D didn't babysit last week on account of Scott being sick (frantic scrambling ensued). I called him yesterday to confirm about babysitting last night; since there had been a break in the routine I thought there was a risk that maybe he'd forget. I left a message.
The phone rang at ten til one. I was in another part of the house and so didn't pick up, but when I checked caller ID I saw that it was him. He didn't leave a message. Ten minutes later when he rang I picked up and he said he had a school project and wasn't going to be able to make it that night. This was 3 and a half hour's notice.
I spluttered. I told him there was no way I could possibly get a sitter so quickly; the kids I'd ordinarily use are in football (along with Connor which is why I needed D in the first place), and the others are in school, which means I wouldn't be able to try to make arrangements til very close to my departure time. He said he'd been trying to reach me all morning. (However, caller ID and phone records say those were his only calls)
I don't like situations where I have to insist that my will prevail, and I can't say I did it gracefully, but insist I did. So we agreed that he would come at our usual time. When I hung up I saw that I had a message. It was his mother, my dear friend. She said that D had been trying to reach me and he'd asked her to leave a message that a school project had suddenly come up and he wasn't going to be able to do it on Thurs since Fri was a school holiday, and she was sorry it was such short notice and that she hoped I got this message before I left.
Oh yeah. There's this delicate issue of my friendship with his mother, and now I'm gun-shy about what happened last month.
I emailed her and told her that I didn't think I'd be able to find another sitter and I was going to have to pay for my appointment when canceling on such short notice, and so I'd insisted and D had agreed he'd come. I asked her if she wanted me to keep her in the loop in these things, or if she'd rather I just handle them between D & me.
I went to pick up Scott at school. I got home about 3:45 and Connor's downstairs with his school friend: I'm the ride to football this week, on the way to my appointment. Connor said as I came in the door, "D called. He thinks he might not be able to babysit" What!!!
I toyed with the idea of not calling, thinking that would force him to honor his commitment. Then I thought that probably wasn't the smartest thing to do. I called, but got his cell's voice mail. I called my neighbors to ask them if they could watch Scott (with 20 minute's notice) on an emergency basis because I thought my sitter was going to cancel. They are wonderful, gracious people, sort of a linchpin that our little group of homes revolves around, but I really hate to make this kind of frantic request. I called Gary to tell him of the change in plans and D called my cell. It was 4:15. I needed to leave at 4:30.
He said his mother had had to go into work and had the car, and so could I come and get him?
It would take me 10-15 minutes to get to his house to pick him up, the same coming back with him. It was right on the border of barely do-able, and I just did not want to be on that frantic edge. I hesitated while I tried to calculate it, then tried re-calculating (I think so poorly on my feet in rushed conditions) (otherwise maybe I'd have thought to ask if I could just bring Scott to his house). Then I just reached a point inside where I felt convinced this whole thing of having my friend's son babysit for me was a. very. bad. idea. I could not think through that conviction and so told him that I didn't think the whole babysitting thing was working and that he didn't need to babysit for me any more.
Then the second-guessing. For some reason this issue that had just happened seemed emblematic of the whole experience, and was why I felt so done with it. But was it fair to generalize this with the whole experience? Yeah, I'd been frantic last week too when he'd not come, but (even though even his mother was dubious at his stated reason of not wanting to get sick and take a chance on missing school--he's been an indifferent student) it was a legitimate cancellation. And, it was possible that he'd only just learned that his mother had had to take the car in to work, and he had tried to call at 3:45 when I could have more easily gone and gotten him (though, he called the home number and didn't call my cell until 4:15). Again, he said he'd been trying and trying to call me, but my caller ID's both cellular and home said he'd only called those 2 times.
So perhaps I was premature in giving up in disgust.
But ultimately, though I could have been more gracious about it, and I was telling him this in the heat of a compressed moment, I do think my instinct is correct: that it's just not a good idea for my friend's son to have this job.
Later, after my appointment I emailed my friend and told her what I'd done: I told her that I was afraid I'd been unfair to D. I told her that I just had an intuitive sense that the arrangement wasn't working out, and I still felt that way, even with some distance from the heat of the moment. I told her I thought D had overstated the degree to which he tried to get hold of me. I told her that I really hoped this wouldn't interfere in our friendship which I hold most dear.
I haven't heard from her yet.
And, I don't have a babysitter for Wednesdays, either.