We arrived in Chicago with no problem and spent the afternoon playing in Millennium Park. Hubby was being awarded as an honorary member of the American Society of Landscape Architects at an evening reception so we had prearranged for a sitter through the hotel. We used a New York based service called Sitters Studio, and I can now say I absolutely without a doubt would use them again.
I arranged a phone call with the founder of Sitters Studio, Kristina, earlier in the week to get the scoop to blog about it, and to make myself feel comfortable having never arranged child care this way before. They employ artists who are college grads or are in their last year of school. Kristina tells me that artists work well with children because they have childlike sensibilities.
While on the job, these sitters can practice their art with the children who are a captive, nonjudgmental audience. Whether it is singing, dancing, puppetry, or painting, they are able to entertain and inspire the children while getting feedback on their art. Sitters Studio is doing such a wonderful service to the cities of Chicago and New York (and L.A. starting in February). They support artists with income and perks (like money towards continuing education art classes) while also spreading the arts to a generation that needs it the most.
By the time our sitter arrived to the hotel room, I already felt like I knew her because of the bio that had been emailed to me a couple of days earlier. She was a lovely University of Iowa grad who brought along with her a bag of toys to entertain Milo. Her neon plastic slinky was his favorite, and it was the first time he had ever seen a slinky! A questionnaire emailed to me earlier in the week asked about Milo’s interests. I wrote about his love for dogs, architectural history (just a guess), modern art, and sleeping! When we arrived back at our hotel room that night, our sitter presented us with a book she had made for Milo, full of pictures (to be colored in at a later date) of his interests.
It wasn’t cheap ($20 per hour), with four hour minimum and cab fare, but having peace of mind about your babysitter in an unfamiliar city made it worth every penny.