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Sunday, June 26, 2005

The Lydster -Part 15: Adventurers in Babysitting

I was reminding someone that I was going to be out of work for a day earlier this month in order to watch Lydia. Someone said, "Oh, you're going to babysit Lydia." Hmm. Can you babysit your own child? I've heard this before, and something about it has never resonated correctly with me, but maybe I'm being overly sensitive.

So, I go to several dictionaries to look up babysitting/babysitter:
  • to take care of someone's baby or child while that person is out, usually by going to their home
  • a person engaged to care for one or more children in the temporary absence of parents or guardians
  • a person who cares for or watches over someone or something that needs attention or guidance

    OK, so there's some wiggle room in the third definition.

    Then I asked Carol: "Has ANYONE EVER said to you, "Oh, you need to babysit Lydia [because she's sick, etc.]? And the answer, as I suspected, was "No." SHE watches, SHE tends to, SHE cares for. And I babysit? Nah, *I* watch, *I* tend to, *I* care for.

    I really believe the linguistic distinction matters. When she's ready to be in a relationship and have children THOUSANDS of years now, I want her to have a partner who is a caregiver, not a babysitter.

    Of course, it was difficult to give Lydia care when she went three or four days this month when she ONLY wanted Mommy, ironically around Father's Day, but that too has passed.

    What hasn't passed is her utter rejection of her high chair in the past 72 hours in favor of a "grown-up" chair that she can pull herself onto. She is now at the table (in the booster seat), just like everyone else.

    And that's what I learned about myself from my daughter THIS month. Happy year and a quarter, Lydia.
  • 1 comment:

    ADD said...

    I noticed the "babysitting" misnomer with my own kids as well. My terse response is always "I'm not babysitting, I'm PARENTING."