I have four families that I babysit for on a regular basis, and three of these families there has been an 'incident' with one of their kids under my watch that hasn't been very good.
Now, before you start calling Child Protective Services on me, understand a couple things:
1) I take care of these kids as if they were my very own.
2) Accidents happen, especially with kids.
3) I do the best I can to keep all the kids safe and away from harm at every opportunity.
Thankfully the moms (I say moms because they are usually the ones dropping off or picking their kids up) understand this.
Family #1 was the first family I babysat for, and they are friends of ours from church. It happened as an emergency situation; there had been a huge problem at the daycare they had been with and needed to find someone immediately to finish out the school year. Their child was 2, and both parents were teachers. Everything was going great...then the child was bit by a rabid raccoon in my care. I did everything I could to keep the child protected, even put myself between the two, but he was bit regardless of my efforts. His parents were amazingly calm (I say amazingly as this happened only a few short days after their second child was born), and not only did it strengthen our relationship, but I continued babysitting for them, and am in my third year of caring for their children.
Family #2 was a family that I didn't know at all. They were referred to me by a mutual friend, so we barely knew anything about each other. My very first week watching their kids, their oldest fell down our basement stairs and crashed into the wall at the bottom of the stairs minutes before they were scheduled to be picked up. He was shaken up, but okay. It wasn't easy telling their mom what happened when she arrived! She was extremely understanding, and I'm in my fourth year of watching their kids :)
Family #3 is also one I didn't know very much. The mom is a teacher at school, and her sister had been babysitting their daughter. Then the sister moved south, leaving them without a babysitter. It was literally days before the school year started last year that I signed on as the babysitter, and we made it through the year incident free. This is my second year babysitting for them, and past week has been a different story; last week I almost dropped their almost 4 month old by tripping over a toy, and I scratched his face and drew a little blood. Then their 2 year old was fine in the morning on Friday, then had explosive diarrhea (all over my bed...) during nap time, but was fine after I called her mom to come get her. Then today I almost dropped the baby again (I tripped over the cat and the dog, then the bouncy seat in which I really hurt my ankle), but he barely even noticed. Then the older child broke out in random hives after nap today (she's fine now, thank you Benadryl!).
So I was feeling like a crappy babysitter today with everything that went on in the past week with Family #3, which then brought back memories of the other incidents with the other families. For some reason, if something happens with my kids that they get hurt or sick, I'm not so hard on myself. I know I'm doing the best I can, but I can only protect them to a certain extent. But with babysitting kids, if anything happens to them, I feel awful. Almost like I'm incapable of keeping anyone safe. I know, I know, I'm too hard on myself. I just want to do the best I can, and when things go wrong I feel like a failure.
Today I am very thankful for the mothers of my babysitting kids. They trust me completely with their kids, and even when things go wrong, they are understanding and assure me that accidents happen. I have a great group of families I work with, and am so blessed by spending time with each and every one of their children.
What are you thankful for today?