So the phone rings. You hear the voice on the other end. In the background, you hear screaming children... and the words "are you free?" Shivers run down your spine, and dreadful images dance through your head. Slowly you croak... "yes."
[stories of my baby babysitting woes below- summarized as 'screaming unhappy baby' if you dont want to read all of it]
Okay so its not really that bad. In fact, the kids I usually babysit for are actually really good kids. Two boys, 6 and 4, and a girl, almost a year. The boys are very well behaved, for little boys, except for the occasional temper tantrum, which is easily fixed with some compromise and funny faces. The girl is quite possibly the cutest thing in existance, and I hate to have her cry. Not to mention the resulting headaches. So anyway, per parents leave, and shes fine as long as she doesnt see them walk out the door. Shell be all fine and happy anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, then she'll start crying. And crying. And crying. So I run and pick her up, shes happy again. For about an hour. During that hour, if I make the slightest motion of putting her down, she clings onto my shirt like theres no tomorrow. So I just hold her, while doing my best to play with the boys. I babysat in the morning today so she had her nap, only it wasnt in her crib. Since I couldnt put her down without her screaming and the younger boy pointing out that shes not happy, I sat on the couch and she fell asleep on me. After about 20 minutes, I stood up and started towards her room, and she woke up. Okay, maybe shes still sleepy. Into the crib. Screaming, trying to climb out, red face and tears everywhere. I pick her back up. Screaming is gone, but the crying and sniffles are still there. walk around the house a few times while the boys do what they want (thank goodness theyre well behaved). She starts crying. Frustrated and with very tired arms, I just put her down. screaming screaming screaming weee... curl up into a ball on the floor face down. Okay so I go and lay on the floor next to her and rub her back. screaming gone, she looks at me like im nuts for being on the floor. Thats fine, screaming is gone. I stand up, she starts sniffling, I pick her up. she cries (sniffles) for most of the time until her parents get home. Parents get home, I hand over the unhappy baby and my arms are shaking from holding a very hot baby for 3 hours. Say bye to the boys that I barely did anything with, and go home.
Okay, so my question. Is it better to hold her the whole time, not pick her up when she first starts crying, or pick her up when she starts crying and soon put her down? Of course I wouldnt ignore her, but I wouldnt have such exhausted arms and headaches, but then shed just run around unhappy and screaming running away from me. I guess Im just wondering what the best thing would be to do in this situation, and what other peoples experiences are.