Of Monsters and Manuals

So we’re coming up on the vacation trip, and we’re starting to finish our preparations to ensure that the kids are taken care of properly while we’re gone.

Now, when we leave the kids with their grandparents for a night, it’s fairly straight forward.  But the kids aren’t familiar with the babysitter, nor she with them, so there’s additional preparations that have to be made.  (To be fair, the sitter’s met them a few times before this, and she’s sat for us while we went out, so it’s not like she’s some total stranger… but she’s not family either.)

This afternoon, therefore, was a brief ‘shadowing’ opportunity for her.  The basic idea was to let her come over and make sure that we answered as many questions as we could in advance, plus ensure that she was familiar with how the afternoons run around here with the bus and whathaveyou.

As I mentioned (see So Much Paper), the wife spent a lot of time preparing a comprehensive set of documents to lay out everything that we could think of for the children.  This ended up turning, after an adventure with a three-ring binder, into something that’s approaching an actual operations manual for the children.  It has packing lists for the pool (for one child or both) and camp, food lists, the daily schedules… it’s a lot.

Instruction Manual for the BabysiterAnd she organized it with tabs, which just brings to mind exactly how much information it is.

Of course, their grandparents are going to be around for most of the week anyway, and will be dropping by to help quite a bit with R and the Monster.  There will inevitably be a trip to the pool somewhere in there (probably more than one, knowing the way things work) and perhaps a trip to the JCC for a movie that’ll be shown on one evening.  So it’s not like she’s flying solo for the entire week… and we’ll also be checking up with the kids through Facetime at some point, wifi permitting.

Part of today was also trying to think of anything that we’d not thought of previously.  The wife had not thought really about some of the minutiae – making sure that the bus counselors know who it is that will be meeting the bus, or where the fenced-in playground is around here if she wants to take them out.  I’m thinking we should probably include – just in case – directions to the hospital (because you never know) and where the nearby pharmacies and grocery stores are.  I’m somewhat grateful that we’re doing this now during camp, rather than during the school year when there’d be additional complications (much less homework to be done).

You’d think there would be some kind of primer somewhere on what kinds of things you need to tell a longer-term sitter…

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