Adventures in Babysitting

For several days last week, I stayed at my sister and brother-in-law’s house while they went on a few-day visit to Savannah with some friends.  I was taking over the care of two small children that she has been watching out of her home and also caring for their dog and cat.

In preparation of this endeavor, I had gone over to her house on several occasions to let the babies get to know me and I them.  One was two months old and the other nine months at the time and already starting to walk.  The older one is there only half a day.  But there was a complication–both babies are very demanding and my sister was feeling the pressure herself. I was feeling very nervous.  What do you do when both are screaming?  My sister tried to think of someone who could come over for a few hours during the time they both needed care…and then our mother came to the rescue.  She offered to come over each morning and give me a hand.

As it turned out, I only needed Mom one day.  The older baby was teething and a little feverish so his parents kept him home for two days.  But on that fateful third day, the morning started out with the newborn and I having to evacuate the house for a few minutes when I smelled something burning after turning the light on in the nursery.  I looked for smoke and didn’t see any but immediately called 911 and asked for fire rescue and told them I was taking the baby outside until they arrived and could find the cause of the smell.

With sirens wailing, two trucks came barreling around the road that runs alongside the pond on the golf course down at the end of the street.  I waved to them to let them know of my location.  About eight men descended from the two trucks, most in full fire-fighting gear…some carrying axes…ready to tear my sister’s house to pieces, if need be, to find the cause of the trouble.

I led them into the house and to the nursery.  One asked if that was the only room that I smelled the burning…yes.  In a short minute, they had discovered the source of the problem.  One of my sister’s four year old grandson’s socks had somehow become wedged next to a light bulb in the chandelier and had started to burn.  I was asked if any children lived at the house and I told them of my sister’s grandson, Nicholas, who visits frequently and often spends the night.

The firemen had a chuckle about finding a tiny sock wedged up there and I was left wondering how that sock actually got up there.  To “wedge” something, a ladder would have been necessary…wouldn’t it?  Before they left, I was advised that the child should have a talking to about the dangers of hot light bulbs and was handed the culprit as they left…one small charred sock.  I was very grateful that the baby and I could safely return to the house and that chopping it to pieces wasn’t required.

This all happened before the second baby showed up and my mother arrived to help.

Still puzzling over how that sock got up there, the mystery was solved after I questioned Nicholas when his father brought him over that afternoon.  He told me that his socks had gotten soggy wet when he and Dad had been washing the car two days prior at Grandmommie’s house.  True to form, he had flung his socks off his feet in taking them off in the nursery and one had become wedged up in the light fixture.  Because it had been so wet, it had taken a couple of days for it to dry out and then be able to “smolder”.  Aha!

The remainder of the day went as well as could be expected with one baby going through separation anxiety and the other thinking he was starving to death all day long!  My mother was a champ.  She sang and talked to the babies and wheeled the one around the house in a stroller…the only thing that seemed to soothe him.  Both children loved Mom’s attention and I was so grateful that she was there to help.

My sister asked if I would come over half a day and help her with the care of the children.  I would love to.  I’ll make a little money and do good service in helping raise two children of the world…it’s my pleasure.

Nicholas is being more mindful when removing his socks.

Nicholas at his Uncle Taylor and Aunt Lizzie’s house with their dog, Cooper.  His Grandmommie took this photo.

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  1. Oh my! This reminds me (as if I needed it) why I like to stay far away from young children–for their sake as well as mine! I bet you’re happy to be home! I would be. 😉


  2. I certainly don’t miss the days of babysitting. I commend you and do get some rest.


    • I really don’t mind caring for babies but it can be challenging and tiring when they cry and cry and you can’t seem to figure out what their trouble is… I guess it’s tough being a baby. 🙂


  3. Chuckling away here with you,now all is well and safe… I know only too well the pressures of looking after young children can be.. Plus how tiring it can get… Becoming a Grandma myself for the first time last year we look after our Granddaughter a few times a week while her mum goes to work.. My Granddaughter is now 15months old.. And a bundle of fun.. But she keeps us on our toes..
    We love here to bits, but at the end of a long day we are pleased for the rest as we hand her back to her Mum.. ..
    Loved this detailed post Gayle and enjoyed your story of your babysitting adventures 🙂 ~Sue xx


    • Yes, I could chuckle too after being found safe. Congratulations on becoming a Grandma, Sue. My oldest daughter and her husband are expecting their first child in a few months…I’m beyond excited for them…and ME!

      I’m glad you enjoyed this…it is an adventure that’s for sure. 🙂


  4. I identify with having to look after two babies at once – I used to mind my daughter’s twins one morning each week, when she returned to work part-time, when they were 13 months old. It was tiring, but I loved having them to myself – and they appreciate me too, even now they’re at pre-school. By the time my singleton granddaughter arrived, I was an expert and looking after her is a doddle!


    • Twins…oh my goodness. I’m glad your daughter was able to stay home with them for a good while. I’m sure you were an expert after juggling two. I consider this babysitting a refresher course in getting ready for my daughter’s first child in a few months….I’m so excited.


  5. Wonderful story. Horrible scare.

    You are braver to take on two such little ones. Bravo for you and how kind to your family.


    • Yes, a freaky scare so early in the morning…so happy it turned out well. It wouldn’t have been pretty if my mother hadn’t been there to help me. At one point, both babies were perched in my lap…one screaming his head off…what to do??? All ended well, the calmer Mom and I were, the better for the two of them. 🙂


  6. Firemen can be scary. I remember when we had a overly red hot firestove flue and they arrived. Those big giant uniforms, boots and axes were extremely intimidating. They were very strong in letting me know to monitor that firestove flue. I was happy they didn’t tear anything down either. The following year we sent a very generous donation when they sent it in the mail. They saved us.
    Socks on a bulb – now, as serious as it could have been – you have to admit, it is a bit funny. Children are a handful at all ages. You did a fine job. Very loving and caring of you. BUT – how else would Gayle be ????
    Izzy xoxox


    • Yes, they sure can be. Were they going to start slinging those axes into the walls at any moment…?! I was very impressed with how quickly they zeroed in on the problem though…they are trained very well. Yes, I saw the humor in it immediately…who would think that a four year old flinging his socks could create such a scenario. A good lesson there for us all.

      And thanks for the compliments, Izzy!

      Hugs… xoxo



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