Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Adventures in Nannying

Being a girl whose "Secret Single Behavior" is to paint my nails in bed, whilst wearing a tiara and watching "Breakfast at Tiffany's," I always figured I'd be the kind of mom who let her daughter wear princess dresses everywhere, and pink cowboy boots with said princess dresses, and my son, firefighter jackets or froggy rainboots everywhere or whatever their imaginations and senses of style choose. And the rule seems to apply to nannying too.

Well, sort of.

When I first started, I was so very aware that These Are Not My Kids. In other words, don't screw 'em up, and make sure they look nice in public. (Not that I plan on screwing my own kids up, of course. I don't know that it's more pressure when They're Not Your Kids, just a different kind).

Then there's differences in discipline styles, teaching styles, things you would let go that they wouldn't, and vice versa - all of this can make for a very uptight nanny!

No, but M & N's parents are very easy-going and love to say, they're not perfect parents, they don't do everything right (and neither do those judgy-wudgy moms at the park). And perhaps it just took some time to get used to the schedules and routines, and for N to test me to see what she could and couldn't get away with (we're still working hard on the "pleases," for example), but I finally remembered, they're kids, they should have fun. Yes, there are rules and you're there to teach them, oh, just about everything there is to life, but, tutus may be worn to the park with tennis shoes and strawberries blown on arms at lunches out. So what?

Last week, we had been asked to make birthday gifts for M & N's birthday that day, and as we were scrambling to make it out to the craft supply and get back and make gifts in between naps that day, I sent N off to put her shoes on while I strapped M in his carrier.

It's August in Kansas City, and that means 90+ degree weather, right? Now, I spent some time trying to convince N she would be cooler in flip-flops, but, in the end, I thought, what the heck. We'd mostly be in the car and the store and inside anyhow. Here's what she put on:

These were paired with black patent leather mary-janes, which were promptly taken off in the car, after jumping in a puddle in the parking lot. Oops!
She came tapping up to me and said, "I got my socks and shoes on, I ready to go!"

That is what I had asked her to do! And in the name of letting them do it themselves, sometimes, you have to go into the world with one reindeer sock, and the other, pulled up to your knee.

P.S. N started school today! I have bittersweet feelings about this. It will certainly be quieter, which is both good and bad. There will be more time for me to work on my projects (though I have a feeling M is working on dropping his morning nap soon), which is good. And, as my mom reminded me the other evening, I've never not liked quiet time (apparently, when my sister was still napping, but I no longer was, she used to send me into my room for quiet time and I very happily played quietly with my books and toys for lengthy periods of time).

M is getting to be very mobile and loves to explore, and we will most certainly get out and do lots, but he's still in the baby talk, and, well, I'm going to miss N! Sure, there'll be less toddler tantrums, and there will be more time for M, but, there will also be less N.

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