A great babysitter can really become part of the family if you go out enough. Your children learn and respect them and they have to take on the role and responsibility of a parent when you are away. This is no easy feat — both to find this elusive parent substitute and the will to leave your precious child in the hands of a complete stranger. So when Claudia Sorhaindo looked down at the picture on her phone she immediately assumed the worst.
It’s difficult for any working parent to spend as much time as they would like with their child, but when you are also a single parent it becomes nearly impossible. Still, Claudia somehow made it work. Sure, it might mean that she had zero social life but being with Ava was far more important to her, so when she got an email calling her to a meeting out of town she faced a difficult situation she’d never encountered before.
Claudia knew when she’d accepted the job promotion that the new position would come with important duties but she didn’t realize it would be the very next week. She had zero time to properly interview anyone to look after Ava and she was extremely picky with choosing a new caretaker. But there was no other choice, there was simply no chance of missing her first meeting. Even if it didn’t make her look unreliable she just didn’t have any leave left. She had no choice but to go.
Her first thought was to rope in a family member. Then at least she knew who was in her house with her child. She knew before she made the first call that everyone was busy but what could she do but try? Just as she had predicted, all of Claudia’s relatives were committed to other things that weekend but her sister mentioned that J’Ann, Claudia’s niece was available. As terrible an idea as that sounded, what choice did she have but to consider the young girl?
While her sister sang J’Ann’s praises telling Claudia of the numerous babysitting jobs she had done there was still a nagging voice in her head that screamed this was a bad idea. She might have the experience but it’s a different thing when it’s your child involved. Still, her choices were to lose her job or to trust that her 15-year-old niece was capable enough to watch Ava for an entire weekend. Would she come to regret this decision? Either way, there was no more time left.
Saturday came too quickly, bright and early J’Ann stood waiting outside her aunt’s house. Her punctual arrival wasn’t enough to calm Claudia in the least. She knew this was a terrible decision and she almost decided to stay. Instead, she showed J’Ann the baby food and changing room and went through each and every number on the emergency number list she’d printed out… just in case. Numbers that would do her no good when she was hundreds of miles away.
Her mind flitted between Ava and the stressful meeting ahead. She couldn’t seem to get herself together. A nerve-racking taxi ride to the airport became a horrible ascent into the sky and with take off only made her realize the worse part of the trip so far… She’d have to switch her phone off. Hours felt longer than ever before with no ability to check in on J‘Ann and Ava and she was getting anxious.
The small aircraft was packed full for this flight. The other passengers bumped Claudia as she struggled past in her new work heels and carry-on. She had never been a good flier but the extra stress of leaving her baby at home with a teenager was causing her to freak out. People pressed against her from both sides and it felt like she was struggling to breathe. When would the plane land so she could check on Ava!
An eternity passed and then the plane began to descend. The wait before she could turn her phone back on was the longest yet until finally she pushed the button and watched the start-up screen flicker to life. One message buzzed as the signal was restored with a tiny picture of her daughter twisted into a life-threatening position. Her legs appeared swollen to double their size. Claudia knew what she had to do completely on instinct.
She stabbed at the phone screen, trying to open the picture message to access the threat. She held back panic with a sheer force of will as her brain fought to make sense of what the picture meant. The larger picture made just as little sense as the thumbnail so he turned to the next piece of information… what J’Ann had written to accompany the terrifying photo.
Claudia opened the message from J’Ann. Her motherly instincts were on overdrive. J’Ann began the message by explaining that she was hungry and had decided to make herself a sandwich. While there is nothing wrong with making a sandwich, this would mean that she would need to leave baby Ava alone. Claudia wasn’t ready for what she saw in the picture J’Ann had sent her. Before the reality of what she was looking at had even hit her, she called 911 on pure instinct.
Ava’s legs looked swollen… And what was she wearing? Claudia’s heart skipped a beat as she tried to piece it all together. What had happened to her baby? Her thoughts raced a mile-a-minute as she remembered everything from all the books she’d ever read on childcare. But as she zoomed into the image to get a closer look, she realized her mistake.
J’Ann, knowing that Claudia was very protective and that she could not leave baby Ava alone, had come up with what she thought was an ingenious solution. The 15-year-old had placed baby Ava inside her loose and stretchy pair of shorts, leaving her looking like a baby kangaroo in its mother’s pouch. The idea seemed good… in theory.
Claudia couldn’t understand what she was seeing. Her first instinct was to call an ambulance. Something about Ava just looked… wrong. It was only after she had already called 911 that she took a closer look. Then, she understood what had happened and began to cackle at the hilarity of it all.
J’Ann’s solution meant that she could make herself a sandwich and keep an eye on Ava all at the same time. The picture not only put Claudia at ease knowing she had made the right babysitting choice but also made her burst out laughing at her niece’s rather unconventional childcare solution. J’Ann’s plan deserved recognition, but how would Claudia do that?
Claudia shared the photo on Facebook with the caption “So… I asked my niece to babysit Baby Ava… later I received a text saying that J’Ann wanted to make a sandwich but didn’t want to let baby Ava out of her sight. Lord send help this was her solution…creativity at its finest.” Claudia thought all was well, but the internet had yet to react. What would the verdict be?
The photo of J’Ann and baby Ava quickly went viral. The internet praised J’Ann for her creativity and dedication to keeping an eye on Ava. Claudia also knew that she would never again have to worry about who to leave Ava with when she has such a capable niece willing to help her. But then, the comments began to flood in.
With more than 300,000 likes and shares, it wasn’t long before others saw J’Ann’s creative alternative to an expensive baby carrier. They all wanted to know where they could buy the pants J’Ann was wearing! J’Ann saw that people loved her new invention and decided to start an entrepreneurial venture of her own.
Claudia created a crowdfunding page on GoFundMe to try to raise the funds to get J’Ann’s new business idea off the ground. She wants to fund the first prototype of her “J’Pants” and hopes to create a viable business model. But how does Claudia feel about being thrust in the spotlight?
Some netizens wished they had thought of such an ingenious solution. One commented: “Brilliant! Carried my babies around on my hip in the ’70s. I wish I had thought of this!” While others say that the idea had potential. One user wrote: “you could make maternity pants that turn into this after! Get a patent on that! I see $$$$$$” So, that’s exactly what J’Ann is going to do.
Naturally, Claudia is supportive of J’Ann’s idea. She was so grateful that her 15-year-old niece had taken such good care of little Ava that she’ll never feel insecure about getting her to babysit again. J’Ann really went above and beyond to make sure that Ava was never out of her sight – even for a second!
Claudia wrote on the GoFundMe page: “My niece J’Ann is so excited to design a working model. let’s encourage her to use her creativity to design something wonderful that will help caregivers everywhere!” The crowdfunding page has raised $215 so far, but many people are promising to back J’Ann. One user wrote: “I will be donating on my payday next Thursday. You are a very smart and intelligent young lady, don’t you ever forget that sweetie!”
But Claudia wasn’t the only mom to get a surprise from her babysitter. What one mom got was far less pleasant. She had asked her mother to babysit her child, but quickly realized what a mistake she had made…
She had been excited to see her daughter, although it had been nice to have the day off so that she could run some errands. But she never expected her own mother to put her in such a rage. It wasn’t the usual grandma offenses, either. She didn’t load Trish up with sugar or let her stay up past her bedtime. No – what she did was much, much worse. It wasn’t the usual grandma offenses, either. She didn’t load Trish up with sugar or let her stay up past her bedtime. No – what she did was much, much worse.
Trish greeted her mom excitedly, running up for a hug and handing her a manila envelope. Her mom, thinking nothing of it and expecting a doodle or love letter from her daughter, opened it up and unfolded the offending piece of paper inside. When she started to read, she couldn’t believe it. And then, she saw red.
Grandparents play a vital role in families. Everyone can agree that it’s great for them to spend time with their grandchildren and share the knowledge they have accumulated throughout the years. They always have funny stories and hold a wealth of history — it’s all the fun stuff without the responsibly of parenthood. Your job is done and dusted when your children move out and start their own families. But there’s nobody better suited to babysit than granny… or is there?
Sophie and her mother had never quite seen eye-to-eye. As soon as she finished college, she got as far away from her as possible. Her two siblings followed closely behind, and soon, all the Miller sisters had put an entire state between themselves and their estranged mother. But Sophie thought that it was important for her daughter, Trish, to see her grandma from time to time. Trish’s visit to granny resulted in a scorned mother and a post to ‘Ask Amy’ named ‘Burned By Grandma’. You read that right.
Surely Grandma Miller can’t be blamed for making sure that 14-year-old Trish had a good time while she was visiting? She had planned everything down to the last detail. She’d booked train rides into the city to visit the Field Museum of Natural History and the Art Institute of Chicago, with stops for lunch and dinner in between. But then, she did something outrageous.
Mrs. Miller was a retired college professor, but to her daughters, she was well-known for being severe, petty, and emotionally cold. But what she had done on this occasion had taken the cake. Sophie kept reading the letter that had come home with her daughter, dumbstruck. She felt angry and betrayed. With nobody to turn to, she wrote the letter to an advice column that took the internet by storm.
“Dear Amy,” her letter begins innocently enough. “My mother lives in a beautiful lake house that has been in our family for 50 years, and for the second summer in a row, she had my (now 14-year-old) daughter to stay for three weeks.” But a granddaughter visiting her grandmother over summer vacation is common enough, right? Then, things took a strange turn.
Grandma took her granddaughter on a trip to the city to see a museum. One of the items on the list were the train tickets, as well as the admission fee to enter the museum. Their day in the city was certainly a fun-filled occasion for the two because this bill wasn’t small. What exactly did the bill add up to? This grandmother clearly turned this trip into a business transaction without informing her daughter.
It’s an incredibly bizarre story, or this is a weird family. She must have known that this would ruffle feathers. Grandparents are generally eager and excited to get to spend some time with their grandchildren. Was this grandmother teaching her daughter some kind of lesson? Sophie’s face turned white when she saw the bill.
Inside the envelope was an itemized bill. Every item granny purchased for her granddaughter was charged back to the mother. “I sent a check for $300 to my mother to cover my daughter’s expenses during her visit. Upon my daughter’s return, my mother sent me an invoice for $475.50 for additional expenses, including the cost of gas to and from the airport to transport her (45 minutes away), train tickets to go to the city to a museum, and the cost of the museum admission. It was an itemized bill.”
“This is hurtful, as this past winter my mother came to live with us for four months and we paid for everything, including a nice vacation to an island over Christmas. Neither of my siblings has a relationship with my mother because she is petty and doesn’t respect boundaries — like a $300 budget,” Sophie continued in her letter. Maybe Ask Amy could provide some advice.
“How do I address her behavior? I am hurt and angry by her decision to charge me for gas to pick up her granddaughter from the airport, as well as the other expenses,” Sophie explained. “My mother is a single woman (a retired college professor), and we have never asked her to pay for anything. We even write her a check for groceries when she hosts Thanksgiving dinner,” she continued.
“Now I feel she has taken advantage of my generosity, and I don’t trust her to spend time with my daughter because it is just too costly for me (financially and emotionally).” The letter was signed off anonymously as ‘Burned by Grandma.’ But what could Sophie do about it?
Either way, since the trip the mother really is considering whether grandma will be allowed to babysit again, harsh as it would seem. But this was not exactly a request of some compensation for looking after the little girl, but a rather large itemized bill. Nobody ever said looking after children isn’t expensive, but this must have been a nightmare for Sophie. This grandma could have easily spent the time with her grandchild at home, not turning the trip into a lavish see-all and do-all trip.
Ask Amy had replied with the following advice: “You are going to have to express your concern directly to your mother. Your daughter’s trip to see Grammy has cost you (I’m estimating) around $1,000, with plane tickets, plus the invoiced expenses incurred while she was there.” The columnist was clearly trying hard to see both sides of the story…
“Is your mother financially insecure? Is she worried about maintaining her own lifestyle in retirement? These are legitimate concerns,” Ask Amy wrote. Then, she voiced another theory about grandma’s bizarre behavior. Was granny really trying to prove a point with her itemized bill? Sophie took a deep breath and considered the other reason for her mother’s unexpected babysitting bill.
“But is there a legitimate reason she couldn’t stay within the reasonable $300 budget, spending over twice that amount? Is this itemized bill her passive-aggressive way of telling you that she doesn’t actually want to host your daughter for such a long visit?” Amy wrote. “After you communicate your questions and concerns to your mother, you will have to make the tough decision about future visits.”
Will grandma ever be allowed to babysit again? Or is her point that she really doesn’t actually want to? A bit more communication would have prevented all this confusion and disappointment. What is strange about granny’s behavior is that it’s almost as if she resents that her granddaughter comes to visit. But should Sophie pay for a bill she really wasn’t expecting?
The internet is divided on this one. On one hand, Sophie did send Mrs. Miller $300 to cover Trish’s expenses during her stay, but did granny really need to spend all that extra money on expensive activities? And is granny justified in sending her daughter the bill? After all, Sophie footed the bill for her mother’s rent-free four-month stay previously. If it’s some sort of tit-for-tat, Sophie’s in the clear. But should grandmas be paid to babysit their grandkids?
A recent survey on HuffPost polarized readers on the issue of whether grandparents should be paid to babysit. “Yes. They deserve something extra for helping out,” wrote Melissa McCloskey. “It doesn’t have to be huge, but it should be something…” Another reader completely disagreed: “You are going to take money from your kids??” she wrote. “Not unless you really need the help financially, geez…” What do you think? Was Sophie’s mother in the wrong here?