My salad dressing days

Parental paranoia
June 26, 2005, 1:33 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

[This piece is dedicated to Barbara, who shares my overly vivid imagination.]

Finally, Mr Chick and I have a night out together: a veritable rarity these babied days. Arrangements have been long in the planning for dinner with some dear friends at a groovy little club in Soho…

We shuffle the tiddlers off to bed, trying not to give off those We Are Going Out And Leaving You With A Babysitter signs, leap into a bubble bath (one at a time – we’re no longer in our twenties, y’know) and rifle through drawers/cupboards/wardrobes for those elusive smart [read: unenhanced by baby sick/snot/vomit] togs.

A quick last minute blitz of the toy-scattered living room and ding dong! The front door bell trings, bearing The Babysitter (TB).

Now a little background information: TB is well known to us and the tiddlers. The tiddlers smile and giggle excitedly whenever she appears etc. We are in possession of TB’s home address, her home and mobile numbers. We know her college tutor. We know she does not have a criminal record and so on and so forth. She is, to all intents and purposes, A Lovely Caring Individual.

But, suddenly, faced with the prospect of leaving our precious children in her sole care for four whole hours, she has become a Potential Child Abuser/Kidnapper/Murderer.

Mr Chick pulls me out the front door and fleeps the car doors open. I am feeling a little nauseous. I make up some ridiculous excuse for ‘just popping back in for a second’ (well, if she has plans to do something awful, she will surely have already leapt out of her seat and started constructing some instrument of torture, no?).

‘Just popping back in to [insert ridiculous excuse]!’ I exclaim to TB, who is still sitting on the sofa (apparently watching TV), and then close the door for a second time.

As we drive off, I decide to note down her car registration number, details of model, colour and exact site of scratches on the front bonnet Just As A Precaution, you realise. Mr Chick asks me what I am doing: oh, just making note of an appointment I have next week, I proclaim cheerily. He appears convinced.

Soon we are speeding through the streets of south London and I am suddenly becoming semi-intoxicated by wafts of the Chanel No.5 I sprayed rather too liberally on my person before leaving the house. So I open the window and find myself instead inhaling deeply exhaust fumes from a clapped out Citroen ahead of us.

‘They’ll be OK, won’t they?’ I ask Mr Chick.

‘Who?’ he asks.

‘The tiddlers!’ I protest. ‘Jeeeez!’

I check my watch. OK, so if she is planning to kidnap them, she’s probably thinking of taking them through the Eurotunnel to France. Assuming she has just loaded them up in the car, it’ll be about an hour before they get to Folkestone. So if we call the police within the next 45 minutes, they can probably alert the port authorities in time to catch them as they board the Shuttle. Briefly, I consider (and worry about) whether she knows how to fit the car seats correctly…

Soon we are parking the car and leaping into a cab to take us up to Soho.

Our friends greet us, all smiles to see us again in the unbabied world of night-time Soho. We slurp back a drink or two and then settle down to dinner.

Just as the starters arrive, I check my watch. Eight thirty. Probably lining up to board the Shuttle right now. I turn to Mr Chick.

‘Hey, will you give TB a ring, y’know, make sure everything is OK?’

‘What?!’ he exclaims. ‘I’m sure she’ll call us if there is a problem.’

‘Pleeeeeeeeeease!’ I plead.

‘I’m sure they’re fine! Don’t worry!’ he retorts.

This exchange is repeated four or five times, with me adding for good measure phrases such as ‘If you do this, I’ll do ANYTHING you want!’. He looks rather incredulous or maybe he is pondering what the ‘anything’ could be…a new computer, widescreen TV or a trip on the first flight to the moon, all of which I have previously banned.

‘She’s feeling a little nervous about leaving the tiddlers with TB,’ he confides to our friends.

‘Ah…’, they reply with the what’s-all-that-about look of the Unbabied.

Eventually, after much nagging, Mr Chick relents and slips outside to call TB. He returns and I beg him for Information.

‘They’re fine.’

‘That’s it? They’re fine. What else?’

‘That’s it! She’s in our house and the tiddlers are fine.’

Our friend chips in, smirking: ‘Of course, they always make sure they are home the first time the parents ring!’

This is no time for joking. Perhaps TB is more technologically adept than I have previously given her credit for and she knows how to divert our landline to her mobile and perhaps she really IS sitting in her car with my (heavily sedated) tiddlers waiting to cross the Channel.

The evening drags on. Pudding arrives (too late now to alert the port authorities), then coffee and we quickly jump into the first cab we see. When we arrive home, TB is still on the sofa (no instruments of torture, nor evidence of their construction evident). I quickly thrust some bank notes into her hand and once she has shut the front door behind her but before she has a chance to start up her car, I dash upstairs to find…sleeping tiddlers, arms wrapped around favourite toys, chomping dreamily on dummies.

Phew. Still, she could be working on her kidnap strategy for next time…better dust down that covert home video camera system.


5 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I too used to feel this way when I first would leave my son and go out or even when I had to go to work. Now that he is a teenager, I beg for someone to run off with him (for a little while anyway). HA Glad you had a night out and that the tiddlers were sleeping peacefully. It will get easier each time. Besides, they never do anything the first time… it’s normally after they have been there multiple times and have learned your habits. Just kidding : )

Comment by KGrams

LOL…You are telling my story, Urban Chick! I can relate 100 percent.

What I realised today, is that usually what I am thinking, when I start worrying in with such magnitute, turns out to be incorrect 100 percent of the time!

Hope you enjoyed your evening.

Comment by BarbaraFromCalifornia

I too have an overreactive imagination which for the most part keeps me sane! 🙂

Comment by Atreau

I’m really lucky, I have grandparents waiting in the wings to take care of my little one. The one time I had to leave her with a non family member I reacted the same exact way. Children turn us into maniacs!

Comment by GodlessMom

Freak, SPT chick, Freak. Get a grip.

That’s helpful I think. Job well done.

Comment by Anonymous

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