Friday, April 4, 2008

I'm Changing My Shoes Again

(This is loooooong one, folks, but I have a lot to say. Get a drink, sit back, and get comfortable)

Last week I was just minding my own business, when suddenly John Quinones, (the guy from Primetime), jumped out of no where and informed me, "You've just taken part in a social experiment!"

(Well, okay, not really, but I kept expecting him to.)

To tell the story correctly, I suppose I should start at the beginning. On a warm day in August, a small child was born...Okay maybe not the very beginning. I was working part time as a nanny for a family with a 4 year old girl and a 5 year old girl, since August 2007. Since January 18th , I had only worked 2 days due to the mom no longer being able to work due to physical problems. On March 10th, I told her I was going to have to look for another job, and she told me they were going to let me go anyway.

I have always got my nanny jobs through an agent, so I started calling agents once again on January 30th . Problem is, not many deal with clients who only need help part time. After a month of not receiving a single call from my agent, I was getting antsy, so I took matters into my own hands, and started looking on Craig's List.

One person I interviewed with turned me down, one I turned down, and the third job I took and wrote about here.

My first day was last Thursday, and the mom was there most of the time, letting me know where everything was, and about the routine, etc. She left me alone with the kids for a couple hours, and as I said, it went pretty well considering. I noticed when the mom was at the house, that the tv was on in two different rooms the whole time, and the kids were parked in front of one of the tv's in a stupor, but I figured that she did that so that we would be able to talk uninterrupted.

On Friday (FRIDAY, people - the day after I started the new job), I got a call from the MIA agent. She wanted to tell me about a family, that she "was sure I would want to meet". She was right.

I met them last Sunday. They have a 10 year old boy, who I will call Big Bro, a seven year old boy, I'll call Little Bro, an almost 5 year old girl, I'll call Big Sis, and a 2 year old girl, I'll call Little Sis. I was greeted by Big Bro, Big Sis, Little Sis, and the mom. After exchanging pleasantries, Big Bro asked his mom if he could give me "the tour" of the house. He told me "I was going to make you a map, but I didn't get a chance". I laughed, "a map?!" Shortly afterwards, as I was following my tour guide along with Big Sis, I wasn't laughing. I was trying to pick my jaw up off the floor. The home is BEAUTIFUL, and yes, I might need that map. But, what was more impressive to me, was Big Bro and Big Sis. I just kept staring at them when they weren't looking. These kids were so polite!

After the tour, the mom took me into the music room, so we could talk more about the job. One of the first things she said was "Well, Jen, I guess you noticed while Big Bro was showing you around, that we don't own a television". SCREECH, Grunt, Groan, Crickets (that was my brain trying to wrap itself around that particular concept).

After we talked for a while, Big Bro, Little Bro, (who had returned with dad), and Big Sis entered the room and very politely asked the mom if they could play me a song. "Sure, but just one, and then we need to talk some more, okay?" "Okay, mom". Big Bro started to play a song by memory on the piano...and I tried desperately not to let my jaw hit the floor. He played like an adult. Then Little Bro played a song and I tried not to cry. He played like a 12 year old. Then Big Sis played a song on the violin. I tried not to smack my forehead like I was in a V8 commercial. She played like a 10 year old. (Go back and check their ages if you are confused). When they were each finished playing me a song, they came over and sat QUIETLY on the couch next to me while their mom and I finished talking! Like I said before, I kept looking around for the hidden cameras. This could not be real.

I went back to my job (you know, the one I just started last Thursday), this Monday. This was the first time I was alone with the kids all day. When I got there, I met the grandma, who babysits part of the day. She had both tv's on, and the kids were parked in front of them. The only thing she felt I needed to know was what 5 channels they watched. Um, okay. After one or two shows I was bored, so I suggested we watch a movie (just kidding), play a game. The almost 3 year old twins got very excited about that idea, and ran downstairs with me to get a "AME!!!" I set it up, and they played for exactly (no exaggeration here) 2 minutes, before shouting, "A OTHER AME!!" "But, we...well, we just...started, and (OTHER AME!!!)..o-kay" That went on most of the day. My 16 month old has a much longer attention span.

The next time I saw the grandma, I asked "Do they usually watch tv all day?" "Yea, I don't like it, but what else is there for them to do?"

Tuesday, I went to the dream family's house to "spend some time with the younger two, since they are who you will be spending most of your time with, and decide if you are interested in the job". Unless their heads started spinning around, and they set fire to the house, I was interested. I went down to the play room with Big Sis(almost5) and Little Sis (2). Big Sis asked if I could play Monopoly with her. We started to set up the game, and Little Sis started grabbing the pieces. Big Sis very calmly stated, "It's hard to play things with her because she plays her baby way...I know...Little Sis, your favorite color is pink, right? (INK, INK, INK) Yep, Pink. I'll give you all the pink money and you can play with that, okay?" (What is the sound of someone shaking their head rapidly in disbelief? That's what I was doing.) I almost injured myself when Little Sis went over and started arranging the pink money, amusing herself while we played. After she eventually got tired of that, she went through the room collecting little balls, put them in a big bin, and crawled inside. She made herself a ball pit! Where were those damn cameras?

I worked Thursday and today for the other family. Today, I told the mom the situation. Oh, I forgot to mention a part of the situation. The pay the dream family is offering is more than I have ever made. Ever. The dream mom said, "I feel that someone who works with my children is doing a very important job, and they should be valued". Mmwwah, mmwwah, mmwwah. (That was me, kissing her feet). The current mom took the news extremely well, and only asked that I work one more week for her, so I'll start the dream job after that. I have to say she is very nice, and the kids are very sweet. It just isn't the dream job.

Is this for real? This is all sounding a bit too good to be true. I have to admit, I am scared. I am trying not to get too excited just yet, but my subconscience is shouting from rooftops and streaking through traffic. With a new pair of shoes. (My dad said I change my job more often than I change my shoes). He's a riot - that guy.


JCK said...

Jen, that is SO exciting! Congrats on being wanted EVERYWHERE! How cool that you were given this opportunity and you could actually take it. Somehow I am picturing you on the set of The Sound of Music. Sure your name isn't Maria?

Pam said...

That is great news. You should be happy and valued at your job. I'm sure the other family would be fine, but you have a chance for better so go with it. The first family wouldn't fully be able to appreciate your craftiness, playing time, etc simply because they are so used to tv. The other family will love it and enjoy it so much. Making the best use of your skills. Congrats!

Kellan said...

WOW Jen - it sounds wonderful! I'm so happy for you!!

Have a good weekend - see ya - Kellan

Janet said...

That's so er, all my adjectives have been used already. Uh, well anyway, congratulations. We don't have television either (although the kids do watch some DVDs like Sesame Street and Disney movies). But I don't let them sit in front of it all day, because I don't want to hear it. And they'd rather be outside anyway. Hopefully granny will get off her butt and take them outside when it gets warm at least.

boondockramblings said...

OK. Sounds awesome to me and more money is always a good thing. I think this is a great opportunity for you!

Sparx said...

Wow, that's so amazingly cool. Good luck with the new job! We were never allowed to watch much TV when we were little either and I think it made a big difference. The spud watches waaaay too much TV and we're talking about taking it back down as his attention span is waning.

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

You weren't kidding when you said there was a lot going on with the work situation. Holy smokes! That's fantastic news and I hope those cameras don't pop out any time soon!

Julia said...

I'm jealous of your job, ashamed of my parenting skills, and floored by your aility to write all at the same time!

Jen said...

Thanks to all of you for the supportive comments!

Jck, Trust me, you wouldn't say that if you heard me sing.

Pam, Thank you so much for your comment, and you are so right, everyone should be valued at their job (and at home!)

Kellan, Thanks, and I hope you are starting to feel stronger these days.

Janet, I have to admit, this NO tv thing is hard for me to grasp. What do you do after the kids go to bed? Then again, maybe I don't want to know.

Boondock ramblings,
Yes, especially since we are hoping to move soon. It will make moving a lot less scary.

Sparx, Great to see you! It's been a while. Hope you are all doing well.

BBM, Thanks, and I am looking forward to your new endeavor, you crafty thing, you.

Julia, Ashamed of your parenting skills?! Are you kidding me? I am amazed by you on a regular basis. You are an awesome mom.

Shellie said...

That family sounds incredible. What a great opportunity, and they are so lucky to have a nanny who doesn't want to plunk them in front of a TV set!