Enter the perfect opportunity to join a babysitter coop. This last year another resident family moved into our ward. They have four children as well that almost perfectly match up to ours in age although they are the exact opposite to us in gender. Their moving in coincided perfectly with my kids getting more aggressive with asking about sleepovers. We decided years ago sleepovers weren't for us but we also decided that late overs would be fun and we want to have the kind of house that is fun and where kids are welcome. So recently we started occasionally inviting the kid's friends over on weekend nights to have dinner and watch a movie. We try to invite the whole family of kids so that the parents have an opportunity to go out if they want and our kids love having the company at dinner. It perhaps can get a little crazy, but generally a movie keeps the mess from getting to crazy and it is fun to see them have so much fun. I'd been thinking about this resident family as we had our last late over. I wondered if maybe she'd be interested in about once a month just trading babysitting. The pluses for us: our kids would get the fun of a late over, we'd get to go out once a month, and they would be understanding of how flexible this resident scheduling thing is since we rarely know when Dr. J will have a day off until the week of. I asked her if she was interested, she said yes, and this weekend we did our first trade.
Friday night their kids came over. We did pizza with them, watched a short Charlie Brown, and the kids spent the rest of the time playing. It went pretty well. The only unhappy camper was their baby. He cried for quite a while but I just kept holding him and doing my business taking care of everyone and eventually he settled down and only cried in the appropriate times, like when Cheetah would still books or toys from him. They went out to dinner and a trip to the mall to look for running shoes for the husband, but ended up with boots for the wife :) Saturday was our turn. We decided to go to Ender's Game. When I dropped the kids off they were ecstatic. When I picked them up, they were disappointed to see us already. I think we can call this babysitters coop a success and hope that we will be able to continue doing it. It's funny how I just had to find the perfect people, exactly like us to be ready to jump on board!