On our quest to find Ella a sitter, we interviewed somewhere between 11 and 900 candidates because, according to Brittany, "no one is good enough to watch our little angel." This statement, of course, is currently true, but is subject to change the first time our "angel" runs around the house smearing poop on the wall.
The interview process is quite miserable. It's long, taxing on the brain and involves a list of 1,000 well-prepared (yet incredibly boring) questions that my wife found on BabyCenter.com. This includes snoozers like "What activities do you do with the children?" and "How do you calm them down?" and "How do you discipline the kids?"
While these questions are nice on a macro-level, what do they really tell you about a person? Not nearly enough. That's why I've developed a quiz of five very basic multiple-choice questions that I believe can tell you all you need to know about a potential babysitter:
Question 1: Which of these do you consider your weakest bar sport?
b. Ping Pong
d. Flip Cup
If she doesn't answer "billiards," head for the car. Babysitters must be quick, determined and adaptable. Billiards is a game of finesse (thanks to Benny "The Jet" Wagner for that piece of advice). It's slow and many people need a partner to play. Do you want to leave your child in the hands of someone who is dependant on others and doesn't have the reflexes necessary to catch your child as she falls from the refrigerator she just climbed? I don't think so.
Question 2: Which one of these books did you enjoy the most?
a. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
b. Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
c. A Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
d. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
Any of these answers are acceptable, as this proves your sitter can read. Scoff all you want, but this skill is a must. Sure, it'll come in handy when mom wants her to read Dr. Suess to your kid. But to dad, it's more important to know that she can read warning labels on all house-cleaning supplies and also the note you left telling her that under no circumstance is your mother or mother-in-law allowed to steal the baby. (Bonus Tip: You may also want to provide your sitter with mug shots).
Question 3: If you were stranded on an island with only one person, who would it be?
a. Your Husband
b. Your Children
c. My Children
d. I prefer to be there alone
Trick question. The correct answer here is Mr. T. He not only offers protection due to his badass-ed-ness, but also provides countless hours of entertainment. And while her children or your children may say something cute from time to time, none of them has a catch phrase as powerful as our favorite member of the A-Team: "I pity the fool who doesn't pass this babysitter quiz!"
Question 4: Can you beat me in arm-wrestling?
d. Maybe if you've been drinking
I don't care if I was drunk, injured or asleep, there's no way I'd lose any feats-of-strength competition to a babysitter—at least not a babysitter I'm willing to hire. Any daycare provider who thinks she can beat me in arm wrestling is either 1) delusional or 2) a dude. And I'm uncomfortable with both. Therefore, the only acceptable answer here is "No."
Question 5: Do you read this hilarious blog called "The Life Of Dad"?
b. Most of the time
d. Are you kidding? I have a poster of him on my wall!
Don't trust a sitter who answers "c." She's probably a communist.
(And, if you're wondering, we were lucky to find an awesome babysitter who answered all of these questions correctly—that's right, even the Mr. T. one.)
The Life of Dad is updated most Fridays (barring the call of family duties). Thanks for stopping by and following my attempts to be a good dad, husband and co-ed softball player. I hope you visit again. -- Brian