WHITNEY: Advice for my baby sister babysitter

An open letter to my sister Breck, who is staying the night with my kid for the first time while my husband and I run off on a mini vacation:

Let's start this letter off with what matter most — a declaration of my sincere appreciation for your willingness to step up and give Bryan and me a real night off. I haven't slept a full, uninterrupted night in 512 nights, possibly longer due to the impossibility of sleeping comfortably in one's final trimester. It's been a marathon, and I know it's not over, but thanks for providing a park bench along the route.

I should also mention how nervous I am about this whole 36 hours of separation. As you know, this is the first time I've ever left her with anyone for the night, but maybe you don't know that we've never spent more than seven or eight hours apart. I'm going to have a great time, you two will have a great time together, but I'll be nervous about it. That's all.

Here are a few things you should know about this weekend as Bryan and I head out of town.

  • Yo Gabba Gabba. The importance of DJ Lance Rock and the Gabba friends cannot be understated. When she wakes up in the morning, she asks to "wiggle wiggle wiggle go" and it's going to be hard to resist her requests. It's also hard to deny her flawlessly artful dance techniques. Girl got rhythm.
  • Katy Perry. If Yo Gabba Gabba ain't doin' it, Olivia loves Katy Perry. I don't know how or why. Just queue up "Roar."
  • Climbing. Climbing up and down stairs, climbing onto and off of furniture, climbing on your back and shoulders and face — allow Olivia to climb and things will be fine, so long as you don't let her fall. We're all about the "free-range parenting" thing, even if that means an occasional bloody nose for the parent or guardian in charge.
  • Tylenol is in the upstairs hall closet. There is beer in the refrigerator downstairs. These are facts that may or may not be related to the first two bullet points.
  • Snow boots. Olivia's snow boots are crucially important to her daily functioning. In the morning, she prefers to wear them over her footed pajamas as she makes her rounds. Obviously they will come in handy if you decide to go outside, but be aware that her legs aren't really long enough to actually walk in snow while wearing the boots.
  • If all else fails, just give her a bowl of cottage cheese. I know it sounds strange, and it probably is, but it's the only food she'll never refuse. And once her belly is full, she'll be ready to say "nye nye."
  • On the note of sleeping: The whole "sleeping through the night" thing still hasn't caught on around here, and crying it out doesn't really work with my wild child. I'm sorry in advance for the sleepless night you're about to have. However, if I come home and find out she slept like an angel for you, I withhold the right to retain any and all bottles of wine I may have purchased in order to thank you for your service.
  • If you need anything, call me. Or the neighbors. You know our best BR friends are all practically on the same block as us, right? Just yell loud enough and they'll come help.

In all seriousness, I feel really good about leaving Olivia with you. When you walk in the door, even if she hasn't seen you in two months, she runs to you. She doesn't do that with anyone else. You two have a special auntie-niece bond that makes my heart feel so full. I know this will be the first of many sleepovers you enjoy together.

Thanks for coming over. See you Sunday! Go easy on the toe nail polish.