I'm not keen on passing the responsibility of my child over to others. We have had an "independent" babysitter once in five years. By that I mean a non-relative or close friend.
On that occasion, Finje was three. My husband and I had been invited to a "do" by one of his more revered clients and it was important to him that I went along.
Whilst not wishing to stumble into whinging expat mode, such circumstances can have you pining for the Fjörds or in my case, Lancashire. Your support network of trusty relatives is a long way away and whilst you may be going great guns with your new language it probably won't cut the mustard when
interrogating questioning possible babysitters.
Here in the German Outback you don't have access to findababysitter.com and the like, so you may need to take a chance with a friend's cousin's sister's auntie once removed. Or something. We opted for a recommendation from a friend of a friend.
I admit to being hesitant despite the recommendation. I'd been informed her name was Elena, she was 18, intelligent and very capable, being the eldest of seven siblings. Sounded good, though deep in the depths of my maternal being I'd have preferred a grey-haired, kind-eyed, wrinkly, granny type, with half glasses and a carpet bag full of knitting.
Fumbling around in the bowels of my wardrobe, trying in desperation to find something sexy, stylish and preferably without cat hairs or a tomato sauce stain, I struggled to quell the panic. Did we have time to set up hidden cameras? Where does one buy hidden cameras?
By the time the doorbell rang I'd got myself, as my grandma would have observed, into a right lather. Tottering to the door in heels not worn since before Finje was born, I took a deep breath and let the poor lass in.
Elena was attractive, well dressed, very polite and oozed competence. She shook our hands then kneeled to introduce herself to Finje, which she did gently and respectfully. Finje, not one for quietly sizing up a person, crawled onto her back and asked for a pony ride. So far so good.
Then my worries got the better of me. Just as we were exiting the house I turned:
"Oh by the way, if you swear in front of her, smoke within a hundred kilometers of her, hit her or give her chewing gum I will hunt you down and kill you."