note to the babysitter re: gnomes

big garden gnome

Dear Babysitter,

Hello! Thanks for coming a bit earlier today so that I could attempt to call the dentist, the pediatrician, the gynecologist and the car dealership before work without a toddler hugging my knees and repeating “readyreadyready” 1,453 times with extreme urgency and a complete lack of specificity. (Ready for what?)

You may have noticed since you’ve been with us that we have several gnomes on display both inside and outside of our home. This is because we are fascinated with gnomes. We request that you do not question this fascination, as it cannot explained.


We do, however, request that you help us to pass on this fascination to our beloved progeny by reinforcing the following practices:

1. Please encourage our son to pronounce the correct salutation to the gnome located by the front door, upon entering and exiting our home. As in, “Hi Gnome!” and “Bye bye Gnome!” As implied by the exclamation points, we would like this to be delivered with the appropriate amount of enthusiasm.


2. Please dress our son in this onesie from Counter Couture Design on etsy every day:

gnome onesie counter couture design

If this shirt gets compromised by mashed strawberries, a glob of yogurt, or an entire bowl of upended vegetable puree while you are on shift, don’t worry – there are 14 more in his bureau.

3. Please incorporate this gnome hand-puppet from IKEA into most activities:

gnome puppet from ikea

For example, if you build a tower with blocks (see above), please sit the puppet on top of it and ask it directly and with great respect, “Do you like your penthouse?” While playing catch with our son, we ask that you put the puppet on your hand and pretend that the gnome (instead of you) is doing the catching and the throwing. (Though this might diminish your dexterity at first, we can tell you from experience that after a few short weeks this will improve considerably.)


4. If our son is refusing to eat something packed with nutrients and the good kind of fat, such as avocado, please point to the gnome sitting on the kitchen table (above) and tell him that “the gnome thinks avocado is delicious” with a tone that will incite a bit of healthy competitiveness.

gnome door

4. And last, but certainly not least, please take a walk with our son each day to the side of our house where the gnome door is leaning against the tree. When you do so, we would like you to say things like, “Ahhhh look, there’s the gnome doorrrrrr…” and “I wonder where it leeeeeeads…” and trail off in a way that promotes curiosity. Widening your eyes and tipping your head to the side will definitely stir up lots of intrigue.

5. Oh! I almost forgot: we are no longer using sippy cups. This is our son’s new water bottle:

gnome watering can

Again, thank you so much for everything. Notice that I defrosted some of that veggie burger he likes. It’s on the counter.

Have a great day, Jocelyn (and Rob)

* Big shout-out to our wonderful babysitters Emily (who gave us the first gnome pictured) and Jamie (who gave us the one on the kitchen table). Both of them are very kind to tolerate long notes from me mostly regarding Ian’s menu! They are also very kind to humor (and enable!) my gnome obsession fascination.

** Another big shout-out to these other enablers: my friend and co-worker Fiona who gave us the second gnome pictured; my friend and co-worker Katie who just gave us the gnome watering can; and my mother-in-law Sandy who gave us that mysterious gnome door.


6 replies

      • Very true! My daughter quite literally believes her plastic dinosaurs come alive at night and get into trouble (that might be because we staged Missourithem as having gotten into the fridge one night, and wrapped in toilet paper another night) while she sleeps. She also believes is things like wishing stars. I want her to keep that innocent view of life as long as possible.

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