When it comes to battling for a coveted spot in one of the city's elite preschools, parents begin sharpening their dueling stilettos while the baby is still in utero. Is it surprising that, after "disappearing" six admissions officers and paying off the seventh to secure young Smithwick's spot in the Excelsior Academy for Ideally Harvard But We'd Tolerate Yale-Bound Youths, that parents would just entrust their kids with any shitty babysitter? That crackhead Amber next door? She still uses an iPhone 4. No.

Babysitting varies wildly in terms of difficulty—the low end of the scale being the already sleeping baby, the high end being the two-year-old twin monsters and their three-year-old devil sister, no TV allowed. But babysitters in New York have figured out how much parents are willing to shell out for the care of their progeny, a sum that should astound you but won't because $10 lattes destroyed the last of our ability to be surprised.

The Post had no trouble whatsoever compiling a long list of horror stories—the $20 per hour sitter with an appetite for $40 sushi, the $25 per hour sitter who "demanded" use of the car. Elite childcare agencies have emerged—Sitters Studio, which takes an "arts-based approach" to babysitting, offers the following emetic description of its services:

Artisitter® Childcare is a specific blend of art and childcare. Each Artisitter® Caregiver arrives with a tote of toys ready to engage the children in creative and developmental play. At the end of each booking you will receive a “Sitter Scoop” report card outlining everything from the last diaper change to how drawing a three-piece series in crayon helped with your 2-year old’s fine motor skills.

The Artisitter® Childcare description does not go into the additional fees for dealing with a drunk clown, but...it's probably more than you can afford.