Right around Easter time, school-aged kids get a break from the classroom routine with a week off from their studies. For some families, it’s an opportunity to get away from it all and take a small vacation either at home or somewhere far away. For those lucky parents who can take the time off from work, it can also mean a temporary reprieve from needing a babysitter to care for their young children. Babysitting can not only cost in terms of money, but can also cost in terms of less time spent with one’s kids.
The 6-minute Canadian short Five Dollars is a powerful look at how babysitting can affect a relationship between a small boy and his mother. Written by Chris Cromie and directed by Reza Dahya, Five Dollars stars Lyric Justice as Anthony and Tika Simone as his mother. Anthony’s mother needs a babysitter to take care of him while she is at work. Anthony has fun at the babysitter’s, but happily looks forward to her return at the end of the day.
Typical of little kids, Anthony asks his mother questions around the topic of money. He asks her how much money she makes at work, which makes her uncomfortable at first. But, she eventually reveals to Anthony her wage of $20 per hour. Later, Anthony asks her for $5 which she originally refused (thinking that he wants to buy another video game). She later changes her mind and gives him the $5 as she tucks him in bed at night.
Anthony then shows his mother his stash of money hidden in a teddy bear. Concerned, she asks him why he had almost $20 saved. Anthony happily replies that he was saving the $20 so that she could leave her work one hour early and that they could spend time together.
Check out the film here:
Five Dollars is a film that really hits home and that most, if not all, people can identify with. What kid wouldn’t want to be with his or her mom or dad at such a young age? What parent wouldn’t want to have the chance to spend more time with their young kids instead of leaving them with a caregiver? Both actors’ portrayals of mother and son in the film were extremely realistic and moving. The part where Anthony browsed through the toy flyer was a clever distraction, as it made it seem like he really was saving his money for a game. His true intention for the money was a delightful and unexpected twist.
Babysitting is a fact of life and a necessary option for many working parents. It has its obvious benefits; parents get inexpensive childcare and the babysitter learns valuable life skills. But, it still doesn’t replace the time and effort needed to build that special bond between child and parent.