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by Abigail Van Buren

Baby Sitter Needs More Than a Moment's Notice

DEAR ABBY: I am 17 and baby-sit regularly for a family on my street. The kids are well-behaved and enjoy it when I go there to watch them. My problem is their mother never gives me notice when she needs me. She'll ask if I can baby-sit that day, or even worse, that moment. Sometimes she'll just say something vague like, "Sometime later today -- I'll let you know when I need you."

I love the kids and enjoy looking after them, but I do not appreciate their mother's inconsiderate behavior. How should I deal with her next "request"? -- SEETHING SITTER IN NEW YORK

DEAR SEETHING: The next time the woman calls at the last minute, tell her you're sorry, but you already have something scheduled, and when she needs you to baby-sit to please give you more notice so you won't disappoint her. And if she isn't definite about what time she wants you to be there, tell her you need to know NOW so you can make any arrangements you need to.