Since I gave birth to my twins, I have found that the anxiety I already had before having them has been multiplied by a thousand. This huge increase in feelings of panic makes it really difficult for me to be apart from my boys. It’s not that I believe myself to be the only one who knows how to take care of them. I don’t worry about the everyday mishaps, the bumped heads, scraped knees or the occasional bite fight over a toy- Lord knows those things can and do happen on my watch all the time. It’s the fear of a freak accident that makes me so reluctant to leave them. I have visions of a tumble off the couch with an awkward landing that leads to a fractured spine, or a topple into the toilet bowl that ends in an accidental drowning. The rational part of me knows that those things are unlikely to happen and that they could easily occur with me there, but that’s the thing about anxiety- it’s not rational.
My husband and girlfriends let me make excuses as to why I couldn’t leave the boys until they were a year old. Besides a rare night of letting my mom watch them here or there (during which I would spend the entire time pestering her with text messages for updates) I didn’t leave the babies. I would bring them with me to try on bridesmaids dresses or to celebratory lunches with the ladies. My husband and I would sneak in mini-dates after they got their vaccinations and they would sleep next to us in the booth while we had a quick lunch out. But after a year of letting me be a three-headed monster, my husband and friends finally convinced me that the time had come to hire a sitter.
We subscribed to an online service and thanks to the fact that our town is surrounded by colleges, we were quickly overwhelmed with applicants. After sifting through them all, emailing a few and meeting several more in person, we settled on a sweet girl named Mina.* Of all the sitters we met with, Mina was the only one who made a point to learn the boys’ names. The boys warmed up to her quickly, she got down on the floor to play with their toys and she looks a little like Ariel from The Little Mermaid. I thought it must be good juju to have someone who’s a dead ringer for a Disney princess as your babysitter.