We have always struggled to find babysitters for our children. We don't have family close by nor to we have friends with teenagers. And I have stopped short of stalking teenage girls at the bus stop for fear of being arrested.
This year, we hit the babysitting motherload. Through various circumstances we have been blessed to find not one, but three reliable babysitters! They range in age from 14 to mid-20s. Seeing as I have an infant, the one I am most comfortable with for all three children is the oldest and I tend to call on her the most. For the rest of this story, we are going to refer to her as Mandy*. (Names have been changed to protect the innocent.)
Now Mandy is wonderful! She is very energetic and fun and the kids love her. Other than the very small issue of her being a Florida fan (Roll Tide!) I have found no flaws with her.
Earlier this week, Mandy was watching not only my 3 but also Libby's friend, Logan while Brad and I were at Logan's house for our weekly bible study. When we returned home, Mandy tells me that the kids were good as usual but that Libby was saying some unkind things earlier. She had tried to talk to Libby about it, but Libby got embarrassed and upset and wouldn't talk about it or apologize. I asked whether Libby was being unkind to Emma Jane or to Logan and Mandy tells me that Libby was actually being rude to her.
I assured her that I would speak to Libby about it. Because I seriously don't want to lose a babysitter because my daughter is being a brat. So as I was helping Libby get ready for bed, I mentioned that I heard she was being unkind to our babysitter. Libby, in true girl fashion, immediately started to cry and said "I just can't talk about it!" Oh, well, we are going to talk about it, girlie!
I let her go to bed, because trying to talk to a tired, unreasonable 4 year old is fruitless. The next morning, I resumed the conversation with her.
Me: Libby, were you saying unkind things to Miss Mandy?
Me: What did you say to her?
Libby: I don't know.
Me: Libby, did you know that what you were saying was hurtful?
Libby: yes. But I didn't mean to hurt her feelings.
Me: Sometimes even when we don't mean to, our words can hurt other people.
Libby: (her face screwed up in pre-outburst concentration) But Mom-my! She is fat!
Do you hear that sound? That is the ton of bricks falling on my head and burying me.
You told her she was fat!!
The mortification I am feeling on behalf of my daughter is so great that I have actually broken out into a sweat.
And all I can think of is my own sister.
Because when I was only a little bit younger than Libby is now, I looked my sister's very large swim teacher in the face and said, "My but you are fat as a pig."
My sister has never quite forgiven me for that humiliation.
If only my three-year-old self had known how that comment would come back to bite me in the butt someday.
We made a special trip to visit Miss Mandy later that day and apologize to her.