Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Babysitting Blues

free digital
The first use of the term "babysitter" was recorded in 1937, but it wasn't until 1947 that it was used in the verb form to "babysit".  Babysitting only became common in the mid-twentieth century.  It was a way for teenage girls to earn money.  Prior to this, if a couple were affluent enough to afford to go out, then they had a live-in servant to look after the children.  Those without servants generally lived near or with family or extended family who could then help with the children. 

From babysitting sprang many other types of sitting such as pet sitting, house sitting, and care for the elderly.  We have engaged sitters for our cats.  As with human children, we would leave feeding and care instructions, emergency phone numbers and our vet's information.  Sitting is sitting, whether for humans or pets, allowing the parents to have that much needed night out, and pet owners to take their vacation without worrying about the "kids".

All this talk of babysitting brings to mind one of my favorite movies of the 1980s - Adventures in Babysitting in which Elisabeth Shue stars as Chris Parker, the babysitter.

The movie begins with Chris getting ready for her big date, who cancels with some lame excuse about his kid sister being sick and he has to look after her.  With nothing else to do, Chris accepts a job babysitting for Sara Anderson.  Add her brother Brad, and friend Daryl into the equation and chaos ensues.  A quick trip into the city for ice cream ends up a hair-raising adventure of a blowout, eluding criminals, facing down a street gang, and rescuing Brad's sister, Sara, as she clung to the outside of a skyscraper, narrowly missing Brad's parents at the party.  Chris' mad driving skills get them home with moments to spare, and no one was the wiser.

What did Chris get out of this?  Well, she found out that her boyfriend was cheating on her, and met someone new when Sara had to use the bathroom and they ended up at a frat party.

All's well that ends well, don't you think?

Written for the 30-day creative writing challenge hosted by Nicky and Mike of We Work For Cheese.  Today's prompt is Babysitting.  This is the 10th day of this madness.  Check out the Linky at WWFC for more interesting revelations.


  1. Never saw that movie. Babysitting's kind of a double-edged sword. It always seemed to interfere with some other activity you had planned. And yet you earned money for it. I always liked having an older child to look after the smaller ones. Then you didn't have to pay him!

  2. Wow! I didn't know that about babysitting and its origins, thanks for sharing and that movie looks hilarious :)

  3. I found the history of babysitting to be really interesting! I never thought about where the word actually came from. I wonder how Nanny got in there too - I would think Nanny came before babysitters.

    Funny, I was talking to my neighbor about how I didn't know what to post, and she said, "Didn't you see the baby sitter movie?" Actually I haven't!

  4. I love those silly, funny high school kid movies! I always have! I used to hire babysitters for my kids, but not very often. I didn't feel comfortable with teen kids in my home. (I used to be one, - teen kid- and they really aren't that good!)

  5. An interesting history to know. I think I've hired more cat sitters than babysitters through the years.

  6. nonamedufus- Our experience is with sitting is with our cats. For a long time, we had family and friends to do it, but now we must hire sitters. It does add some cost to the vacation but we did have freebies for a lot of years. The movie is funny!

    NathanaelV- I like finding out little tidbits of info on where words and phrases come from. Makes interesting posts sometimes. The movie is worth checking out.

    Katherine- OK, you're the third person to have not seen the movie. It is available on youtube here I think a nanny is more someone employed by the family lives with them and looks after the children, like a nursemaid, a term we don't hear much anymore.

    Linda- Those kind of movies do make us laugh - I know the Babysitter did. So, you wouldn't want to hire your teenage self to look after children?

    Hilary- With no children except cats, that all we have experience with. Just as with kids, however, a reliable pet sitter is important.

  7. Linda, that's one of my favorite movies, too. Watched it not that long ago. Pure fun. I always loved the opening scene when she was singing and getting ready for the "big date".

  8. I loved that movie. Great pick for today's theme and I'm impressed by your research on the subject!

  9. Talon- Great to see that someone else like this movie. I like that opening scene, and the ending is pretty great, too. I love happy endings.

    Nicky- Yay, another fan. It's definitely a favorite. So many good scenes and life lessons.

  10. Oh, I LOVE the movie "Adventures in Babysitting"

  11. Meleah- That was a GREAT movie. So many hilarious scenes.


Hi, thanks for visiting my humble abode. All comments are read and appreciated.