Sometimes when I tell people I am a nanny, they say "Wow!". Sometimes they pat me on the back in a way that says, "I pity you". Sometimes they say "I don't know how you do it!", or even go so far as to call me "divinely insane"! I must admit, there have been days when I thought I must be insane to do it, but there have also been days that I couldn't believe I was getting paid, because I was having so much fun. I don't want to give being a nanny a bad rap. It really just depends on the family you get. When I was working at a daycare, hating it, I often thought of giving it a try. Why get paid x(this pitiful amount) to watch a roomful of kids, when I could get paid X(a much better amount) to watch one or two?
I hit the jackpot with the first two little girls I worked with. (I'll call them D and Y). When I started the job, D was 4 years old, and in morning preschool. The job was to pick her up from preschool, then we would spend the afternoon together, playing, doing crafts, and going places. Her sister, Y, who was 6 at the time, got home from school around 4pm. Then, I would help her with her homework, give them a snack, and we would hang out until their mom got home around 5 or 5:30. I LOVE them. They are the sweetest, smartest, most creative girls, and it was a joy to spend my days with them. Every night at dinner, Jim would ask, "Well, what is the cute story today?" I always had one - usually several!
D and I were friends since the second week I worked with her. I took her to the park, and we ate lunch spread out on a blanket in the sun. Suddenly a bunch of lady bugs landed on the blanket, and her eyes lit up. She exclaimed, "I LOVE LADYBUGS!", and I excitely replied, "SO DO I!" She is my kind of girl - a tomboy, who doesn't like dolls, or fixing her hair, or wearing dresses and fancy shoes. She loves nature, cars, legos, puzzles, and most of all dragons. She loved to do the crafts I brought, but she had to do it HER way. She is a leader, not a follower. I remember calling Jim one day from the zoo, where I sat with the sun shining on my face, watching Derya running happily around the playground with a new friend she just made, saying "Jim, I can't believe I am getting paid right now!"
Y was jealous of all the time I spent with D. She wanted to make the crafts, and go fun places, but all we seemed to have time to do was homework. Even though she hated homework, she loved to learn, and she was always telling me a new fact - "Jennifer, did you know that...? She hung on my every word, and she remembered everything I said. She would often ask me questions, and would repeat my answer back to me verbatim months and months later! One day, I said I was upset, and she asked why. I told her my dishwasher broke, and we didn't have the money to fix it then. She went and got $5 out of her money jar (with the money she made at her lemonade stand), and gave it to me, saying "Use this to buy a new dishwasher". When I told her I couldn't take her money, she replied, "But I love you, Jennifer, and you need it. Money isn't everything, you know". What a sweet, smart girl. One day, she made a checklist of things that she needed to do each morning before school. See if you can figure out what it says...(You'll probably need to click on it to make the picture bigger).
Last week I took Dylan over to visit them, and to give D her birthday gift, (2 dragon toys!) They are now 8 and 10 years old, and just as funny and sweet as they always were. D asked if Dylan could come over for a sleep over sometime(HA!), and Y drew this picture of me chasing Dylan who is chasing an ice cream cone.
The other one she drew is of me chasing Dylan in the stroller.
Guess she noticed that I spend most of my time chasing him, huh? While I watched them and listened to them talk, I thought what amazing girls they are. I can't help but wonder, what part I played in making them who they are today. Even if it was just a teeny, tiny amount, I am proud, very proud.