Last night I hosted the WMU at my house. For those of you who don't speak Christian-ese of the Southern Baptist dialect, that's the Women's Missionary Union. It's basically a group of women from church who get together and pray for missionaries, organize mission projects and outreach events, and we do devotionals based on missions. Oh, and we eat. :-)
So, last night I put my kids in the basement playroom with two youth and let them at it while we conducted our group meeting upstairs. Everything went well. Taking into account of course that Lily peed on one of the babysitters. But this is exactly why we overpay anyone who babysits in the first place. If you are brave enough to care for my wild heathens, you will probably be a) thrown up on, b) have peanut butter/jelly/cheese/apple juice/pizza on some part of your body and/or clothing that wasn't there when you got to my house, c) need a band aid/cold compress/Tylenol at some point in the festivities (not just for the kids, but probably for yourself), and d) before you take the gig you need to grasp that getting peed on is a reasonable job hazard.
This is also why we over tip. The second we are seated in a restaurant I give this same speech to the server, "You have a 45-minute window of opportunity here. I can keep all four of these babies under hand and voice command for exactly 45 minutes from the second we sat in these chairs until we are paying the check. After that, it's Thunderdome, Baby, so let's go ahead and get that pen and pad out because it's Go Time and we are ready to order. Either way we are tipping well to compensate you for the noise; for the eighteen times you will have to refill milk, chocolate milk, tea, and juice; for the cracker smeg we are going to be leaving on the table and under it in such quantities that you will have to find and run a vacuum; and well, just because we are Johnsons."
If things aren't going well or the service or food or chocolate milk happens to be taking a particularly long time, I'll smile and add, "Oh Miss? In almost, oh, 17minutes I'm setting these kids free in this restaurant." That usually does the trick. People from neighboring tables start screaming, "For the Love! Give that table our food, and we'll wait for you to cook our order over again!" (Inside Joke Alert: Shout Out to Walter B. from the Land of Vandiver who will give me a rousing chorus of Amens right here. Walter wakes from his sleep cold with sweat at the mere thought that he might be seated next to us in eateries. In fact, he once suggested that we fax him our weekly dining schedule just so he would be apprised of our whereabouts.)
So, we notoriously overpay for childcare and for restaurant service. Hey, you'd want hazard pay if there is a chance someone is going to pee on you on the job too.
In another funny, we ate at I-Hop with the in laws last Saturday and my children were behaving smashingly well. At a nearby booth, there was a young couple struggling with one ornery 2-yr-old (and that's scarier than a hungry bear, my friend). So, the mother had done everything she could do and she finally turned to her husband and hissed, "Look at that table!" (gesturing wildly at us) "That woman has four kids and they are perfectly behaved and we can't keep this ONE KID in check."
On the way out I stopped at their table and said, "Don't worry, it gets easier the older they get," and smiled my best sympathetic smile. I know it's wrong to lie like that, but if I told her about the Cracker Barrel Incident of 2004 when we left prematurely because of the syrup fight and exploding diarreah diaper that covered two children and me and the booth and carpet and server, she might never procreate again.