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..to send my babysitter home for being too quiet?

(40 Posts)
vanimal Fri 05-Aug-11 11:28:14

I work from home, and have a regular babysitter to watch DD1 (3.11) and DD2 (2.2) for one day a week. She is unwell and can't care for them today, so I have a new girl in. She's 19, has lots of experience of working with children and is NVQ2 qualified.

She is very quiet.

Both DDs came charging up to my study room whilst I was on a conference call with a client. I had to apologise to my client for the interruption (I work freelance, so client relationships are very important to me). The babysitter was still downstairs hmm.

I asked her to plan an activity with them, so I have pulled out their paints and craft-y things, and they are doing this. It's silent downstairs. DD1 was sticking stickers onto a sheet the last time I looked. I suggested they used potatoes and did some potato prints.

I cannot hear a single sound. Apart from the occasional hum or mumble from the DDs.

I think they are sticking stickers whilst babysitter is passively watching them. DD1 is very sociable, but has already complained of being bored, and is being a bit clingy to me - and babysitter has only been here 2 hours!

AIBU to send her packing, and then try to juggle work calls with the aid of Peppa Pig DVDs instead? Or should she stay and supervise in her eerily quiet manner instead?

Groovee Fri 05-Aug-11 11:29:53

Just let her be. I've been a qualified Nursery Nurse and new situations still make me come over all quiet and not myself. I'd be offended if you sent me home for being quiet.

milkshakejake Fri 05-Aug-11 11:31:24

If it's only one day, I'd suck it up and enjoy having your usual one back later!

cjbartlett Fri 05-Aug-11 11:31:47

Sounds like she's doing fine to me
Better than shouting and yelling at them

ImperialBlether Fri 05-Aug-11 11:34:14

You think she's passively sitting there, but you don't actually know, do you?

She was wrong not to stop them coming into your room, but now she's wrong for having them do something quietly downstairs?

bananasplitz Fri 05-Aug-11 11:35:16

maybe she is conscious of you spying on her and watching her every move

she probably doesnt want to initiate anything because she knows you are judging

vanimal Fri 05-Aug-11 11:36:36

Groovee I hadn't thought of that. Maybe she is still getting used to the girls and figuring them out. She is qualified, so she must enjoy what she does.

My usual one plays games, singing, has them out in the garden etc. This one just seems so passive by comparison. I always expect childminders etc to be engaging children in activities.

Maybe I'm just not used to having a peaceful house anymore!

hocuspontas Fri 05-Aug-11 11:38:22

I think you are confusing a nanny and a babysitter!

vanimal Fri 05-Aug-11 11:40:58

ImperialBlether, thats a VERY good point, I didn't think of it that way, she is keeping then downstairs and quietly engaged, she can't really win with me can she!

Bananasplitz, I wasn't spying on her, she is downstairs and I am working upstairs to I can hear everything. It's not a big house, and the doors are all open.

I went downstairs to get some breakfast, and bring that back to my desk to eat, and as they were painting in the kitchen I could see what was going on.

vanimal Fri 05-Aug-11 11:42:22

hocuspontas what would the difference be in this context? (Genuine question, in case I am expecting too much from her).

I just use the term babysitter to describe anyone watching my babies!

GwendolineMaryLacey Fri 05-Aug-11 11:42:27

What exactly is she? She's not a childminder as they wouldn't be under your feet if she was. Is she a nanny, au pair, babysitter? If she actually is just a babysitter then I think you're expecting a lot. Babysitters simply keep an eye on the children so they don't mortally wound themselves in the absence of a parent.

redskyatnight Fri 05-Aug-11 11:45:11

Maybe she has planned a noisy activity for this afternoon? They are painting and sticking atm - that sounds like a "planned" activity to me?

Ephiny Fri 05-Aug-11 11:47:08

She shouldn't have let them bother you when you were working.

But I don't see what's wrong with being quiet. I was always 'quiet' as a child (and still am tbh) and have always been fed up with people viewing it as a failing or something that needs to be fixed. I've never understood why other adults and children feel the need to make so much noise all the time!

Maybe she thinks you want her to keep them quiet if you're working upstairs?

Journey Fri 05-Aug-11 11:48:25

You suggested the crafty stuff to the babysitter and now you're complaining the activity is too quiet! Crafty stuff is a quiet activity.

If your DDs like playing games, singing or being outside in the garden why didn't you suggest this to the babysitter?

I also agree with hocuspontas. She is a babysitter not a nanny.

SpringHeeledJack Fri 05-Aug-11 11:49:02

mightn't they all- babies and babysitter- be feeling a bit shy?

emmanumber3 Fri 05-Aug-11 11:50:22

Urm, just a thought, but maybe she's keeping the DCs quiet because you are working upstairs? Maybe she is trying hard not to disturb you again?

I'd let her carry on for today & the ask your DD's how they think the day went. If they say they don't like her or she didn't play with them/speak to them then you don't have to invite her to babysit again do you?

emmanumber3 Fri 05-Aug-11 11:50:52

then not the

AMumInScotland Fri 05-Aug-11 11:52:41

So, after they had charged into your room, you made a comment to her and "suggested" they do some craft activity. No wonder she is trying to keep them quiet!

It would hardly be fair to send her away for doing what she thinks you want. If she is going to be regular cover, then you need to chat about the kinds of things you'd like her to do. As a one-off, her keeping them quiet and out of your way is enough to ask, isn't it?

lemonandhoney Fri 05-Aug-11 11:54:49

Do not send her home and attempt to juggle calls and DVDs. Trust me, it won't end well. The one time I tried it, dd (then aged 2) sneaked away from the TV, came up behind me while I was on a conference call with a new client (5 of them, spread across 3 different countries), climbed onto the table and yelled "Mummy, I have done a huge poo". I had the phone on loudspeaker, so I could take notes, so of course everyone heard. I have never got over it, and nor have they - they still mention it whenever we talk about planning a call.

It sounds as if she's doing an ok job. As long as they are safe and being well looked after, a quiet day won't do them any harm.

vanimal Fri 05-Aug-11 11:55:44

Ephiny, I didn't mean to offend, I certainly don't think being quiet is a poor personality trait, I meant more that she is being quiet with the children, and not talking to them or keep them amused.

I don't mind the activity being quiet at all, I was just a bit concerned that she wasn't interested in the girls I suppose.

Point taken though - I have asked her to watch the girls so that I can work, and she is doing exactly that. They are quiet too, which is a rarity, but it means I can concentrate and get loads done today (and should therefore get off MN!).

Journey I have suggested to her quite a few times that she takes them out in the garden, but she's only been her a couple of hours, so maybe she plans to take them outside later on (she's here till 4pm).

Also, she is chatting to them now, so that's fine smile

I'll stop being the nightmare boss and let her get on with things now.

<makes a mental note to back the hell away!>

redskyatnight Fri 05-Aug-11 11:57:11

Does she understand what you are expecting her to do? I'm wondering if she just expects to watch the children, keep them out of your way and do some basic child care things while they mostly pootle about on their own ... whereas you seem to expect her to have a plan for activities they'll do today (more like a nanny).

vanimal Fri 05-Aug-11 11:58:38

lemonandhoney that's hilarious, exactly the kind of things mine would do!

WilsonFrickett Fri 05-Aug-11 12:01:05

Oh lemonandhoney that happened to me too! DS and conference calls just don't mix!

vanimal Fri 05-Aug-11 12:01:43

redskyatnight I did ask her to do activities with them, when I called her last night to confirm, and this morning when she arrived, I talked through everything she could do with them, and showed her where stuff was (drawing, books etc).

Right, I am going to make the most of the calm, and get some work done.

Thanks for everyone's opinions

(AIBU's quite a scary place, isn't it? And mine was a relatively minor AIBU. Hats off to posters with juicer dilemmas!)

LIZS Fri 05-Aug-11 12:02:52

Maybe knowing you are working she is afraid to encourage them to be too noisy. Interruption is annoying though.

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