Unlikely Friends I
Well, to be honest I kept my distance for a while. This new friend-of-my-friend was a strong personality and I wasn't quite sure how to take her.
But then an interesting thing happened. I got to the point where I decided that in order to keep doing my occasional nerd-work from home, I was going to need to get some childcare during work times. Juggling kids and house was just too much to pile in with work requiring peace & quiet, and I had a month or so left on the project I was working at the time.
And not a week later I was hanging at Ms. Diva's house, and the Friend-of-my-Friend happened to be there also and--having decided that she needed a way to make some cash--said, "Do you know anyone who needs childcare?" To which I replied, "As a matter of fact, I need about 10 hours per week of childcare for the next month or so." And then my one month of work turned into three, and before we knew it, the Friend-of-my-Friend became Ms. Sitter Extraordinaire.
I was nervous at first. With the Littler One's many intense feelings, I was nervous about leaving him for 10 hours per week. And not knowing Ms. Sitter all that well, I was nervous (hopeful?) that she (and her two boys) would be a good match for my boys. She assured me that they all would have a great time swimming in the kid-pool and jumping on the trampoline, and I snuck out and went home to my first session of peaceful work-work in a very long time.
Within an hour Ms. Sitter texted me a photo of the Littler One up to his eyeballs in water and dirt, with a huge grin across his face. I relaxed. Within a few weeks, anytime we saw Ms. Sitter at church or out & about, the Littler One squirmed his way out of my arms so he could go give her a hug. And about a month into things, Ms Sitter suggested that, instead of sneaking out like normal, I give the Littler One a kiss good-bye and leave openly. And Voila--no more sneaking out.
Also, as the Littler One made friends with Ms Sitter, I noticed him becoming a little calmer with other folks as well. Not everyone, and not all the time, but still a noticeable improvement from before, when he would scream anytime I left him with pretty much anyone, the Cat Daddy included.
His Highness has always been pretty easygoing, so the fact that he blended right into the mix was no surprise to me. The brilliant part, though, was the way Ms Sitter had of explaining social norms to both her boys and my own. I think we have fairly similar discipline styles to begin with, but Ms. Sitter has a way of explaining things that is logical, reasonable, not too sugary, and of course funny and sarcastic when needed. I like to be a fly on the wall when she is breaking up fights and whatnot because she gives me fresh words to use that make me sound like a parenting genius.
So all in all, we had a successful match as far as childcare was concerned. It didn't stop there though...