This evening we attended an awards banquet for my husband's department and had to hire a babysitter. We don't have any family near-by for these events, but our daycare provider has two college-age daughters who are wonderful. Scarlett loves them and so do I. At the banquet, a few of us talked about hiring babysitters, what the going rate for them is, how old is old enough to babysit, and a little bit about our own babysitting experiences.
I remember very little about having a babysitter when I was little. What I do remember is a couple of high school students that occasionally babysat while my parents went out for an evening. My dad was a high school band director and we lived in a small town where everyone knew everyone. I vaguely remember busting one of them on the couch with her boyfriend when I snuck out of bed into the living room.
I didn't babysit for other people very much when I was in high school. My only brother was born when I was 15. After spending a lot of time babysitting him, I wasn't really interested in babysitting other kids.
I only have a few distinct memories of babysitting. The first was the very first time I took care of someone else's kids for the evening. I showed up, fed them pizza, put them to bed, and then I watched TV. When their parents came home and asked, "How much do we owe you?" I panicked and said, "Um...well...nothing," and bolted out the door. It was obvious very early that I would not be an entrepreneur.
The other memories I have are of taking care of my brother. On one occasion, when he was just a toddler, I stepped outside the front door to get something out of my car. When I got back to the front door, he had locked the glass door...and was laughing at me. On another occasion, a cake my mom made for his birthday was on the counter, and while I was in the bathroom, he climbed up and grabbed 2 fistfuls of cake and shoved them in his mouth.
When we got home this evening, the babysitter was on the couch (alone, thank goodness) and not locked out in the front yard. The baby was asleep and there wasn't any sign of a destroyed cake. Money was handed over to the sitter (because she didn't freak out and knew how much her time was worth).