Being a Desultory Philippic or Rante of Gennerallie Whinye Dyspositionne
Childsitting is the bane of our existence. When the kids are in the house, we basically can't go anywhere -- unless their older brother is visiting from college, but he doesn't drive so we still can't go anywhere overnight if the kids have places to go during the day (school, camp). Only one of the kids' two grandmothers has any interest in helping out, and due to other family commitments her availability is limited.
Neither of us have more than a vague idea of how to go about finding sitters, and what we do know is that there is usually a lot of phone-calling involved. Phone calls are generally a problem for us, even in low quantity, so "a lot" is just something we can't do.
But wait, there's more. Another facet of the problem is that one of the three kids who need sitting is autistic, and currently in toilet training. So any sitter we'd hire would have to be able to deal with an autistic 12-year-old who might need toilet clean-up (to put it delicately), who occasionally takes to whopping his younger brothers when they get in his space, and who can't tell you what he wants or what is bothering him. (Josh is pretty big for a 12-year-old, too.)
There's a slight up-side to this in that because of Josh's autism, we can get respite care for him, and the respite care person can also watch his brothers if they're around. The problem with this is that we seem to have an almost impossible time coordinating with The Durham Center, which handles the respite care (all requests have to go through them). One year, we had a need for two specific overnight visits, so we could take care of some very important business out of town. After much going back and forth with TDC we finally managed to line up someone who could do it -- only to find, scant days before the event, that there had been a communication error, and they had only lined up one overnight, and we had to cancel the trip (which ended up costing me a lot of money and grief, but that's another story).
If anyone knows any sitters in the Durham area, we'd love to hear about it. Personally, I think there should be a web site (a wiki page would do nicely) for sitters, but since nobody else has trouble with contacting sitters by phone, probably it would not be popular.