For us, being expats means living away from family. Living away from those we trust to leave our precious boys with *thanks again Mum* and trying to fit a whole year of date night’s with the husband into family visits when really, we want to spend some time with those visiting as well.
Just what do you do when you need babysitting in Dubai?
For some the problem is solved by sponsoring a maid or nanny who becomes part of your family. Someone who you trust. For us there is no need for a maid, I’m a stay at home mum and the Toddler heads to nursery 4 mornings a week so it’s just not a financial sensible option for us.
So what do you do when you need to remember you are a couple as well as Mummy and Daddy but Grandma isn’t due to visit for another 3 months? You hire an agency babysitter.
There are a few around in Dubai and I’ve tried a couple, often the minimum SIX hour commitment puts me off and makes it a rarity for us to go out, unless we are going allllllll out.
But there’s a new company in town. A company that offers more than just babysitting (but babysitting is what I’ll focus on) Babies and Beyond has hit Dubai covering everything you could potentially need from bump, with antenatal classes and hypnobirthing, to baby, with baby massage to beyond, with babysitting.
We had family visiting last month and we were headed for a not exactly child friendly champagne brunch (leading to a definitely not child friendly hangover the next day) so we decided to hire a babysitter and go for it. Leaving the Baby in the care of someone other than family for the first time in his (short) five and a half months of his life. Eep.
So Babies and Beyond it was.
Why Babies and Beyond?
Leaving the baby for the first time (in paid care) was not something I considered lightly. He is still little. He can’t communicate with me, or others, like the Toddler can, I can’t get his feedback. There are other agencies out there that offer babysitting but what Babies and Beyond offer is a fully first aid trained babysitter. A clinically trained nurse. A Dubai Health Authority (DHA) registered nurse. With certificates and a licence, that actually come out to the house in a bound folder alongside a CV so you know that a. You’re hiring a legally registered nurse and b. That she has the first aid knowledge you need for peace of mind. For me especially knowing that our babysitter was also a nurse was a weight off my mind should anything happen with the boys while I was away.
Before Babysitting Commences
I filled in an extensive form detailing not only the boys names, ages, allergies, doctors and insurance details (I loved the fact that this was asked as I think it’s often overlooked) the form even asked things like:
– Favourite Food
– Favourite Book
– Favourite Song
– Favourite Toys and Activities
– What isn’t allowed; screen time, food, toys
Which meant that my boys were more than just numbers they became real people and more importantly that my parenting methods and decisions would be respected and adhered to.
As I was reviewing the babysitting service prior to leaving the boys with Nurse Bernaliz on the Friday she also popped round for a couple of hours while I was at home to watch the boys. This was great, I did some blogging, washing, made dinner and the boys were entertained without the iPad.
The toddler is at a demanding age. If he decides that he likes you then you are his best friend.
He decided that Nurse Bernaliz, or as he called her Emilleez, was his new best friend.
Come on Emilleez, come in my playroom.
Come on Emilleez come see my toys.
Emilleez this is Skipper
Was all I could hear echoing round our house. Throwing her in at the deep end leaving her downstairs with the Toddler while I put the baby down for a nap. She threw herself straight in, getting down on the floor and playing planes. Singing songs. Stopping singing when the command
Then the baby woke and I deposited the baby with the pair of them and skipped to the laptop with an ear and an eye out. I needn’t have worried as both boys were happy as Larry, playing planes, kicking on the playmat, singing. Bernaliz also managed to get my I “only sleep on the boob or when I’m moving (pram/car)” baby to nap for his standard 30 minutes. Even though I was reviewing I even managed to nip out and do a half hour jog (without iPod which I wouldn’t recommend) over dinner time. The toddler screamed when I left, the baby was crying. I still snuck off and came back to calm. The toddler had eaten his dinner and stopped crying within seconds of me leaving. The Baby had taken the bottle. Leaving me confident that they would be in safe hands come Friday.
Friday Brunch Day
Bernaliz arrived early to squeals of delight from the Toddler
Emillleez you came back to play
And off we went. No tears. Bottles lined up in the fridge. Numbers left.
And as my husband said, the most positive thing is that we didn’t hear a peep unless we initiated, to which we were told everything was fine and an update.
Arriving home to 2 happy boys and a list of who had done what and when with regards to eating and sleeping.
A simple phonecall to the team at Babies and Beyond on 04 2789 832. Then you will have all the appropriate forms emailed out to you along with the CV of the available nurse on the day and time you want.
Booking made, the nurse arrives at your location with bound folder containing all certificates and DHA licence, in uniform and carrying official identification.
Costs are 70AED per hour and a minimum booking of four hours.
My Only Criticism
Is the minimum four hour booking. Sometimes I just need two hours to nip to the doctors and I’d rather pay a little bit more than block out a four hour block. It’s a common complaint with most services but still I guess it just means I need to go out for longer periods.
Disclosure; I received one babysitting session free of charge. All thoughts and opinions are my own.