It's not all about the baby.
Let's be honest: The parents are really just interested in getting someone to take the kid(s) off their hands for a few hours and have it be socially acceptable. How that got to mean it was okay to hire unexperienced children who aren't eligible for real jobs serving burgers or bagging groceries is an exercise in shoulder shrugging, and not my problem. I get anywhere from $7 to $10 and hour just to watch TV; the parents usually put the baby to bed before I even get there.
I should market myself like those alarm systems you hear about. Hey, I can pick up a phone and call 911 - and I'm actually there in the house and not a call center in Mumbai.
What, then, does one do with the four hours (my max), beside shop online in someone else's boring house, with their stupid furniture and drooling dog (and why is the food so lame? I'd rather eat the baby's smashed banana Gerber's custard than the plain Greek yogurt and freakin' pumpkin seeds they seem to live on. Plenty of beer though, but I guess that makes sense).
My mom told me she babysat for a dollar an hour, and the parents would stumble in after midnight - sometimes as late as 1am. My cut-off is 10:00pm for weekend evenings; 8:00 for school nights. What kind of people were they??? Leaving my 12-year-old mom alone and responsible for a couple of little kids before there was texting? She told me TV actually SHUT OFF at midnight!!!!!
I could go on (Teena's had a certain amount of editorial freedom in this post, as I'm sure you can tell). Here, then, is my first babysitting tip:
Worse than a chatty parrot, that kid. Gordo, if you tell your mom, we're going to have a real problem.