Babysitting Gigs

Kavi has a babysitting gig this morning — she’s done a tiny bit of babysitting before, pre-pandemic, but more as a mother’s helper, where the mom stayed in the home. Today is full-on babysitting, and I think she’ll do great; she really likes little kids, is very responsible, has done the YMCA babysitting course, etc. Kavi came down this morning and asked me, “Do I look like someone you would trust to watch your children?” I said yes.

(Locals, she’s currently charging $12 / hr, but it’s probably negotiable, and she’s fairly unscheduled for most of the summer — let me know if you need a sitter, and I’ll put you in touch.)

Kavi’s just turned 15, and I’m relieved that she’s interested in working — she wanted to be a local camp counselor, but you have to be 16 for that with our park district. But she’s signed up to do the CIT (counselor-in-training) thing this summer, and will be working a few weeks of camp once she’s trained, under supervision, and she’s excited about it. We’re happy too.

I worry sometimes that growing up in a rather large fairy tale house (our house is only this big because Kevin inherited some money from his grandfather, which is its own complicated thing), that our kids won’t have much work ethic, or much understanding of what a lot of folks’ work realities are.

Personally, I spent over a decade babysitting, then working in fast food places, waitressing, working retail in the mail, doing temp secretarial work, etc. I don’t want our kids to be too insulated from the realities of many peoples’ working lives. To be clear, I wouldn’t say I was ever really poor, because I had friends with money, and I knew I had a safety net should I really need one. But I was certainly seriously stressed about money for long stretches.

Even though we’re very economically privileged now, living a comfortable upper-middle-class lifestyle, I spent many years broke and in debt, sometimes completely unclear on where I’d get the rent money. There were a couple of particularly bad months when I could not find a job for love or money, and I mostly lived on cheap packet ramen and the kindness of friends; once, I literally dodged my landlord in the street, ducking into an alley when I saw him walking towards me, because I hadn’t paid rent in three months.

All of that has shaped my politics — I remember when the Teamsters’ union got me a 25 cent / hr raise, and how that materially improved the conditions of my life. I want our kids to understand that, in their bones, although hopefully without having to dodge their landlords in the street or live on ramen. We’ll see.

So anyway, her babysitting is good, camp couseling will be good, and I hope there’s a somewhat crappy (though not actually abusive, as some are) food service job in her future too. I want Kavi to work a long retail day with obnoxious customers she has to be polite to, standing in one place until her feet ache. I may be a weird parent. 🙂

Switching gears to MY work plan for today — well, Benjamin just left for the airport, which I think means it’s time to get down to summer work for real. I’ve still got a lot of garden catch-up to do, but while he was visiting, I prioritized spending time with him, which I think was obviously the right decision.

We played three different board games yesterday — I taught him Holi and Vye (this one he really liked, it’s a great game, it frustrates me that it’s not more widely available, Kavi loves it too), and we figured out the basics of Through the Ages together, though we didn’t have time to play more than the simplified beginner game, which is really more of a tutorial.

We also spent some time just talking / happily arguing, and ate a lot of cheesecake, because it turned out that yesterday was a Jewish holiday I’d never heard of, Shavuot, where you are supposed to eat cheesecake and stay up all night studying and arguing. We didn’t stay up all night, but we did make it a little past midnight, so I think we’re agreed that we have fulfilled the intended strictures; it was a pleasure observing the holiday with him! Cheesecake holiday may be the best holiday.

Today’s work — well, I slept badly, so I’m going to have to take it a little bit easy, I think. My restless leg stuff has been really bad the last two nights, with my typical remedies not working, which is just kind of miserable, lying there feeling like ants are crawling under your skin when you’re exhausted and trying to fall asleep at 2 a.m.

But I did stay up too late both nights, so I’m hoping that if I am disciplined and go to bed by 10 tonight, I can circumvent it starting up again. I’m fretting a little because doctors really don’t seem to know what causes this syndrome (there are various theories), nor are there reliable medical treatments for it (gah), so if it worsens, that’s going to suck. But fingers crossed, good sleep hygiene will take care of it. I’m going to get my iron levels checked next time I get bloodwork done, because that can be a factor, possibly.

I actually woke up today after 3-4 hours of sleep with my legs still doing the thing, which they’ve never done before in the morning, and that was truly awful. But thankfully, I got up, came downstairs, ate something (mackerel curry on toast — I introduced Ben to Sri Lankan mackerel curry yesterday, which incidentally, was a very cheap and nutritious food that was part of my regular rotation when I started being able to afford a LITTLE more than ramen) and started reading on the couch, and did manage to fall asleep for three more hours, so I’m not TOO exhausted today. I should be able to work some, though I do plan to take it easy.

Garden tasks involve hopefully setting up a fountain in the front yard (I may need a plumbing part that I don’t have, but I can get the pot set up and the fountain and put in some hostas and heucheras around it), mulching the rose area that I weeded a few days ago, and planting a few more salvias.

Writing tasks are many, but if I get one of these at least started today, that will be good; I’m planning to spend at least 4-5 hours writing every weekday starting tomorrow, and going through the summer. Vacation is over, time to dig into summer work for real.

Wasn’t I saying something about instilling good work habits for the kids above? Trying to practice what I preach! Anyway, here are some pics of Kavi heading off to work. She was both exasperated and amused that Amma wanted to take photos of her heading out. But I’m proud of her, so there. 🙂

Mackerel Curry recipe:…/fast-cheap-sri-lankan…/

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