Mike’s mom’s best friend’s daughter Stavroula often helps Mike’s mom when we leave the girls with her overnight. (Did I mention that Mike and I went to Vegas for two nights without the girls! First time with us both out of state for the family!) Stavroula is out of school for the summer (she is 16 years old) and hasn’t found a summer job yet, so I suggested she spent a couple days a week with us helping out with the girls. She doesn’t live close to our house, so that’s a hitch, but she lives close to Mike’s mom, so she can often get a ride with her. This week she came Wednesday morning when Mike’s mom came, spent Wednesday and Thursday night with us, and then I took her home on the way to the Gay and Lesbian Center event (see previous post).
Since she is under 18, she can’t be a certified babysitter for kids in foster care (she’d have to be 18+, tested for tuberculosis, CPR/First Aid trained, and Live Scanned) so I can’t leave her alone with the girls. And they are a lot for one person (who isn’t me!) to take care of. Not that I’m superdad or anything, but I do this full-time, so I know all their tricks and stuff. So at least for this first round of babysitting, I just used Stavroula to help us do stuff that is hard for me to do alone with them. On Wednesday the four of us went to the beach, which the girls LOVE, but is tricky (and a little dangerous) for me to try by myself. They both like to stand close to the water where the waves come in, and get lifted up when a big wave comes in. I can’t do two at once for that activity, so having Stavroula there was a huge help. We also took the girls to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. We are members there and have taken the girls there quite a few times. When I take them myself, I mostly keep them in strapped in the stroller, but this time I was able to let them out to walk (and run!) around, with Stavroula and I each following one of them around. S was a little overwhelmed with the new freedom, I think. She just wanted to go and go and go, and got frustrated when I picked her up to bring her back to where V and Stavroula were going through the aquarium at a more reasonable pace.
I’m going to have Stavroula come back next week for a couple days, but I need to figure out how to better utilize her when we are at home. It was helpful having her play with the girls while I did other things, but I don’t feel like I quite got my money’s worth out of her. Not her fault at all, but I need to give her some more specific responsibilities and get myself out of the picture more than I did the first time around.