To babysit, or not to babysit, that is the question...

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Well-Known Member
May 10, 2011
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Well, I noticed there was a big addition going onto some house a mile or so up the road from us... And it has a very complex roof, which will take lots of tar paper... So, of course there will be tar paper tubes. My mom says that the guy who owns the house was a neighbor of her friends a while ago, so I decide its worth a shot to see if I can get any tubes... So I argue with my mom, and she says she will not take the 10 or so minutes it would take, so I get my shoes on and start walking... Up the hill, across the bridge, past the dump, untill I finally get to the house. The guy is up there working on it, and I ask if he has any tubes. He says yes, and tosses me down a perfectly shaped tube. some person came up asking for directions to route 1 or something, so I thank the guy and start walking home. The guy also told me that the roofing people would be coming the next few days, and would have lots of tubes, and he would save them for me, and I could come back tomorrow and get some more.

So, the next day (today), I start walking again (my mom again refuses to drive me a mile up the road), and come to his house. The roofers didnt show up today, so he only has one tube. Still worth a 2 mile walk, IMHO. :D And he wasnt that busy at the time, so he asked if I wanted to come see his workshop... I say sure, and we go down... He opens the door and my jaw hits the floor... :D He had a chop saw, a band saw, a big drill press, a lathe, a tablesaw, and countless other usefull things. He then tells me that he makes things to sell, like cabinets, bowls, and piano legs. He shows me some piano legs that he had just made out of wallnut... they were PERFECT. I have never seen anything like them... And he made it all with a 20 year old lathe he got from some store when he was my age for $200! WOW! Its amazing, im tellin ya! And he shows me the tools he use... 4 or 5 gouging tools of varying sizes, and a little custom-made tool for the very very thin (and deep) cuts. thats it! (my jaw drops yet again)

Anyways, enough background... The real topic of this thread....

He also says that he has a 9 year old son, who is also interested in rockets. he (his son) is just getting started, so, judging by the size of the tubes I have been getting from him, he figured I know a bit about rockets :D So he asks me if I have ever babysat before... I have never done anyhting like that before, but he says it wouldent be "normal" babysitting, just hanging out with his kid and helping him with his rockets and that kind of thing, because both he and his wife work full time, and theres nothing for their kid to do from now till school starts (about a week or a week and a half), so having someone come over and show him some stuff about rockets would be good for him.

I told him I would think about it... I really have no idea what one does when one babysits, but its worth a shot... I dont particularly like younger kids (1-6 years), for some reason, but a 9 year old interested in rockets would proabably be ok...

So what do you guys think? should I do it? He said he would be happy to pay me (hey, I get free tubes AND a little money, whats to complain about? :D), and this kid seems to be somewhat like me, by the sounds of it.

what should I do? Im going back there tomorrow (he said to drop by in the afternoon when the roofing guys would be almost done, so I could collect more tubes), so I think I am supposed to have it figured out by then...

This guys really nice, and his kid sounds nice too. I think I should... It would be nice to have a little extra cash, especially if it was made doing something I like...

To babysit, or not to babysit, that is the question.

You are so lucky.

I dunno anyone who has a kid that I could babysit for, let alone interested in rockets... I need some money so this would be a viable source of income if I were to do it. Go for it!
yea I think I will. It would proabably just be untill school starts (proabably. Unless they really like me and decide they want me to keep doing it every once in a while), so its not really a "stable source of income", like my sister's babysitting jobs are, but its something. And its not like I have to change any diapers or anything... ;)
try to meet the kid first... but i'd say go for it if you wan't to.

I wouldn't do it, at least not by myself, b/c if the kid got on my nervs i'd end up doing something i would regret later:rolleyes: I don't really like little kids (aka, 21 and younger;)) much. that would include myself... :p

on the other hand, if he is a nice kid, i may do it... it's all in who the kid is, and how much $$, tubes, NC's, etc you can get for doing it!!
good luck to ya!
And what are the odds that some guy would be building an addition... Right up the road (well, not RIGHT up the road, but a mile or so isnt that bad) from us, and I would think to go ask for tubes, and that he would just happen to have a kid getting started in rockets?

Gotta be one in a million! Whodathunk it?

Well, if this is the only "one in a million" chance I get, I might as well take it. ;) :) :D :p

(oh, and I think said kid is going to be there tomorrow, so I think ill meet him then...)
I'd say go for it, but please take heed...

You are caring for someone elses child. A *real* person.

Learn how to use their phone (do NOT assume all phones are the same).
If they have 911 on speed dial, learn how to use it.
If you know basic first aid, please refresh yourself.
If you DON'T know basic first aid, LEARN it.
Have the father introduce you to the neighbors so that you know who you can call if you have to.

It's a great way to make some extra cash and the interest in rockets is a bonus, but caring for a child is serious business (I know, i'm a dad... :) )


You are very lucky indeed, the chance to make a little extra money, free tubes, and the chance to add responsibility to your resume. Please dont get me wrong, I am NOT saying your are not responsible ! But this is a very different type of responsibility.

If you are going to do this, take heed to what Jim said. Make sure you are familar with the telephone, is 911 on speed dial, what neighbors are trusted by the father of the child you are watching, etc....

You will also have the responsibility of teaching a young mind the wonderful world of rocketry ! that means you could be his *first real contact* with someone who is knowledgable with the hobby. It will be up to you to instill the basics of safety.

I have never met you, but in reading your posts I think you know the safety rules and safe construction techniques pretty good. Remember that this youg lad is "new" to the hobby and does not have the experiences that you do.

Done correctly you can be both a babysitter (paid in cash, tubes, and other benefits), and a memtor to someone who may excell in rocketry and live a dream because of it !

My $.02 as a dad, EMT and FireFighter
Originally posted by Neil
He also says that he has a 9 year old son, who is also interested in rockets.
To babysit, or not to babysit, that is the question.



That ain't workin' (that's the way you do it)
whether or not you get to use his stuff.
That ain't workin' (you get to build some rockets)
plus you get those tubes, ain't that enough?

I hope you know who Dire Straights is, or that made no sense.

Seriously, if you're walking up there, I'm betting you're not twice his age. That's not problem for building rockets. I *wish* I was only twice your age, and I'd build with you. Heck, I'd build with the other guy too.

Here's a deal: work for rockets. He buys you one, you "work" for him babysitting while you're making it. Next time, work for engines. Then, when time comes for his son to fly, he takes the both of you, and you' don't have to complain about your mom not driving you. Geez, a job and rockets. It doesn't get much better.
Time for a word from a Mom. :)

The dads have already covered the safety stuff, and very well I might add. One thing I would mention is that I would want to know something about the family that my kids were babysitting for so your mom might want to make a phone call to her friend to check on that.

These hanging out situations are generally really good ways to start out babysitting. Kids who are closer in age don't require the same level of care or constant attention. The fact that there's only one makes it even better. It sounds like an ideal way to find out if you would like it or not. Since this would be heading into an unfamiliar situation I would recommend that if you are thinking to take the job, tell them that before the job starts you would like to come and hang out for a few hours while Mom and/or Dad are there. You can get a good feel for how things operate around there by doing that.

Just the fact that you've thought it through to this point and are asking for advice shows maturity. Good work!
Well, ive done a little more thinking, and its not sounding like as much of a perfect idea as it did... I only know the first-aid that my parents and I have used on myself (1st and second degree burns, stab wounds :)eek: ),), and im not sure thats adequate for this kind of thing... The dad would be home, but he is always busy working on the addition he is putting in. That might make it a tiny bit safer, but I really havnt got a clue how to do the heimlich thing right if someone starts choking or something else like that. My medical knowlege extends only to what has happened to me.... I learned that rather painfully while my parents were fixing ME up... :rolleyes:

So really I am not qualified to do this kind of thing... The only reason I was considering this was because the kid was so close to my age, and interested in a lot of the things I am interested in...

So now... What to do, what to do... And how does one say no, if thats what I decide to do? :confused:

Should I just tell him flat-out that I dont know much first-aid and see what he thinks?

If this kid gets hurt and I am the only one with him... Not good. besides my general lack of first-aid knowlege, I have the weakest stomache around... Very strong gag reflex... I couldent even look at my own leg when my dad was changing the bandage on it without throwing up. Im just not cut out for that kind of thing. Im sure I could learn, but that would take time...

Besides, we have pretty much our whole family coming over in the next few weeks, and I think I should be around at least most of the time.
Honesty is a bitter pill, eh? :p :p

Seriously, you're asking these questions and that is a sign that you are mature enough for the job. You don't have to know how to splint a leg or do the heimlich in order to watch a child. Sure those are all positives, but I'll wager that 90% of the sitters out there don't know this. Heck, i'll wager that 90% of the PARENTS out there don't know how to do this LOL

Just be confident that you will know when an emergency *exists* and take the correct steps. Some of the biggest errors in sitting for a child have been "errors in judgement" and not calling the right people at the right time.

If something happens, call your dad for minor emergencies and 911 for the big stuff. They'll take care of you and your charge. Beleive me, so long as you aren't one to "cry wolf", your dad will never be too busy to help in an emergency

I think you said the key words when you said his "dad would be home, but he is always busy working on the addition he is putting in."

As a parent of 7 & 8 year old boys, I'll speak for myself and say this makes a HUGE difference.

To me, it sounds like the dad is just trying to find someone to occupy his son and keep him out of trouble - and you (Neil) being a rocketeer and young man might be a great chance for his boy to do something besides watch TV and play video games. So, you go build rockets with his kid and the dad is in the immediate vicinity (although focused on other tasks) in the case something goes wrong.

As a 9 year old, the kid is at least in (or about to start) the 3rd grade. Unless there are multiple kids of that age or younger (which greatly compounds the situation) you shouldn't have any real trouble unless you start playing with guns, chemicals, or anything else that creates some very obvious safety concerns. I'm sure the kid, at that age, can do the basics - get himself a snack, show himself to the bathroom, and observe normal "house rules" of decorum and safety (no swallowing knives, playing on a lit stove, etc.)

Just my 2 cents. At that age, I think you'll find that a single child will be suprisingly low maintenance as long as you give him some attention. Leave him alone, and he'll find trouble............
I'll go one further:

Maybe the kid is used to being a bit "unsupervised" and would like to build his rockets, if only his dad was able to take more time to participate and help out. He might keep coming out there to "pester" his dad for attention/rocket building help. Enter Neil to build rockets and really entertain the boy!

I bet it would be a fun opportunity that you'd do just fine at.
I think you should go for it! The worst that can happen is that you don't like it or that something will go wrong. Those are just part of life's experiences and we grow from them. It sounds like a lot of good could come out of it, including making a friend who shares similar interests. My brothers and I were into rockets for two summers and it was much more fun together than having grown-ups in the way. :D I will add the disclaimer that I'm fully aware that the adults in my life weren't rocket crazy men such as one finds here.

We can't prepare in advance for every emergency. You sound like you have a good head on your shoulders and would make good choices in a pinch. If the dad is going to be in the vicinity he can handle anything in the emergency department.
Okay, hows this for a plan?

I go up there this afternoon, meet the kid (and figure out what his name is... I cant go around calling him "the kid" for the rest of the summer... :rolleyes: ), see what the dad thinks of my first aid skills (or lack therof :(), and make the decision from there.

Though it is good that the dad will always be right there (and, if his dad isnt there, theres proabably someone else down in the workshop.), so he can proabably take care of anything really serious.

I would really like to do this, sort of because of the money, sort of to get out of the house, and sort of because it would be fun to help this kid get off the ground with his rockets (quite literally).

So if you guys think I can do it without much first aid knowlege, I guess ill go for it.
Yeah, you'll get a kid interested in rocketry and you can later include him at your launches. It would be great fun and you'd probably feel good after teaching a kid a little more about rocketry. Go for it!!!
Originally posted by Neil
So if you guys think I can do it without much first aid knowlege, I guess ill go for it.

Out the door with you. :)
I'd do it, in fact I am doing it. I have kids ranging from 8 to 12 and most of them are not interested in the facts, they just want to blow something up.

You two might have something in common. As far as not knowing first aid, that sounds like you may need him to know it for you (how many burns and cuts have you had?) :D . Anyway. Try it out. If it doesn't work, say so. But if it does, then you might have a new rocket partner with access to a woodshop.:D
Har har... Lesse... 2d degree burn getting cookies out of the oven, 2d degree burn putting a log in the woodstove, quarter inch deep stab wound millemeters away from the femoral artery... Yea, I do manage to get myself into a few nasty situations, dont I? :rolleyes:

I think ill leave in a few minutes... my mom and some relatives are going to the beach, and im staying here to take care of the dog, and hold down the fort untill they get back. My mom says I can go tube-hunting, also... :rolleyes: they will be gone for about 3 or 4 hours, so that gives me plenty of time...

ALL RIGHT, ALL RIGHT! Ill stop jabbering and get my butt off this chair... :D :p ;)

Oh, one more thing.

Should I show him TRF? ;)

OKAY, im outta here!
Originally posted by Neil
Should I show him TRF? ;)

Heavens no! At least not until you know for sure what he's like. If he turns out to be rotten you won't want him reading the blame you'll be heaping on us. ;)

Well, the kid (still havnt got his name yet...) is supposed to be home at about 3:30, according to his dad... ill ride my bike back up there then. He didnt have much time to talk when I was there just now, but he said if I could come back up when his son was there, that would be great.
Whoo hoo! Neil's gone!:)

If you really want to occupy the time, have him be sure to run the Barrowman calculations for ALL his rockets before you, as RSO, deam them safe for flight....:cool: :kill:
That's just mean:D ! How about you make him go gather all the tubes he owns including paper towel rolls for rocket readiness!!!:D Then you can get a good selection!!!:p :D
lol you guys... :D I pity any kid whos babysitter trys to teach him how to do a stability analysis by hand... :D

Well, I walked up there. The kid wasnt home, but he would be back in two hours, so I said I would ride my bike back then. So I ride back, and find the kid. Hes 9 years old, and I guess I should have expected this... Though it seems just the other day that *I* myself was 8... This kid comes only just over my waist! Did I grow that much!?!?!?!? WOW. Yea, I guess I must have... Go figure.

He seems nice enough. His name is Kyler, IIRC. So I said that I could do some babysitting, informed the dad (Ross) that I didnt know too much about first-aid, and he said that it didnt make that much of a difference to him. He said that he always has his cell phone with him, and he could leave the number on the fridge in case something bad happens.

Oh, and on another note... He has this great big dog... I think its got some Irish Elkhound or Great Dane in it, along with some obvious lab/rottweiler blood. The thing weighs 170 POUNDS! :eek: Hes a big silly, though. He doesent scare me at all... Well, thats not true. I am TERRIFIED of that thing trying to sit on my lap... :D :eek: ;) The thing would proabably crush me... He does growl a bit, but they say its not normal, just cause he is scared or something... Kinda like Shannon, only twice her size...

(And he had another tube for me :D)
Next week. Hes going to call me sometime tomorrow or the day after to arrange the details.