Nanny Confessions


rockingcradle.jpg

Buddha is an incredibly verbal child. He especially loves to sing. Not a waking hour goes by that he does not spontaneously burst into song. It’s one of my favorite things about him; his unabashed merriness. As far as widely recognizable words, though, he’s largely uninterested in those. Since his first birthday, however, he’s been making considerable progress in the area of communication.

Agua – “Oooah”
All Done – “Gah Gah” + sign
Baby – “Beh beeh”
Ball – “Baah”
Book “Buh”
Bunny – “Eeeoh”
Bye bye – “Buh bah” + wave
Car – “Cgah”
Daddy – “Dah dah”
More – sign
Shoe – Ssssh
Star – sign

So far he can say/sign half a dozen words, which just absolutely thrills me to no end.
You’ll notice, however, that neither “mama” or “turtle” are on that list of words he knows. This has perplexed me for quite some time since he’s been saying ‘Dah Dah’ now for about six months and has recently (within the last two months) begun referring to Bunny as ‘Eeeoh’. I found it to be rather odd that he wouldn’t even attempt to refer to either of us, ever.
Winifred, of course, is bent on teaching him to say ‘Mama.’ She refers to herself in third person when talking to him and repeats the sounds ‘mamamamama’ with him over and over again. Well, I, obviously, have been trying to get him to call me by my name. And recently this past week he began saying, but only with a lot of prodding, the first consonant in my name when referring to me. This was supremely exciting for me and I’m not ashamed to say, really the highlight of my entire month.

Except today he called me “Maahm” and then “Maah”

Twice.
Completely out of the blue and both times specifically reaching his arms out towards me so there really was no doubt as to whom he was referring to.
Thankfully, Winifred wasn’t home when this happened but it kind of unsettled me anyway. When she did get home, I specifically exclaimed “Look! It’s mom! Mama’s home!” in hopes that he would get the queue and use his brand new word on the correct recipient.

No such luck.

The thing is, I have made zero attempt to refer to myself as mom and in fact, have been somewhat overly zealous in trying to get him to say the real world equivalent of ‘Tortuguita’. I don’t really understand why or how he has suddenly decided to use the word on me, instead of Winifred.

The real problem is that part of me feels strangely pleased, as though, in his own Buddha way, he’s acknowledged my importance to him and has validated my role in his life.

Except the moment I’m done thinking this, that stupid, obnoxious voice that always interrupts the protagonists in cheesy movies kicks in and condescendingly exclaims –

“That is way creepy. As in totally ‘Hand that Rocks the Cradle‘ kind of creepy.” And I immediately feel incredibly evil but defend myself anyway with.

“No! I just love him, that’s all.”

“Right.”

“And besides, I spend just as many waking hours, if not more, with him than she does.”

“Creeper.”

“So why wouldn’t he think of me as his mother?”

“Yeah, okay, Peyton.”

“Shut up, that is so different. I’m not trying to sleep with Dr. Doormat or destroy Winifred out of revenge.”

“Maybe not but you wouldn’t exactly don a black veil if she croaked.”

“Just because I don’t like her very much doesn’t mean I want her to die so I can raise her kids.”

“Whatever you say, oh wicked one.”

“Go to hell.”

“After you, Empress of Evil.”

“Go away.”

“Sure thing, Corrupt Caretaker.”

“Stop.”

“Execrable employee.”

“Oh brother.”

“Sick Sinful Sitter.”

“Cut it out.”

“Malicious Mentor.”

*sigh*

“Baneful Babysitter.”

“Are you done yet?”

“One more. Nasty Nefarious Nanny.”

At which point I realize that despite her nauseating synonym savviness, my incredibly irksome alter ego has a bit of a point and I am left feeling altogether very unpleasant because not only is there a good possibility I am evil but I’m probably a little crazy too.

holdinghands.jpg

Even though we don’t particularly look alike, Buddha and I both have dark hair and similarly shaped eyes and mouths and there have been many occasions when we’ve been out that people have just assumed I’m his mother. This secretly thrills me as I would like nothing more than have him be mine. But I always feel incredibly guilty, as though not correcting people’s assumptions is a gross misrepresentation akin to plagiarism. Along with the guilt comes this sense of malayise, something that probably resembles what a kidnapper must feel like whenever they take their victim’s out in public; terror and uncertainty and underneath the abrasive fear, a tiny thrill. Sometimes it’s just easier to let people assume he’s mine rather than to try and explain ourselves but other times I just like to bask in the feeling of joyful pride that comes with being his parent and hearing how absolutely beautiful and charming he is.

What do you bloggers think about the ethics of this? I ask only because I have a rather warped sense of morality. One which allowed me to commit a certain specific but unmentionable felony crime without feeling the least bit of remorse but which also prevents me from ever littering.

notepadwtf.jpg

I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before but notes are a big part of my job. Every day, when I get to Calamitous Casa, I look for a note on the kitchen island counter. Very rarely does Winifred forget to write me one. Each note has instructions for me and directions for the day as well as daily “projects” for me to accomplish in, you know, my spare time. And at the end of the day, I am expected to provide a detailed note as well. In addition to the time and duration of his naps, this note needs to document the different set foods that Buddha has eaten and the times at which he ate them, for when she comes home, she likes to know the whats, whens and hows of the day. This also comes in handy for me because she likes to randomly call and check in and when she does, I can quickly find the note in progress and let her know how the day is going. For the most part, I am very good about writing things down as they happen, but, every once in a while, I remember that I’ve let a few hours slip by without jotting down what has gone on and I’ll try to retrace our steps. Lucky for me, though, Winifred generally likes to call when she’s on her way home. This gives me a good 10 – 15 minute window to make sure that messes are cleaned, toys are picked up, diapers are changed and any other tasks are completed before she arrives. This is so that there is nothing off when she comes in, or at least anything attributable to me. On days when Dr. Doormat is at home, in his office, we help each other out. Sometimes she calls and checks in with him first; other times she calls me, but regardless, we like to give each other the heads up regarding her current mood and anxiety level. On days when she’s rushed and stressed, we brace ourselves and hurry to try to limit any fallout. On days whe she’s calmer, we share sighs of relief and continue to hurry, albeit less frantically, to limit the fallout. As with Bunny, dealing with Winifred is a complicated game of risk management and crisis control. One day when I had forgotten to write Bunny’s eating times and was trying to remember exactly when Bunny had chowed his pre-approved, 100% organic, all natural fruit puree, Dr. D faux-chastised me saying,

“Don’t you know? This has to be very precise.” After which we shared a grin and he muttered.

“As if she’ll know the difference.”

The first time I was lenient with what I wrote as his eating times, (She likes him to be fed every two hours.) I felt a little guilty. But then I realized; she won’t know the difference and it doesn’t really matter. Bunny is a healthy, growing boy and whether he ate his mashed bananas at 1:30 or 2:15 really isn’t going to make a difference, to him, at all. It will make a difference for her though. For she is Winifred; head of the household; wearer of the pants; Queen of Calamatious Casa and writer of my paycheck. If she is not happy, nobody is happy. Ultimately my responsibilites are to my children and the things that are in their best interest. If cheating a little can make their lives not quite as hectic and a little less anxiety filled then so be it. Writing the notes has become just a common, daily thing that I do to placate Winifred. All in all, it’s a relatively effortless task and it seems to help Winifred, so whatever. I’m game. I used to think that people who who did this sort of thing were spineless brown-nosers who just didn’t have the tenacity or courage to speak up, but instead resorted to catering to other people’s pointless whims. And to a certain extent, I was right. However, I’ve come to realize that choosing my battles, or more accurately avoiding them, can be just as important. So yeah, I fudge, I sneak, I side-step, I brown-nose, I *gasp* manipulate. Hell, I’ve gotten pretty damn good at it.

I don’t feel the least bit guilty.

Sometimes I wish Winifred would disappear altogether so I could raise her children properly without her constant interference.

Sometimes I wonder if it’s possible to be so completely devoted to these little ones that it becomes unhealthy. Frequently, my shrink has joked that I’ll never find a nanny like myself when I have my own kids. Honestly? I don’t want one. If the parents knew how much I love their children, I don’t know if they’d want me around anymore. I think every parent wants their nanny to like and possibly even love their charges but me? I absolutely, completely, unequivocally adore them. I would take and keep any one of them if asked. I can’t imagine my life without them. In fact, I joke that I go through “baby withdrawals” if I ever get more than two days off. But it’s not really a joke. Everytime I get a new kid or new family, I think that I’ll never be able to like them or care about them as much as I do my others. And everytime I prove myself wrong. I’d easily give my life for any of them. Every. Single. One. Their pain is my pain. Their joy, my joy. Their sadness, my sadness. We’re connected in a way that is indescribable and the more we spend time together, the more I need them. Need them to laugh, to cry, to feel. Without them, I’m empty. Without Purpose. And it scares me. Scares me that our relationship has become so utterly symbiotic.