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Location: Northern California

Read all about the adventures of the Tsao Family during the summer of 2012

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


I married a teenage babysitter

With holiday and party season fast approaching, it's time I come to the realization that has been gnawing at me since last summer, the realization that I married a teenage babysitter.

Before my husband and I were married it was understood that I was the social butterfly of the group and he was—by choice—the social outcast. Much like a teenage boy, my husband prefers staying home to going out, being on the computer to socializing with people he barely knows, and being on the computer to socializing with people he knows well. He’s a computer nerd and that’s all there is to it.

I, on the other hand, love a good party. I also love a bad party. I like to talk, laugh, drink, then talk, laugh, and drink some more. Before I had kids I was routinely the first to arrive and the last to leave any bash. "Early to party and late to work" was my motto throughout most of my twenties and thirties. That's just how I am.

Because my husband and I only qualified as a childless couple for less than a year of our entire relationship (I can go over the math with you in person, if you'd like), we have been bringing babies and toddlers with us to parties for almost as long as we have been going to parties together.

We obviously only go to parties that feature balloons, juice boxes, and the occasional tantrum thrown in to keep things lively.

We recently were lucky enough to go to a party for an adult friend. He was turning 37 and his wife threw him a surprise birthday party. What fun! Especially because we were free to bring our kids since she assured me that she had made it a kid-friendly event. Drinks and kids—double the fun!

Because I am a self-professed social butterfly and my husband is a nerd with a reluctant social streak, our roles at parties usually go something like this. I talk, I laugh, I drink. He hangs out in the corner with the toys and watches the kids. Periodically I'll shut my yap long enough to check up on him and bring him a soft drink or a bowl of chips. Sometimes I’ll watch the kids while he takes a bathroom break.

This arrangement suits us fine except when my husband decides he wants to have a conversation with an adult. Then he tags me "it" and I continue to talk, laugh, and drink while watching the kids with one eye. My good eye, of course.

At our friend's surprise birthday party my husband dubbed me the it girl and I did my best to carry on adult conversation as if I had no kids while at the same time watching my kids. Really I did.

Everything was fine until I saw my eight-month-old son crawling off the deck and into my friend's family room. What is that child up to, I thought, as I reluctantly gave up my seat at the adult table and ambled over to where I saw his diaper-clad bottom go.

When I entered the house, I was greeted with, "Is he yours?" as well as a harsh stare by my hostess’s father-in-law. Holding my child in one hand and a little red ball in the other, he continued, "I found this in his mouth and he needs a diaper change." I held out the hand that was not holding a drink and laughed, "Silly kid, I’ll take him now." He did not give him back to me. "He needs a diaper change. He could have choked." I set down my drink, held out both hands, and motioned to my diaper bag in the corner of the room, "I swear I’m going to go change him right now, and thanks so much for getting rid of the choking hazard. I really appreciate it." Reprimanded and red-faced, I slunk away to find a changing table with my baby boy firmly in my arms.

At the time I was too embarrassed to do much more than change my kid's diaper and feel sorry for myself. After some thought, I now am comfortable with the knowledge that some people are just better at some jobs. Some moms (like me) are better at being social butterflies. And some dads (like my husband) are better at being teenage babysitters. This holiday season I'm putting my husband on full-time babysitting duty at all parties we attend. And if he wants a raise, I'll give it to him. He’s worth every penny.