's the harm? I'm sure people can think of a million things that could go wrong, but the likelihood is pretty slim and again - why live in fear like that?

Posted by: londonmom | July 12, 2007 12:12 PM

"Maybe if you quit fearmongering and actually taught a child from a young age what is and is not appropiate to do with a handgun?"

Like Dick Cheney?

Posted by: Elaine | July 12, 2007 12:13 PM

"Plus, the 15-year-old could only accept something in the evening/weekend or something she can get to on her own since we work and can't transport her.
----

I thought this was odd. Can't your child walk to work? Why would you need to transport her if she could walk? I got a job at age 14 and walked to work every day and my parents picked me up after 5pm."

Read it again -- Something she can get to on her own includes walking and biking. there are few jobs that hire teens under 16 that are within walking/biking distance from our home. They have many applicants and few vacancies.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:14 PM

"Maybe if you quit fearmongering and actually taught a child from a young age what is and is not appropiate to do with a handgun?"

Oh, you're right, guns are so NOT about fearmongering. What is appropriate to do with a handgun: DESTROY IT.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:14 PM

"The reason that we have a gun in the home is for home security. "

Around kids?????

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 12:07 PM

Maybe if you quit fearmongering and actually taught a child from a young age what is and is not appropiate to do with a handgun? You do teach him how to cross the street properly?

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 12:10 PM

When I was 12 and knew better, I still fooled around with my father's shotgun that he had in the den closet.

Kids are impulsive and fearless and stupid (sometimes really stupid) and will override whatever they have been taught.

Have you ever failed to look both ways, twice, before pulling out into traffic?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:15 PM

"The kids these days seem to value free time more than money"

I (50+) seem to value free time more than money these days. :)

Posted by: haha | July 12, 2007 12:16 PM

Anyone have any horror stories with babysitters?

Yeah. You get what you pay for when you "score free babysitting". Watch your own kids.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:18 PM

Oh, you're right, guns are so NOT about fearmongering. What is appropriate to do with a handgun: DESTROY IT.

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 12:14 PM

Well, then, we should disarm all of our police as 99% of them carry handguns.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:19 PM

Have you ever failed to look both ways, twice, before pulling out into traffic?

No, never!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:21 PM

Anyone else find Brian's word choice interesting? I know what I think when I hear the word "score", unless it's in the sports highlights.

Slang.
The act of securing an advantage, especially a surprising or significant gain: "He had dropped out of school and gone for that quick dollar, that big score" (Peter Goldman).
The act or an instance of buying illicit drugs.
A successful robbery.
A sexual conquest

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:21 PM

Clearly some people live in a constant state of paranoia. I don't think my husband would ever think twice about driving a teenaged babysitter home at night.

-londonmom

Have you ever heard a woman say she crosses the street when she sees a man walking toward her? Do you think she is living in a constant state of a paranoia? Similar principle, but accepted.

I hope your husband never has his naivete tested.

Posted by: devils advocate | July 12, 2007 12:22 PM

"Apparently, we must get rid of pools also, they are killers."

and cars

and electric lines

and natural gas

and lakes

and the sun

etc, etc

Posted by: atb | July 12, 2007 12:23 PM

Well, then, we should disarm all of our police as 99% of them carry handguns.

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 12:19 PM

Only feckless posters on a silly blog give criminals the advantage. The police know what crooks can do

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:23 PM

If schools feel necessary to do this, why do scold men who do the same thing?

Posted by: devils advocate | July 12, 2007 11:29 AM

Devils, schools are taking the advice of counsel which is based on the most conservative, over-the-top approach, consistent with the fact that our tax dollars are at risk.

If you determine what is sensible by what a group of lawyers advise their government-entity clients, then you deserve to be scolded for being silly.

People tend to not lodge baseless complaints against those they know and like. Ergo, the best way to avoid baseless complaints is not to act like you are a public school, but to be known and liked as a person by your babysitters. Maybe if you treat them as real people instead of one of a laundry list of cheap labor, it would be a good start. In the alternative, hiring male sitters avoids this concern, avoids requiring your spouse to drive home late at night, Of course, that's not an option for pATRICK, Lil' Husky and anyone else who thinks women are saints and men are pervy.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | July 12, 2007 12:24 PM

"Yeah. You get what you pay for when you "score free babysitting". Watch your own kids."

Yes, don't let your kids out of your sight for even a second. You never know what horrible thing may happen.

Where do you get this notion of "score free babysitting"? Co-ops aren't "free" - it is a form of a barter system. The only free babysitting I know is through family members and very close friends. And these are people you typically love and trust and who love your children?

A little angry at the world or something?

Posted by: londonmom | July 12, 2007 12:25 PM

http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/05cius/offenses/expanded_information/data/shrtable_09.html

Might as well go to the professional source.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:25 PM

Well, then, we should disarm all of our police as 99% of them carry handguns.

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 12:19 PM

Only feckless posters on a silly blog give criminals the advantage. The police know what crooks can do

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 12:23 PM

It was 12:14 who advocated destroying handguns, not me!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:25 PM

Have you ever heard a woman say she crosses the street when she sees a man walking toward her? Do you think she is living in a constant state of a paranoia? Similar principle, but accepted.

I hope your husband never has his naivete tested.

Some people can't, just can't come to grips with bad things. Her husband better hope that those girls never accuse him of asking for a bj or something. She will be singing a different tune then. Police involved, maybe child protective services, maybe fired. Not worth it!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:27 PM

Ok, this is where I get confused:

"Ever heard of a home invasion, rape, burglary, assault? Standing there empty handed is guaranteed way to become a statistic. At least with a gun you have a chance. You really have to ask?"

Ok, I get this. But then proper safety measures are listed as:

"Gun unloaded.

Gun stored in combination lock box.

Ammo stored in separate combination lock box.

Both lock boxes stored in key-locked cabinet. Single key on father's work keychain."

Which is a lot of help in situation A, above. So: how do you maintain a gun in a manner that is safe from kids, while still having it readily available for protection? I'm not actually trying to be snarky, but it seems that for protection, you'd want it fully-loaded and in your bedside table or under the bed, which is hugely unsafe for any kids in the house. Do you load every night and unload every morning? And if so, how do you guard against the little guys coming in after a nightmare and wanting to play with the forbidden fruit?

Personally, I'd be very leery of my kid hanging out in a house with guns. If it was a trained professional (cop/federal agent) or target shooter, and I could satisfy myself that safety measures like those above would be taken, then I think it would be ok. But if it was someone who wanted to have guns around for "protection," I'd be much less likely to give the ok -- it seems that the kinds of precautions I would like to see would interfere with the very reason they have the guns in the first place, so regardless of what they might tell me, I doubt I'd trust them to consistently do that in practice.

Posted by: Laura | July 12, 2007 12:29 PM

People tend to not lodge baseless complaints against those they know and like. Ergo, the best way to avoid baseless complaints is not to act like you are a public school, but to be known and liked as a person by your babysitters.

You are incredibly naive for someone who "says" they are a lawyer.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:30 PM

"Anyone else find Brian's word choice interesting? "

Yes. "Free babysitting". Sounds like Brian has never really watched anyone else's kids. It doesn't mean sacking out on the couch with the remote and yelling out to the kids every once in a while to see if they are still alive. You really have to get up and interact with the kids to know what is going on. When it doesn't involve your own kids, it's work. It's not cute when someone else's kid talks back or breaks the rules. You'll earn every second of the "free" babysitting.

Doubt Brian will last long in this co-op unless he dumps all the work on his wife.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:31 PM

Well, I dated DH for a year, lived with him for 5, and was married to him for 2 before we had children when I was in my 30's and he was in his 40's. We only had "dates" for birthdays and anniversary. We both worked full time and by the time the weekend rolled around, we were exhausted and not ready for a Friday nite out. A little more energy on Saturday, but we tended to visit our families and friends with children in tow. Since we are not transplants, there are a lot of family and friends locally so it was easy to spend 8 saturdays in a row having day visits or having company. There wasn't a whole lot of time left for us to be by ourselves. There were also many times when we went out separately to be with single friends without kids - girls night out and guys night out. Maybe it was because we had so many years together pre-kids, but we were content that our kid-free time came after they were in bed. We never really cared that we saw movies were 6 months later on tv rather than new releases in theaters.

Posted by: different | July 12, 2007 12:33 PM

"Where do you get this notion of "score free babysitting"?"

Duh, that's Brian's title for the blog today...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:36 PM

Someone pull up the stats re guns stolen from the homes of cops every year.

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 11:39 AM

Why don't you do it? Or are you just good at making demands?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:37 PM

We had a babysitter for new years who was a teacher at the preschool. She confirmed teh day before and the morning of the day. she then NEVER showed or called. My husband spoke to her mom who said she had some "trouble". I think she blew us off to hang out with her boyfriend. We saw her at school, she never even said a word. So much for the check them out, do they have credentials etc. You can never know. Now we use our parents, we know them

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:38 PM

"My husband spoke to her mom who said she had some "trouble".

How old was the preschool teacher. It seems she would be legally an adult unless she was an aide. And if she was an adult, why on earth would your husband speak to her mother?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:40 PM

"Maybe it was because we had so many years together pre-kids, but we were content that our kid-free time came after they were in bed."

Same here. We stay in for New Year's etc., take the kids with us.


Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:43 PM

I have a sort-of-horror story...

Generally, my sister and I were watched by my mom's parents (this was in the late 1960's and early 1970's). Sometimes, however, they would want to go out when my grandparents weren't available, and my folks would hire someone. Most of the time, they hired the nursing students who worked part-time for our family doctor (he was one of Dad's friends).

However, once they hired another young woman (I don't remember how they got her name). This chick had a hot sports car, and she drove us out to a burger-joint type of drive-in that was known to be a thug hangout. She kept us up after midnight, fed us ice cream and fries, and 'took a walk' with her boyfriend while her buddies (motorcycle gang types) kept an eye on us. We thought it was the BEST time we ever had in our lives!! We could not WAIT to tell our parents about our adventure!

Needless to say, she never watched us again...

Posted by: educmom | July 12, 2007 12:43 PM

It is empiracally, objectively demonstrated that having a gun in the house reduces your home security. It's a point of established fact.

Proof???

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:44 PM

"It is empiracally, objectively demonstrated that having a gun in the house reduces your home security. It's a point of established fact."

I guess that many people are as interested in increasing their sense of security as their actual security. Life is great when you sleep well at night.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:47 PM

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Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:47 PM

How old was the preschool teacher. It seems she would be legally an adult unless she was an aide. And if she was an adult, why on earth would your husband speak to her mother?

We spoke to the mom because she lived with her mom apparently, she was 24. She picked up the phone, it was weird

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:47 PM

"So: how do you maintain a gun in a manner that is safe from kids, while still having it readily available for protection?"

I have the same question. I don't see how you can have both safety and high-speed protection.

My partner and I are still working out the issue of guns in the house (we currently do not have any). She thinks they're important to protection. I think that deterrence is more effective. (I figure that a criminal is not likely to have a gun on them unless they're planning to use it, since B&E with a gun is a much more serious offense than unarmed B&E.) Burgulars, I figure, don't want to kill people, they want to steal stuff. If it's too hard to steal stuff, they will go elsewhere. I've had stuff stolen from me twice in my life: once in a dorm room and once in my house when I forgot and left a door open. (Not unlocked, unlatched. It was OPEN.) A gun would have made no difference at either time, since I was not there.

Babysitting has become a lot more expensive than it was when I was doing it in the early 80s. Older, too. I was babysitting regularly at 12. By the time I was 15, I had a workplace job that paid better.

Posted by: Gay mom to be | July 12, 2007 12:49 PM

"Life is great when you sleep well at night."

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Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:50 PM

Gay mom to be |

When are you due?

From the looks of things on this blog today, we need a cyber baby shower to give some of us a reason to smile.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:52 PM

I have the same question. I don't see how you can have both safety and high-speed protection.

One way is to practice what you would do. I think pistols are a waste of time and ARE dangerous with kids. You are better off with a shotgun for many reasons. 1. You only have to point and shoot, it creates a large blast. 2. you will probably not hit anything with a pistol in an emergency situation. 3. pistols are more likely to be played with by kids (imo).

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:53 PM

"So: how do you maintain a gun in a manner that is safe from kids, while still having it readily available for protection?"

Loaded gun in a gun safe under the bed. Gun safe has a push button combination requiring simultaneous pushing of various buttons. Have an alarm system and a dog. Therefore, you are awakened by the alarm, intruder is slowed by the dog and you have time to get the gun.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:53 PM

What does Brian think about guns in the home?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:53 PM

"Have an alarm system and a dog. Therefore, you are awakened by the alarm, intruder is slowed by the dog and you have time to get the gun. "

I'm deaf; can't hear alarm and dog bark. Intruder shoots dog. Now what?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:58 PM

I imagine that there are guns in the White House (secret service). I guess I could never be or marry the President if I won't live in a house where there are guns. LOL.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:58 PM

I'm deaf; can't hear alarm and dog bark. Intruder shoots dog. Now what?

You're dead.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:59 PM

Gay mom to be:
I remember reading something to that effect several years ago in Time -- generally, thieves aren't looking for opportunities to commit assault.

The article was an interview with a man who had been, for lack of a better term, a professional thief. He listed several ways that burglars can determine if the homeowners are out, or away (hint: don't put your lights on timers -- get someone to turn on and off several different lights a night). He said he had stolen several firearms, but had never been shot, and that burglars do avoid houses with dogs. In fact, he said dogs were the best alarm system available because professional thieves can get around any alarm system in existence.

Posted by: educmom | July 12, 2007 1:00 PM

I'm deaf; can't hear alarm and dog bark. Intruder shoots dog. Now what?

you are screwed and hope the police show up in time to keep you from occupying a body bag

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 1:00 PM

For those of you who are against having guns in the home:

Would you refuse to date anyone who would have a gun at home, whether they be law enforcement, hunter, collector, or self-defender? How early in the relationship would you start that conversation?

Posted by: a question | July 12, 2007 1:02 PM

"I'm deaf; can't hear alarm and dog bark. Intruder shoots dog. Now what?"

"you are screwed and hope the police show up in time to keep you from occupying a body bag"

Sign to the intruder. He may feel sorry for you and leave you unharmed...

Posted by: Top Cat | July 12, 2007 1:05 PM

Gay Mom to Be -- whichever route you take, make sure you are both comfortable with it. If you choose to have a gun in the house, make sure you and your partner are skilled with it and that both of you have the long discussion about whether or not you could pull the trigger. If the answer is no for either of you, a gun may not be a good idea (IMO). Also, I am not worried about professional theives. My concern is those that are high on drugs. They are not in their right minds.

Posted by: Marie | July 12, 2007 1:05 PM

Would you refuse to date anyone who would have a gun at home, whether they be law enforcement, hunter, collector, or self-defender? How early in the relationship would you start that conversation?

Probably, because of course anyone who disagrees with them is an NRA nut.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 1:05 PM

off-topic alert:
I'm packing for my beach trip next week, and I went to the bookstore to get some reading material. I just put the books in my beach carry bag, and I realized I have 5 'classics' and 5 'less-than-classic' books -- perfect balance!

Posted by: educmom | July 12, 2007 1:06 PM

Yay, the gun debate! -sarcasm-

My husband and I talked about having a gun in the house. We have both shot guns and know what we're doing. But, as others have written, getting the gun out of the locked safe, locating the bullets, and loading the gun all in the dark before your intruder finds you is pretty darn unlikely.

I wouldn't mind having a non-working gun by the bed just so I have something to wave around to hopefully scare the intruder away (if my two baying hunting dogs didn't already take care of that).

Right now, we have a hunting knife under our mattress. That's easier to get to, but requires some strength to use.

What's funny is how cautious we've become as we've gotten older. I used to live in PG county on a college street where sexual assualts occurred, well, not infrequently. I didn't even carry pepper spray, and I walked alone a lot. Stupid! Now I live in a little city in NC and I'm worried about someone breaking into my house.

Posted by: Meesh | July 12, 2007 1:10 PM

"Loaded gun in a gun safe under the bed. Gun safe has a push button combination requiring simultaneous pushing of various buttons."

Wow, didn't know there was such a thing. Not sure I'd trust that, though, since my 20-month-old views buttons as "things that must be pushed repeatedly until something happens," and closed doors as a challenge to be overcome. :-) He's already managed to delete shows from my Replay when it wasn't even on to start with (grrrr) -- and we won't even talk about the fascination with cellphone, blackberry, computer, and DVD player. . . .

Posted by: Laura | July 12, 2007 1:10 PM

Oooh, I picked a good time to check in. Educmom, what are you reading? (One of my favorite questions.)

Posted by: WorkingMomX | July 12, 2007 1:11 PM

Marie,
Even though I'm one of those people who wouldn't be comfortable with a gun in the house, I respect the (careful, reasonable) people (like you) who feel differently.
I know what you mean about the strung-out impulse thief -- he's the one who would probably be armed.

Posted by: educmom | July 12, 2007 1:11 PM

"For those of you who are against having guns in the home:

Would you refuse to date anyone who would have a gun at home, whether they be law enforcement, hunter, collector, or self-defender? How early in the relationship would you start that conversation?"

I have a long list of dating "love deal breakers":

Hunters and gun enthusiasts are one step below drug dealers. No dates ever. No sex. Yuck!

Posted by: Born Free | July 12, 2007 1:12 PM

Thanks educmom. I appreciate your comment.

Posted by: Marie | July 12, 2007 1:15 PM

I wouldn't have a gun in my home because I'm hot-tempered (German/Irish). My husband would be in more danger than any potential burgular. LOL.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 1:16 PM

I'm reading:
Persuasion (after the Austen conversation yesterday, I had to)
Jude the Obscure (thanks, Fred)
My Antonia
The Lilies of the Field
Our Man in Havana
All the Pretty Horses
The Inimitable Jeeves
Mr. Paradise (Elmore Leonard)
Bad Business (Robert Parker)
Twelve Sharp (Janet Evanovich)
AND anything else I can find around here that I haven't read for a long time, which means I can't remember the plot. I may try Jane Eyre again too.

Posted by: educmom | July 12, 2007 1:17 PM

Off topic

Actually, what I'm most worried about is escaping the house if a fire starts. The house down the street from ours exploded (propane tanks), and it really made me start worrying about the gasoline, oil, and propane in our garage.

Does anyone have advice for preparing for that?

I worry especially while we're gone and our dogs are at home. We have the little stickers that read "Firefighters: save our pets--we have 2 dogs", but other than that, we don't really know how to safeguard them.

Posted by: Meesh | July 12, 2007 1:17 PM

WorkingMomX:
What are you reading?
I like this topic better!

Posted by: educmom | July 12, 2007 1:18 PM

I'm deaf; can't hear alarm and dog bark. Intruder shoots dog. Now what?

Darwinism takes its course.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 1:18 PM

There was a Jane Austen conversation yesterday? I knew I must have missed something! I must go back and read it.

I love Wodehouse and My Antonia is one of my all-time favorite books. What a great list! What about Tesss, another great Hardy book.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | July 12, 2007 1:19 PM

"Gay Mom to Be -- whichever route you take, make sure you are both comfortable with it. "

Yes. Usually one partner is more bent on having a gun in the house and "persuades" the partner who has less power in the relationship to go along. This is a power issue in the guise of a "home security" issue. Stand your ground on this.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 1:19 PM

There are alarm systems for deaf people, involving flashing lights.

If someone really, really, really wants to kill/rape/steal from me, they can probably do it. I think about not making myself an attractive target and about defending myself in ways that cannot be taken from me or used against me, not about being invulnerable. No one is invulnerable.

As for the guns/dating question, I think that's along the lines of any lifestyle choices that might take someone out of my likely dating pool. I don't make blanket statements about who I will and will not date without having met the person first. I have been involved long-term with someone who had guns in the house, and in that case I trusted their years of training and expertise and no kids were involved. My partner and I do not have those years of training and expertise, and we will have kids, so I don't want guns in the house. IME, mistakes too easily become permanent.

Posted by: Gay mom to be | July 12, 2007 1:22 PM

"I'm deaf; can't hear alarm and dog bark. Intruder shoots dog. Now what?"

"Darwinism takes its course."

Can't knock science.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 1:24 PM

I read it in college, and didn't like it -- I guess I don't buy into Hardy's determinism. Also, I never understood why Tess didn't just speak up. Maybe I was naive (I was in college), so I might try it again, since I haven't touched it since.

Posted by: educmom | July 12, 2007 1:24 PM

I am reading:

"Last Child in the Woods" (again)
Eldest
HP and the Deathly Hollows the minute it is released
The Omnivore's Dilemma
The Diary of a Provincial Lady
The Lightning Thief

Posted by: WorkingMomX | July 12, 2007 1:25 PM

I'm deaf; can't hear alarm and dog bark. Intruder shoots dog. Now what?"

"Darwinism takes its course."

Father of 4 is in big trouble!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 1:25 PM

"locks that have keys on both sides to prevent smashing a door window in and unlocking" -- against fire code in most localities. Change before you put your house for sale.

Posted by: REA | July 12, 2007 1:25 PM

I am really surprised that people are spouting so-called gun safety nonsense.

My friend Ken used to stay with his grandparents for the summer. We'd play at his house while they would take naps or be outside working on the lawn. We were getting the movie projector out of their closet when we found the safe. We tried a bunch of combinations before hitting on his grandfather's birthday (right 07 left 21 right 23 or something like that) and it opened, revealing papers, cash and two loaded cowboy revolvers. I was very safety conscious and unloaded the guns before playing with them. We checked those out at least a dozen times that summer. It was an adventure. Ken moved to Florida when I was 8. Which means this happened either age 6 or age 7!

I knew all about my house, where my father kept the keys to the shed, cleaning solvents, and other places I wasn't supposed to get into with little brothers in the house. As soon as I stayed home alone I was going through the entire house, opening everything, usually looking for Christmas presents, etc. I was able to break into my grandparent's locked barn by going through a window and got in trouble for messing with their serious dangerous farm equipment.

My wife comes from a family of cops. On three separate occasions she was in the house when a police weapon misfired while locked on safety. They fell or were knocked from the shelf, closet, etc where they were stored. Her parents tell the same stories, and I've seen the sloppy replastering, so I don't doubt them one second.

So those are my guns and kids stories. #1, you are naive to think a 7 year old can't get into your safe. You are naive to think a 9 yr old doesn't know your secrets. #2. Safe police firearms discharge often.

you are welcome to think what you want, but I'm not exposing my kids to that level of senseless violence.

Posted by: DCer | July 12, 2007 1:26 PM

First, I have to say that we do not have a gun in our home nor would I feel comfortable with one in MY HOME. But I understand and accept that people do have them and if stored properly and safety, should not generally be a safety issue.

I also have to say that I love dogs and I do have a dog (albeit a small one) but I have to point out that for those of you suggesting getting rid of the gun in place of a "big, scary dog" to deter criminals, how would you deal with a situation where someone or someone's child is in your home and bitten or attacked by your dog?

I think this is similar to the point made "Should I not get a swimming pool since a child could fall in?"

Do you trust a dog, even a well-trained one, to be left alone with your children or someone else's, even if you are just in the other room or they are out in the yard, more than you trust a properly stored, unloaded, locked away gun?

I'm just curious... since people are bringing up these potential perils...

As an unrelated side note re: the issue of dad's driving the babysitter home...

I babysat a little girl for several years and the parents alternated taking me home (my mom usually dropped me off). No matter who brought me home, they almost always brought the little girl along so I could sit in the backseat with her, thus reducing any awkwardness of having to sit in the front with the adult (there never was any though). They usually did not stay out late enough that it would hurt to take the toddler/preschooler along for the 15 minute car ride or disrupt her bedtime.

Posted by: guns, dogs | July 12, 2007 1:26 PM

"Darwinism takes its course."

When kids are killed with guns in the home.

You have a point.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 1:28 PM

I want to read Last Child in the Woods. I assume you're getting a lot out of it, if you're reading it again. I have read ABOUT The Omnivore's Dilemma at length, so I don't feel like I need to read the book, but I might get it anyway.

And I forgot to mention (I am blushing here): I think I'm the only elementary teacher in America who has NOT read HP. I've asked my sons to dig theirs out -- they have the first 4 -- so I start with them, get the other 3 myself, and finish all seven before August 20th.

Posted by: educmom | July 12, 2007 1:31 PM

Hunters and gun enthusiasts are one step below drug dealers. No dates ever. No sex. Yuck!

You value a criminal more than you value a law abiding citizen? Don't ever call a cop for anything as many are gun enthusiast and hunters.

Posted by: to Born Free | July 12, 2007 1:32 PM

"I'm deaf; can't hear alarm and dog bark. Intruder shoots dog. Now what?"

"you are screwed and hope the police show up in time to keep you from occupying a body bag"

Me and DH.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 1:32 PM

"You value a criminal more than you value a law abiding citizen? Don't ever call a cop for anything as many are gun enthusiast and hunters"

It's a DATING list!
Do cops get the best dates?

Posted by: Born Free | July 12, 2007 1:38 PM

educmom, I thought you would have had to read HP as a condition of employment!!

I'm getting so much out of "Last Child". In fact, I think it was on this blog that someone suggested it. Either this or on Parenting.

I am flying on the 21st in the afternoon and I will be in my room reading and on media blackout until I am done. I am wearing headphones into the store to get the book and will keep my eyes on the floor. I am definitely a bit obsessed. Plus, I have a bet with one of my staff on whether HP dies (I say no). Our wager is a bottle of Conundrum.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | July 12, 2007 1:38 PM

I have to point out that for those of you suggesting getting rid of the gun in place of a "big, scary dog" to deter criminals

Big scary dogs are NOT meant to be around kids. Never leave a small child with any dog unsupervised, they are still animals. Breaks my heart to read kids maimed or killed by family dogs.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 1:41 PM

So in order for your kid to go play at someone else's house -- no guns, smoking, dogs or pool?? What if one of the two adults in the house had a beer while watching the game? Is that okay?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 1:44 PM

Hunters and gun enthusiasts are one step below drug dealers. No dates ever. No sex. Yuck!

So much for getting to know a person. born free is probably date free at the moment

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 1:44 PM

"So in order for your kid to go play at someone else's house -- no guns, smoking, dogs or pool?? What if one of the two adults in the house had a beer while watching the game? Is that okay?"

This is why you should take care of your own kids...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 1:46 PM

"So in order for your kid to go play at someone else's house -- no guns, smoking, dogs or pool?? What if one of the two adults in the house had a beer while watching the game? Is that okay?"

This is why you should take care of your own kids...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 1:47 PM

"If you want to be safe, never ever have a teenage boy or a man babysit your kids unless the guy has his girlfriend / wife there to help out."

Posted by: Victimized & Abused | July 12, 2007 08:17 AM

"FWIW - As a dad, I initially thought I was just being paranoid telling my wife that I always wanted her to be the person that drives the babysitter home at night [assuming that they are too young to drive] -- talking with a couple of other dads in on the block I found out that all of them had also come up with that rule independently."

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 10:00 AM

Both of these cases are covered by simple rules that prohibit a man from being secluded with a girl or woman who is not his wife or close relative. The prohibition applies to girls and women aged three years or older, and to boys and men aged nine years or older. These simple rules protect against three bad possibilities: (1) The man or boy molests or (R"L) rapes the girl or woman; (2) the girl or woman makes a false accusation against the man or boy; (3) the two of them engage in consensual promiscuity.

If the male babysitter's wife is with him, he is not "secluded" with your children, so it is OK. If he is a teenaged, unmarried boy babysitting for your little girls, it is not OK and you should get a teenaged girl to babysit them instead.

If the father drives the babysitter home, and the mother is in the car with them, it is OK. If the father is alone with the female babysitter in the car, even if nothing happens there is the appearance of the possibiity of impropriety, so the father should not do this; instead, his wife should drive the babysitter home.

The fact that the other dads on the poster's block decided independently not to drive babysitters home demonstrates that these simple rules against seclusion, although they certainly go against the norms of today's secular culture, amount to plain common sense, propriety, modesty and safety.

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | July 12, 2007 1:49 PM

What if one of the two adults in the house had a beer while watching the game? Is that okay?"
-----

Here's a real-world question I remember from being a kid. What if one of the parents fired up a joint while practicing the guitar? Suddenly Mr. Army turned into Mr. Vietnam Veteran.

Posted by: DCer | July 12, 2007 1:52 PM

Here's a real-world question I remember from being a kid. What if one of the parents fired up a joint while practicing the guitar? Suddenly Mr. Army turned into Mr. Vietnam Veteran.

Not sure but I bet that knocks you out of the "pool" for good.....

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 1:54 PM

Beachweek reading. Now that's an interesting conversation. But I never seem to get as much reading done as I would like.

This summer's list:

A World Lit Only by Fire
A Widow for One Year (Irving)
The Age of Innocence (maybe)


Posted by: Emily | July 12, 2007 1:55 PM

What about porn in the house -- say Playboy magazines. If your kid found them while he was playing at a friend's house, would you let your kid play there again?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 1:55 PM

"You value a criminal more than you value a law abiding citizen? Don't ever call a cop for anything as many are gun enthusiast and hunters"

It's a DATING list!

You are still saying that you would date a criminal before you would date a law abiding citizen.

I would hate to think who you feel might be qualified to go on a date with you.

Posted by: to Born Free | July 12, 2007 1:56 PM

Matt

"If the male babysitter's wife is with him, he is not "secluded" with your children, so it is OK. "

Huh? Couldn't the male babysitter sexually assault/harm one or more of the kids while the wife was in the bathroom?

You don't know much about pervs.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 1:56 PM

If the father drives the babysitter home, and the mother is in the car with them, it is OK.

Then who is watching the kid?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 1:56 PM

It never ceases to amaze me that you people can turn an already garbage blog into raw sewage by the middle of the afternoon.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 2:00 PM

DCer

"As soon as I stayed home alone I was going through the entire house, opening everything, usually looking for Christmas presents, etc. "

DH did the same thing in his parents' and grandparents' homes. Easily found lots of contraband, including guns & porn.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 2:00 PM

Summer Reading:

"Donald Duck and the Golden Helmet"

"Donald Duck, Lost in the Andes"

"Uncle Scrooge, Land Beneath the Ground"

"L'europa cristiana: un saggio esplorativo," by J. H. H. Weiler

"Quadrant" Magazine's special double Winter reading issue, July-August 2007, featuring "Is America in Decline" by David F. Mosler, "When Europeans Settled in Shanghai" by J. J. Spiegelman; "Atheism, Music and Civilisation" by Paul Monk, and poetry by John Whitworth, Andrew Lansdown, Jo McInerney, and Jennifer Comption. This magazine just came in the mail from Australia this morning.

"How We Got Here : The 70's--The Decade that Brought You Modern Life--For Better or Worse," by David Frum

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | July 12, 2007 2:01 PM

It never ceases to amaze me that you people can turn an already garbage blog into raw sewage by the middle of the afternoon.

And this contribution really lifted it up, right?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 2:02 PM

I am flying on the 21st in the afternoon and I will be in my room reading and on media blackout until I am done. I am wearing headphones into the store to get the book and will keep my eyes on the floor. I am definitely a bit obsessed. Plus, I have a bet with one of my staff on whether HP dies (I say no). Our wager is a bottle of Conundrum.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | July 12, 2007 01:38 PM

__________________________________

"a bit obsessed?" Ya think?

While you're at the store, try picking up a life.

Posted by: Yow | July 12, 2007 2:02 PM

"What about porn in the house -- say Playboy magazines. If your kid found them while he was playing at a friend's house, would you let your kid play there again?"

Yes, as long as my kid keeps bring the Playboys home...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 2:04 PM

"While you're at the store, try picking up a life. "

What aisle?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 2:07 PM

I have a big, scary "looking" dog. He's a boxer. If a robber broke into my house, I'm pretty sure my boxer would lick him to death. But the robber doesn't know that, and when the robber is casing my block and choosing between my house and the house next door, I'm pretty sure he's going to choose the one without the 70lb scary looking dog. The robber doesn't know if you have a gun in the house, so its not really a deterent, is it?

And yes, I do trust my dog around kids. He loves my 9 month old. He loves all kids. So I get the best of both worlds.

As for the comment about using an unloaded gun to scare off a robber...what do you think's going to happen if the robber has a gun? He most likely had no plans of shooting you, just wanted to scare you...but when you point your unarmed gun in his face, why wouldn't he shoot you on the spot when he's fearing for his own life now?

Posted by: Kristin | July 12, 2007 2:08 PM

Ouch, Yow. I'm hardly the only one. At least it's not porn.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | July 12, 2007 2:08 PM

"'If the father drives the babysitter home, and the mother is in the car with them, it is OK.'

"Then who is watching the kid?"

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 01:56 PM

Then pile the little sleepyheads into the car with you, your wife and the babysitter. But don't drive the babysitter home yourself. Why give even the appearance of impropriety?

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | July 12, 2007 2:08 PM

Matt

"Then pile the little sleepyheads into the car with you, your wife and the babysitter. But don't drive the babysitter home yourself. Why give even the appearance of impropriety?"

It's all too much trouble. I'm staying home tonight.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 2:11 PM

Also, Yow, I have a life -- which will resume at full speed as soon as I'm finished with Book 7. If I didn't have a life, I could take my sweet time . . .

Posted by: WorkingMomX | July 12, 2007 2:13 PM

Matt

"Then pile the little sleepyheads into the car with you, your wife and the babysitter. But don't drive the babysitter home yourself. Why give even the appearance of impropriety?"


Or send her home in a cab.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 2:15 PM

As for the comment about using an unloaded gun to scare off a robber

NEVER pull a gun out that you are not prepared to fire. This is life and death people not a play

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 2:18 PM

Clearly some people live in a constant state of paranoia. I don't think my husband would ever think twice about driving a teenaged babysitter home at night. The vast majority of people are NOT evil and do NOT have evil intentions! That doesn't mean these people don't exist, but it amazes me that anybody would go around always thinking the worst of people.

But that is their loss...

Posted by: londonmom | July 12, 2007 12:12 PM
==============
As the "victim" of unwanted sexual advances by multiple males as a child/teenager (I looked older than I was body wise); as sad as it is - there ARE people who do take advantage and are imappropriate. And people you would trust. I agree it is SAD because most people do not have EVIL intentions; but it is the few that DO - that cause the paranoia. And to take action to protect yourself - that is not a bad idea. Even from both sides because a male could easily be falsely accused of imappropriate actions.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 2:19 PM

Hate to sound ugly, but why is my responsibility to get her home? She can walk, driver her car or better yet have HER parents pick her up. That is the best way.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 2:20 PM

Then pile the little sleepyheads into the car with you, your wife and the babysitter. But don't drive the babysitter home yourself. Why give even the appearance of impropriety?

This makes no sense at all.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 2:21 PM

Actually, my motto would be "Don't own a gun unless you are prepared to kill someone with it". I wonder how many of us have contemplated what it would feel like to take someone's life, even in a situation like some are describing where it's in self-defense. I'm not saying I'd rather die or watch my loved ones die. I'm saying owning a gun is not something to be done lightly.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | July 12, 2007 2:21 PM

"Hate to sound ugly, but why is my responsibility to get her home? She can walk, driver her car or better yet have HER parents pick her up. That is the best way."

One of the reasons it is hard to find a babysitter.

Walk home late at night? I don't think so.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 2:23 PM

"NEVER pull a gun out that you are not prepared to fire."

My weapons training instructor said "Never pull out gun that you are not prepared to fire to KILL".

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 2:26 PM

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 02:26 PM

you are right, the last thing you wnat to do is pull a barney fife...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 2:29 PM

From Freakonomics:

"In a given year, there is one drowning of a child for every 11,000 residential pools in the United States. In a country with 6 million pools, this means that roughly 550 children under the age of ten drown each year. Meanwhile, there is 1 child killed by a gun for every 1 million-plus guns. In a country with an estimated 200 million guns, this means that roughly 175 children under ten die each year from guns. The likelihood of death by pool (1 in 11,000) versus death by gun (1 in a million plus) isn't even close: Molly is roughly 100 times more likely to die in a swimming pool accident at Suzy's house than in gunplay at Rick's."

Posted by: For Marie | July 12, 2007 2:32 PM

Posted by: For Marie | July 12, 2007 02:32 PM

you obviously are just an NRA nut, didn't you get the word? guns bad, pools good. The best post was that idiot that said she would date a drug dealer before a gun collector.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 2:36 PM

But you are alive and have some fun stories to tell, so am I. Beats being shuffled from piano lessons to SAT prep.

Posted by: to DCer | July 12, 2007 2:45 PM

but what if the drug dealer were armed?

Where that that put him on the date-o-rama meter?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 2:55 PM

Is a person (male/female) who has had weapons training an acceptable date? This assuming that the individual does not currently own any type of firearm?

Or does the person need to be a "gun virgin" before being elevated to that lofty status above a drug dealer?

Posted by: to Born Free | July 12, 2007 2:58 PM

but what if the drug dealer were armed?

Where that that put him on the date-o-rama meter?

probably the free drugs would outweigh the gun to brain free

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 2:58 PM

still going on and on about guns and feeling up the babysitter? come on people...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 3:02 PM

this blog is in a free fall......

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 3:05 PM

"In a country with an estimated 200 million guns, this means that roughly 175 children under ten die each year from guns."

-------------------------

what is the us population? I think you have to count # households not # guns. Owning > 1 gun is more common than > 1 pool.

Posted by: quibbles | July 12, 2007 3:15 PM

To sum up today's blog. All men and boys above 12 are evil minded, gun toting, meat eating, animinal killing perverts who incessently read Playboy. These males are a danger to small children, swimming pools and large females. All these males should be exiles along with their guns to some heretofor deserted island where they can whack each other.

The only salvation for civilization rest with women bring up their children (males only up to the age of 12) and their drug dealer cab drivers as they represent no danger to anyone.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 3:18 PM

Whatever happened to that jokester guy?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 3:18 PM

Hey! It's MY dating list. You don't like it, make up your own. I also won't date a married man. Run with that.

Posted by: Born Free | July 12, 2007 3:26 PM

What's the difference between a clitoris and a golf ball?

A man will spend 10 minutes looking for a golf ball.

Posted by: jokester impersonator | July 12, 2007 3:26 PM

Married men OK. I would be interesting in who else is on your no date list.

Posted by: to Born Free | July 12, 2007 3:30 PM

Hey! It's MY dating list. You don't like it, make up your own. I also won't date a married man. Run with that.

Big deal, what do you want a cookie? You remind me of Chris Rock "Hey, I ain't never been to jail."

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 3:34 PM

Partial list for No dates:

Cat haters/dog haters (includes allergies)
Military
Clergy
Men with dependent children

Posted by: Born Free | July 12, 2007 3:34 PM

women with dependant children?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 3:39 PM

How about men who expect to stay home with the children you have together after you are married - you can be the breadwinner?

Posted by: to born free | July 12, 2007 3:41 PM

people without a partial lobotomy?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 3:42 PM

7 men gored by bulls in Pamplona Spain. This explains two things:

#1 - why women are smarter than men
#2 - Why Spain really is not quite a first rate country.

I always root for the bulls!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 3:42 PM

men with honor?
men with taste?
men with any sense?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 3:46 PM

Men who live in Pamplona?

Posted by: to Born Free | July 12, 2007 3:47 PM

maybe women are running faster than men?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 3:47 PM

men who do not want to be PW?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 3:48 PM

men with class?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 3:48 PM

"How about men who expect to stay home with the children you have together after you are married - you can be the breadwinner?"

Yes, if has really, really good genes. That's his biggest contribution to the family. Bonus points if his mother is dead...

Posted by: Born Free | July 12, 2007 3:51 PM

Men with very very large.................................

wallets!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 3:51 PM

men who are not blind?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 3:53 PM

"Men with very very large.................................


wallets!"

Not interested. They tend to have very large egos!

Posted by: Born Free | July 12, 2007 3:54 PM

Not interested. They tend to have very large egos!

At least the wallet makes the ego more tolerable. Imagine being with a guy with no cash and a big ego? Eeee gads!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 3:56 PM

"As for the comment about using an unloaded gun to scare off a robber..."

Yeah, that was me. I thought about it like this: I hear the intruder breaking in. I grab the gun, open the bedroom door, and yell "I have a loaded shotgun. If you come up here I'll shoot." Then I can make some gun sounds. I wasn't picturing actually putting the gun to his or her head. That would make a bad situation worse, I agree.

"NEVER pull a gun out that you are not prepared to kill someone."

I've heard this little gem too, but never the reasoning. Is that supposed to scare people? I really don't get it.

In our conversations about defending the house with a gun, my husband and I agreed that we'd prefer a shotgun over a pistol because the shotgun blast is more likely to hit the person but less likely to kill. Does that mean I shouldn't have a gun because I would rather injure the person rather than kill him or her?

Posted by: Meesh | July 12, 2007 3:59 PM

"Men with very very large.................................


wallets!"

No, theses men tend to also have very, very large egos.

Posted by: Born Free | July 12, 2007 3:59 PM

comenting on a troll's no date list..yep this is the bottom of the barrel alright.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 4:00 PM

Men with rifle racks on their trucks
Men in pick-up trucks
Men with tattoos and/or piercing
Men living with their mother
Men who carry their money in change purses
Cops
Lawyers
Men who want to get married just to stay in the US
Men who spend time on blogs
Smokers
Hypochondriacs
Professional musicians
Truck drivers
Men who wear white socks with sandals
Men who spit
Trekies
Men who can recite every word of 'Die Hard'
Men with hobbies so time-consuming you spend every weekend at car shows, gun shows, train museums, trekie conventions, or Scottish games.
Men who claim to be gourmet cooks but can only open a soup can.
Men who think a party is a six pack and a bag of Fritos.

Posted by: More no daters..... | July 12, 2007 4:03 PM

I've heard this little gem too, but never the reasoning. Is that supposed to scare people? I really don't get it.

because simply put, he may take the gun away and shoot you. If he is prepared to kill you and you are bluffing, you are at extreme danger of being killed. A gun is meant to shoot and kill or disable an attacker. It is not a prop in a play

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 4:03 PM

Manhattan real estate agent Tom Postilio said there is a waiting list of seven or eight people hoping to pay $225,000 for one of five private parking spaces that has been approved in the basement of 246 West 17th Street, a 34-unit condo development scheduled for completion next January.

New Yorkers must be the biggest idiots on earth to put up with this robbery

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 4:18 PM

They're dumb enough to live in New York. That explains it.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 4:23 PM

"NEVER pull a gun out that you are not prepared to kill someone."

'I've heard this little gem too, but never the reasoning. Is that supposed to scare people? I really don't get it.'

Because if you pull out a gun, you may kill someone--not necessarily the person you intended--a lot faster than you might ever have thought possible. Therefore, you'd better be prepared to kill someone.

Frankly, if you're not scared of threatening someone with a gun, I don't think you can be taking the act very seriously.

Posted by: former gun owner | July 12, 2007 4:32 PM

New York city is no place to raise a child. I cannot believe that people actually choose to live there AND pay crazy amounts of money to do so - only to have to pay out the nose for private schools since the public ones are pathetic.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 4:35 PM

New York city is no place to raise a child. I cannot believe that people actually choose to live there AND pay crazy amounts of money to do so - only to have to pay out the nose for private schools since the public ones are pathetic


I agree, i have visited several times and could not imagine paying all that money for what? Nice places to eat and an occasional show? taking the subway every where and smelling urine? NO THANKS!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 4:40 PM

More no daters...
That narrows the field, doesn't it? Is your list of 'make me want to date you' longer?

That said, here's one of mine:
Men shorter than me (5'4"). I dated a couple short guys before I was married and they all had Napoleonic complexes.

Another one: men who would dress up as a comic book, movie or children's book character, unless it was to entertain their OWN children or their OWN children's school class.

WorkingMomX:
I'm going to try to not find out how the series ends, since I'm planning to read it all at once. I might manage for a little while, since I'll be in the Outer Banks, probably without Internet access; I hope the hype has died down by the time I get back. Good luck with your media blackout!

Posted by: educmom | July 12, 2007 4:42 PM

Both of these cases are covered by simple rules that prohibit a man from being secluded with a girl or woman who is not his wife or close relative. The prohibition applies to girls and women aged three years or older, and to boys and men aged nine years or older. These simple rules protect against three bad possibilities: (1) The man or boy molests or (R"L) rapes the girl or woman; (2) the girl or woman makes a false accusation against the man or boy; (3) the two of them engage in consensual promiscuity.

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | July 12, 2007 01:49 PM

The Taliban takes a similar position and we all know that it makes no sense to challenge their ideas of common sense, propriety, modesty and safety. Maybe if you kept all of the women at home, not in school and not otherwise interacting with men, men would have more freedom. What a great idea!

Anyone endorsing this thinking might as well put a big red sign on his back warning young girls that they have reason to fear you. Normal, nice guys wouldn't dream of living like this.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 4:47 PM

Did anyone tell these ladies that Harry Potter is a children's book? Do you people seriously stand in line with a bunch of 10 year olds? Woah - that's wacked.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 4:48 PM

When I was young my parents were part of a co-op in the neighborhood and we always went to the "babysitter's" house. It was exciting for us because we got to see our friends, and then it was easier for the whole family because they all got to stay at home, with my parents dropping us off and picking us up since they were out and about anyway. We also had babysitters that came regularly, they were all teenagers in the neighborhood, and one of the best was actually (gasp) a guy.

I used to baby-sit quite often when I was a teenager as well (in the late 90s), and it was always expected that the parents pick me up at home (until I could drive and had my own car). I got paid $15/hr for up to 4 kids and then the rates went up from there and the parents always tipped as well. Maybe I was in a neighborhood that could afford those rates, but that is what we all got paid. (there was a group of about 10 girls that tended to do a majority of the babysitting in our circle)

I think it was different then, because now I live in the same neighborhood, and would be willing to pay even more, but there doesn't seem to be anyone who wants/needs the money. I don't know what has changed, but whether or not we needed money, we were expected to demonstrate a sense of responsibility and initiative.

Posted by: AT | July 12, 2007 4:55 PM

Anyone endorsing this thinking might as well put a big red sign on his back warning young girls that they have reason to fear you. Normal, nice guys wouldn't dream of living like this.

Sorry bub, wake up and smell the coffee. Only an idiot would put his whole life in jeopardy to be alone with a young girl in a possibly compromising situation. The nitwits are the women here who refuse to admit the liability such a situation can create. The taliban? please give it a rest

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 4:57 PM

Men with diamond horseshoe pinkie rings and bodyguards named Vinnie

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 4:58 PM

Both of these cases are covered by simple rules that prohibit a man from being secluded with a girl or woman who is not his wife or close relative. The prohibition applies to girls and women aged three years or older, and to boys and men aged nine years or older. These simple rules protect against three bad possibilities: (1) The man or boy molests or (R"L) rapes the girl or woman; (2) the girl or woman makes a false accusation against the man or boy; (3) the two of them engage in consensual promiscuity.

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | July 12, 2007 01:49 PM

The Taliban takes a similar position and we all know that it makes no sense to challenge their ideas of common sense, propriety, modesty and safety. Maybe if you kept all of the women at home, not in school and not otherwise interacting with men, men would have more freedom. What a great idea!

Anyone endorsing this thinking might as well put a big red sign on his back warning young girls that they have reason to fear you. Normal, nice guys wouldn't dream of living like this.

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 04:47 PM

Since you are not the one who would have their life ruined by a false accusation, I really don't care what you think of me. Normal nice guys everywhere live like this. And why shouldn't we? Because young girls would never do anything like falsely accuse a man of improper behavior? Yeah right.

Women/girls can be just as destructive to others as men/boys.

Posted by: devils advocate | July 12, 2007 5:02 PM

"Did anyone tell these ladies that Harry Potter is a children's book? Do you people seriously stand in line with a bunch of 10 year olds?"

Oh, heck no. I ordered my copy from Amazon.com.

Posted by: Laura | July 12, 2007 5:06 PM

New York city is no place to raise a child. I cannot believe that people actually choose to live there AND pay crazy amounts of money to do so - only to have to pay out the nose for private schools since the public ones are pathetic.

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 04:35 PM

I imagine someone saying this as she sits in the den of her 1800 square foot cookie-cutter beige house in some nameless suburb.

yeah, imagine living in a city with Broadway, literally hundreds of art museums, parks, ethnic restaurants, parades, festivals, and fabulous science, math and other speciality public schools. How terrible it would be to raise kids who know how to play chess, take public transportation, root for multiple professional sports teams, communicate in a language other than English, whose sheltered jaws don't drop at age 24 when they first meet a cross-dressing male, and who understand that it's gauche to make sweeping statements about things you don't know about.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 5:11 PM

devil's advocate - I have a serious question: what would be the teenage babysitter's motivation to falsely accuse you? The public school teacher being worried I can understand; any student who feels in any way slighted could decide to retaliate with false accusations. But why would any teenage girl really care that much about the father of the kids she babysits for?

When I was a teenager, even when we felt like some guy was a pervert, all we ever did about it was complain to each other, and maybe not sit for that family again. Has there been a huge problem in your area of teenage girls accusing fathers who drive them home?

Posted by: Kathrina | July 12, 2007 5:13 PM

sheltered jaws don't drop at age 24 when they first meet a cross-dressing male, and who understand that it's gauche to make sweeping statements about things you don't know about.

_______________________

Yeah, one of my greatest concerns is that my 24 year old is not surprised by cross dressers. Secondly, you bozo, I lived in NYC for 6 years. I know what I'm talking about and it is a miserable place to raise a child unless all you care about is raising an obnoxious, status conscious, foodie child.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 5:25 PM

Only an idiot would put his whole life in jeopardy to be alone with a young girl in a possibly compromising situation.

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 04:57 PM

Dear God, I can't stop laughing. So you were never 17 then? 17 year old guys LIVE for the opportunity to put their whole lives in jeopardy to be alone with a young girl in a possibly compromising situation.

But seriously, consistent with this thinking, I assume that you never speed (you might hit another vehicle and the passengers or driver might sue you for a soft-tissue injury - whiplash, anyone?), never have guests over to your home (someone could slip, fall, and sue you), never let passengers ride in your car (you might be involved in an accident and they might sue you), never hire anyone (you might get sued for behavior on or off the job, for discriminatory hiring practices), never fire anyone (you might get sued for unlawful or discriminatory firing), never have consensual sex (she might accuse you of rape), and never, ever touch someone outside of the bedroom (assault is nothing more than an unpermitted touching, even if all you are doing is assisting an elderly, blind woman across the intersection). It's hypocritical to take the position that you risk NO liability in this one area of your life, but you are comfortable taking on the risk of liablity in other areas of your life every single, friggin' day. And guess what? The actual risk of being the target of a lawsuit by a guest, a passenger, an employee, a date, or any other person who wanders through your zone is signficantly higher than the risk of a baseless accusation by one of your babysitters.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 5:30 PM

I know what I'm talking about and it is a miserable place to raise a child unless all you care about is raising an obnoxious, status conscious, foodie child.


Don't forget the urine....

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 5:31 PM

New York city is no place to raise a child. I cannot believe that people actually choose to live there AND pay crazy amounts of money to do so - only to have to pay out the nose for private schools since the public ones are pathetic


I agree, i have visited several times and could not imagine paying all that money for what? Nice places to eat and an occasional show? taking the subway every where and smelling urine? NO THANKS!

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 04:40 PM

Shhh. Listen to the sound of one psycho anon having a conversation with herself.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 5:32 PM

I always thought it would be incredibly cool and interesting to live and raise a child in New York City. So much to see and do. What a vibrant, interesting place to live. I think the suburbs are a pretty scary wasteland of McMansions, strip malls, Chuck E Cheeses, and bad fast food places. Have you ever noticed that when you drive through these neighborhoods, no one is walking around, not a child in sight? They seem like ghost towns.

Which is why I like living in NW DC. We may not be as big as NY, but at least we can walk to the metro and the park, where we meet up with the neighborhood kids. Our house is tiny by McMansion standards, but our world is big and interesting.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 5:33 PM

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 05:30 PM

yes becuase life is full of risks, I should add another. real logical squirt. The men we are talking about are not 17. Why would a woman lie? Now I am the one rolling on the floor laughing. Umm, mad at boyfriend, bored, seeking attention, hates your wife, didn't get the allowance to watch her favorite band? WHO KNOWS? Get a grip.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 5:36 PM

Our house is tiny by McMansion standards, but our world is big and interesting.

As is your crime and murder rate....

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 5:37 PM

whose sheltered jaws don't drop at age 24 when they first meet a cross-dressing male,

Ah yes just the family values that one wants to teach their child. Thanks for making our point.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 5:39 PM

This anon guy who thinks he will be falsely accused of sexual misconduct of some sort seems very strange to me. What a thing to be obsessed with. Unless, of course, you are always trying to keep your impulse toward these behaviours at bay. And then, of course, I would understand the need never to be in a position that could ever be construed to be in any way compromising. Maybe it's not that he does not trust the babysitter. Maybe he does not trust himself.

Posted by: Emily | July 12, 2007 5:40 PM

I know what I'm talking about and it is a miserable place to raise a child unless all you care about is raising an obnoxious, status conscious, foodie child.

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 05:25 PM

Based on your attitude, lady, you are destined to raise an obnoxious child whether you relocate to the ends of the earth or stay in Woodbridge.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 5:40 PM

Ah yes just the family values that one wants to teach their child. Thanks for making our point.

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 05:39 PM

Are there two of you in your head? Is there someone you want us to call to help you with that problem?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 5:43 PM

Based on your attitude, lady, you are destined to raise an obnoxious child whether you relocate to the ends of the earth or stay in Woodbridge.

---------------------------------
Maybe, but at least my kid won't be doing 8 balls at his prom because he started clubbing at 14 and I'm talking about the lucky CPW kids of affulence here, not Harlem.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 5:43 PM

Based on your attitude, lady, you are destined to raise an obnoxious child whether you relocate to the ends of the earth or stay in Woodbridge.

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 05:40 PM

This coming from someone who thinks exposing children to cross dressing weirdos is a favorable thing to do. This blog does attract some nitwits.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 5:47 PM

And then, of course, I would understand the need never to be in a position that could ever be construed to be in any way compromising. Maybe it's not that he does not trust the babysitter. Maybe he does not trust himself.

You are truly an idiot.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 5:51 PM

"yes becuase life is full of risks, I should add another."

Here's the deal, Bruce, because logic does appear to be troubling for you.

Life is full of risks and there are varying degrees of likelihood associated with each of those risks. Do you live in a bubble to prevent contracting avian flu? Of course not, because it makes no sense to rearrange your life in order to avoid taking that risk. The risk of a false accusation of sexual conduct by a babysitter is significantly less than the chance that you'll contract and die from avian flu. Yet you would rather rant on on a blog about avoiding being in a car with a babysitter than to take any steps to avoid other risks of liability that have greater $$ exposure and occur far more frequently, e.g., to 1 man in 8000 each calendar year, like the chance that a guest in your house or in your car will sue you for injury.

A logical person evaluates the likelihood of certain bad things happen, identifies those threats which have the greatest exposure and the greatest likelihood of occurrence and exerts the maximum effort into preventing their occurrence, and lives with the low exposure, low likelihood events.

To do otherwise is to indicate an obsession and not a logical, coherent concern.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 5:53 PM

The comments about men being alone with younger girls and the 5:30 response raise an interesting issue -- I think you get sensitized to what you live every day. Being female, I honestly haven't given the false claim idea a lot of thought. It's easy to think, "oh, we know her, she's nice, she'd never do anything like that" when you're not the one faced with the possibility of a false allegation.

On the other hand, I recognized myself in the 5:30 response -- I am MUCH more concerned about getting sued! I've been known to tape up notes on our front porch warning that it was slippery. Of course, anyone with half a brain would know that things are slippery in the snow. But I'm a lawyer, and even though I don't do personal injury stuff, I am still tuned into how easy it is to bring claims even stupider than that -- and I know how long and expensive it can be to defend against even a frivolous claim. One example: we got one really stupid case thrown out even before trial, but the client has had to pay us to defend them against every appeal known to man (the plaintiff actually took it to the US Supreme Court). Even stupid claims can cost big bucks -- and I'd prefer not to be the one paying.

The fact is, there are crazy people out there. You can't let the fear of what they might do run your life. But at the same time, if there's something really simple you can do to minimize a risk, then I don't have a problem with doing it. So if my husband doesn't want to take our babysitter home, I'm happy to do it -- just like he doesn't mock me TOO much for being such a ******* lawyer. :-)

Posted by: Laura | July 12, 2007 5:56 PM

Maybe, but at least my kid won't be doing 8 balls at his prom because he started clubbing at 14 and I'm talking about the lucky CPW kids of affulence here, not Harlem.

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 05:43 PM

If you would permit your 14 year old to go clubbing if you lived in NYC, then we can anticipate that your 14 year old will be the town tramp, smoking, kicking back a 40 ounce and holding court in the backseat with the dads of the kids she babysits. You don't plan on raising your child. A city is going to do that. Let us know how that works for you.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 6:05 PM

And then, of course, I would understand the need never to be in a position that could ever be construed to be in any way compromising. Maybe it's not that he does not trust the babysitter. Maybe he does not trust himself.


You are truly an idiot.

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 05:51 PM

Bruce,

if that's the best you have, you are a one-legged guy in an ass-kicking contest.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 6:07 PM

You can't let the fear of what they might do run your life. But at the same time, if there's something really simple you can do to minimize a risk, then I don't have a problem with doing it. So if my husband doesn't want to take our babysitter home, I'm happy to do it -- just like he doesn't mock me TOO much for being such a ******* lawyer. :-)

Posted by: Laura | July 12, 2007 05:56 PM

Laura,

If he doesn't want to, that's between the two of you. The rest of the village nitwits, however, are trying to shame him by calling him -- and anyone married to him -- naive for being willing to do so. Are you buying into that?

I suggest, though, that it's not really simple. You, because you are the wife, are now going to be the designated driver on every date for the next 10 years? because it wouldn't be responsible for you to drive the sitter home if you've partaken. I realize your daughter is no longer an infant, but moms of children under 1 are notorious sleep-deprived. Does it make sense for a sleep-deprived, nodding off at 9 p.m. mom to be driving someone else's child home and risk injury to both sitter and mom?

For me, the easier solution is don't hire sitters who can't drive, but, taking all emotion out of this topic, it still strikes me that risk and liability have to be evaluated reasonably and in light of available hard data - rather than on the basis of rumor and innuendo along the lines of, "I once had a cousin in San Antonio that got sued . . . ."

Posted by: MN | July 12, 2007 6:19 PM

If you would permit your 14 year old to go clubbing if you lived in NYC, then we can anticipate that your 14 year old will be the town tramp, smoking, kicking back a 40 ounce and holding court in the backseat with the dads of the kids she babysits. You don't plan on raising your child. A city is going to do that. Let us know how that works for you.

_______________________________

Because 14 year olds always tell the truth and go where they are saying they are going. At some point you have to let your kid go out on their own, I'd rather they not have access to experiences like trannies and clubbing until they are old enough to make good decision. the city isn't doing the raising, but the people in it, including their peers do influence them. NYC is a great place to live when you are young and single or newly married, but not a place to raise children. they need access to grass that isn't a subway stop away, they need to ride bikes and play in the sprinkler. You act like every parent in the city is going to MOMA every weekend - pulheeze - they don't use that stuff anymore than people in DC hit the Smithsonian.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 6:24 PM

You act like every parent in the city is going to MOMA every weekend - pulheeze - they don't use that stuff anymore than people in DC hit the Smithsonian.

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 06:24 PM

I'm not acting in any way, ma'am, other than horrifed at your abdication of being a parent. If don't expect to have any control over where you 14 year old - 14, not 17, in case numbers are a problem for you to understand -- is. Since you expect you will be lied, too, I agree you will be. But sure, go ahead and prioritize blades of grass over having a good mom. That makes sense.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 6:28 PM

I think it would be best to have the babysitter's parent pick up the sitter; several posters have suggested this. The parents doing the hiring should tell the sitter when they will be home, and be home when they promise, so the sitter's parents aren't hanging out in the driveway for an hour. No potential for pervy dads to paw, or for lawsuit-happy litigants to litigate.

_____________

You are truly an idiot.

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 05:51 PM

Bruce,

if that's the best you have, you are a one-legged guy in an ass-kicking contest.

Posted by: | July 12, 2007 06:07 PM

LOL! QOTD!

Posted by: educmom | July 12, 2007 6:32 PM

If don't expect to have any control over where you 14 year old - 14, not 17, in case numbers are a problem for you to understand -- is. Since you expect you will be lied, too, I agree you will be. But sure, go ahead and prioritize blades of grass over having a good mom. That makes sense
___________________________
And you can keep acting as if you live in some sort of utopian buble where your kids are exposed to only the things you like about a given place (aparently including trannies, but your fondness for them is another discussion) while shielding them from the bad. Any parent who expects their kid will never lie to them is EXACTLY the parents whose kids do lie and continually pull the wool over their eyes.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 6:49 PM

or busier than a one armed wallpaper hanger.

Not QOTD material.

Posted by: to educmom | July 12, 2007 7:09 PM

"Have you ever heard a woman say she crosses the street when she sees a man walking toward her? Do you think she is living in a constant state of a paranoia? Similar principle, but accepted."

Emily, do you think it is strange that the woman would cross the street when it is only a POSSIBILITY that the man walking toward her would attack her? Then why shouldn't a man avoid a situation where there is only a POSSIBILITY that he would be falsely accused?

It seems to me that in cases of sexual misconduct where there is no real evidence, it is a burden on the man to prove it didn't happen as opposed to the woman/child proving it did. In he said/she said situations, the alleged victim is generally given the benefit of the doubt.

I have daughters and sometimes I must work on Saturday mornings. My husband would not agree to allow my daughters to have friends sleepover on Friday night if I was working on Saturday morning. He also said that he never wanted to be in a position where he could be falsely accused of anything.

For those who think that the babysitter's parents should pick them up - Get real. We do enough running for our kids without having to pick them up late at night because you were out having a good time. We may make our own plans for the night.

I think part of the problem is that parents have made their children so paranoid, our kids can mistake a friendly smile from an adult male and blow it out of proportion to be something sinister.

Posted by: late to the game | July 12, 2007 9:46 PM

"Then why shouldn't a man avoid a situation where there is only a POSSIBILITY that he would be falsely accused?"

Then the best place for him is the monastery. There's a POSSIBILITY of being falsely accused of almost anything from the moment you roll out of bed in the morning until the moment you crawl back in at night.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 9:56 PM

A great site for those interested in starting a babysitting co-op, or making theirs easier... http://www.babysitterexchange.com

Posted by: Exchange | July 13, 2007 12:09 AM

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