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In-Demand Babysitter

I’ve written a couple times about
Cora’s babysitting gig – she “helps” take
care of Paige, an 18-month-old toddler, occasionally as
Paige’s mom Allison helps me by taking care of Cora. Cora has
babysat Paige twice and has taken Paige on as her own personal
mission. Every time we walk to school drop-off or pick-up, Cora
wonders aloud if Paige will be there, or if she’ll be left at
home while her big sister Becca is dropped at school alone.

If Paige is at school, Cora will feed the child Cheerios one at a
time. Cora will find Paige’s pacifier. Or blankie. Or water
bottle. Or whatever Paige may (or may not) want. If Paige starts
wandering off, Cora will say, “Paige,” in a half
exasperated, half amused tone. And then she’ll chase after

I imagine Cora’s enjoying the novel
sensation of being the oldest child in a relationship – any
relationship – and basking in the glow of responsibility and
Paige’s adoration. Whatever the reason, Cora mightily enjoys
taking care of Paige.

So yesterday Allison called me for a favor. She’d mentioned a
week ago that she might be a bus mom on an upcoming field trip and
wanted to know if we were available to watch Paige. I’d said
yes, and waited to hear confirmation. Cleverly, Allison called and
basically left a message for Cora, saying she’d need Cora to
babysit one day soon this week.

Knowing Allison had left the message, I put the phone on speaker
and let Cora hear it. When babysitting was mentioned her face lit
up and she began nodding. After I hung up the phone I said to Cora,
“So what do you think? Can you watch her on Friday?”

And here is what my child did.

She walked over to the big family calendar on the wall, looked at
it musingly, stroked her chin, and said, “Friday.
That’s doable. I can do that.”

Where did she learn this? Don’t answer that.

Cora then insisted on calling Allison back herself, and refused to
leave a message while I was standing there, so Alli has a very
creepy five-minute message filled largely with heavy breathing.

But the gist of it, Allison, is that Cora is available. Just let
her know what time.


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