Thursday, May 26, 2011

Its my life...

...don't you forget.....caught in the never ends.. -- No Doubt "It My Life"

It is so true. Sometimes you think, does it ever end? No. That is the truth. No. When you are a nanny it never ends. When you go home, from your job normally you leave it behind. You then wake up at 6am and do it again. But as a nanny, you do not just "stop and go home".

Let me just interject something.. "Silence. Silence I say. I am a dinosaur, ya hear me?" --S, 3 years old. (I am thinking achmed the dead terrorist puppet has been introduced in this household. But that doesn't surprise me.. the Nutty W's. )

Digression at its best. I guess I stop some things huh? Either way, back to what I was saying, you dont just go home. You dont just leave your job for the day. If you go to the store with me, somewhere along the way I am going to guarantee you that you will hear a car honking at me, with 4 girls in the back waving feverishly like a they have a bad case of tourettes. I go on facebook and see that another has just had surgery on her finger because she decided to do a triple mount and nailed it just the wrong way. Or while in the store one that is peaking around me from the toy aisle whispering in the loudest but quietest stalker "HEY! HEEEEEEEEEEEEEY!" . LOL! Or you also get ones that come up to you a a local event while I am talking to a cat adoption place and asks me for money that is a promise to "go to the donation dog or for cotton candy, whatever I decide". But does not just go away. You dont just say bye and forget it for the next 10 hours to just trudge through it the next day.

Mind you the day goes full throttle during the normal 9 hours I am here. From the time 8:45 hits its a never ending until that short bit of null from 1:30 - 2:45. And even then it is making sure projects, snacks, shoes are placed properly for the monsoon to come at the hour of 3. Every job has been different (2 my heart breaks to think of what is happening now) but none have been the same. Some have been 1 child, some have been 4. One benefit, my daughter, she has received the interaction that has had her flourish beyond measure. And the other perks... empathy, lifelong friends, watching kids who are quiet become mindful of their voice, seeing those who are crazy when you show up because they are to old for you- jump out of a window because they are mad but then become your buddy for life. However, I could do without the attitudes and tantrums. My god if the purple shovel with the flowers is that imperative just take it.

But.. I do say. My life.. it is my life. It is something I have chosen.However, I constantly hear...
1."It's not a real job"
2. "you color all day, what is so hard about that"
3. "so you change a few diapers and deal with tantrums"
4. "okay, you didnt get paid this week, but you are just a babysitter, they will get to it"
5. "You babysit, you are not a teacher. I am a teacher, try my job"

Oh boy.. the words I could say to this.
1) it is a real job. I work 9 hours a day making sure that every minute is filled with keeping someone elses cherub entertained and doing "the monkey" for the gazillonth time. I make sure they are fed proper meals consisting of veggies and fruit, along with calcium and protein everyday; ya know fully balanced so that your child thrives at their checkup. I make sure the tears are gone within a nanosecond flat. I make sure that naps are taken care of so when the parents come home they are given their angels instead of hell spawn. I make sure that the house is picked up in proper order to make sure that the potential for burning the house down doesnt show. I make sure that germs are combated so that the incessant nose picking doesnt turn into the flu affecting the masses. I make sure that cookies are not snuck and hoarded in the book bin before nap time.

2) Coloring is not all inclusive in this position. Trust me half the time, that is the LAST thing that is on the minute mind of a kid. If that was all it was, I think I would smack my own head against the wall.

3) Okay. When a kid, let alone anyone has the hershey squirts.. how that for a mental picture? yeah. Didn't think so. The penetration of that smell does not stop harassing your nostrils for days. Not just when that 'genie' takes care of the diaper (btw those things dont work, they are a waste of money). Tantrums, yeah they raise blood pressure. Not something that is welcomed. Funny sometimes, yes. You have to be amused sometimes. But trust me when I say that it gets old really really fast. Because the fact that you cant throw dirt in your sisters face because a facial is due, doesnt give the rights for the nanny to not discipline and in turn be given the apocalypse tantrum.

4) I have dealt with bosses who dont give a crap in the corporate world and same goes for those who are in the nanny world. However, here is where it differs. For some reason we are the 'hired help' or 'domestic help' or 'the go to beyotch' in the nanny realm. Whatever suits your fancy, personally if I had to choose one of those titles, the last would be more of my repertoire.  That doesnt mean we are any less than that of the wall street executive. We are still doing a job and require the right and full amount of payment we are not only due but are worth. And when I say worth, that goes for fair pay. There is actually litigation getting ready to happen on behalf of nannies in NYC for being paid less than what minimum wage is today. In the state of MD 7.25/hr is minimum wage. Have I been paid less? yes. But sometimes the demographic comes into play. AND if I like the family, I will take a lower pay until things work out better for them or me, and its better than being with a rotten boss. But does that mean I am lower class? HA you wish. I am one of 5 nannies in the area. NANNY. Not a babysitter. So its slim picking compared to being over run with them in big cities. I do so much more than that of a 16 year old making a couple bucks to go and visit a key house for a knock of dolce gabana.

5) Not a teacher; by state boards no. Because I never took the PRAXIS. I jumped off that ship when I got into  the class that was about teaching 30 children to read at once. That was my point where I couldnt go on with that degree. However, that doesnt mean that I am not keeping on the up and up of the newest phonics program. That Disney Juniors coolest project on pirate hats is where it is at. To bring to life the 8 planets in the solar system after last weeks launch. Not to mention that bagukan and pokemon are still rad. Lesson plans, along with the general abc's and 1,2,3's come into play everyday.

 I am going towards another profession in about 4 years... but it will still involve what I do, but on a higher level. Will these kids be erased from my life? No. Because I wont forget... This is my life my and has been my profession for the last 9 years. Would I change it and run away for the admin I was in before? Would I trade the diapers and snot rockets for the black slacks and endless coffee? Well, the coffee that is a huge deal breaker.....

Oh yeah.. and the ear bug.. you are welcome. LOL


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Blessings in disguise

Some days I look back at the first parts of my nanny career. I think about all the children I have been with. I can find a blessing within each one of them. Sometimes it is a blessing of patience but a lot of times, they bless me with their little selfs.

Lets talk about one who was a true blessing to me. I met this little girl back in 2006. I wasn't sure what was entailed as I had never fully be one on one with a child who had a disability. Sure I had worked in a setting where I "helped" with a physically and mentally disabled child, but never one on one by myself for 7 hours a day. I wasnt scared persay- but I was more so curious as to what would come of everything. Would there be communication barriers? Would I have to speak differently? Would I have to do 3 separate routines? (because there was one older, and a infant along with her). Would I even know how to help if the verbal skills were none?

Little did I know that I was about to be taught something, not teach.

For the sake of privacy we will call this little girl flower. Because there are still turds out there in cyberspace who are disgusting (and if I ever find you trolling here, you will have hell to pay) but I digress Flower from the first day let me know that I was the dumb one. I was stupid for even thinking there was a remote possibility for having to do something differently with her. Sure I had to say things more than once, but seriously tell me what kid you DONT have to do that with. The first day I was there, I was instantly told "NOOOOOOOOOOOO"... not "no" but with emphasis on the "O" part when I went to buckle her into her booster seat. This was foreign territory for me- as I was the one to do this, but Flower quickly showed me who was in charge. LOL! 

She also taught me to slow down while going full force. What the means is, I dont need to always have the control of fast while diving into something full throttle. Let me explain this. Flower liked to go into Q's room and take all the books off the shelf. And when I say all, I mean ALL. I would pick them up multiple times a day. I am sure that the parents thought I just left them there all day, whereas in reality that right there was a 10,000 pick up game every 10 minutes. No joke. But, I would try and put them back smallest to biggest, and or color coded for easier access for the other two. Why did I try? Flower made it apparent that was not the way things were to be handled. The best way to do clean up was to get the job done. Not to organize. There is no organization in life. But there are ways to live it with minimal organization. Not to say the books were not a thorn in my side, but she did let me see the wonder of the actual stories through the pictures, not just the words. She would surround herself with these books, pick them up, flip the book from hand to hand studying the cover, and then go through the book with detail. Every color, shape, animal, person, line meant something. It meant something to her and it started meaning something to me. I could see the depth and how it spoke to her. I could see the colors and how they pulled her world together. Through those almond shaped eyes, she saw something magical.

She also taught me that opinions matter, no matter how young you are. She was always there to give hers, whether it was wanted at that time or not. While it might have not been savored at that moment, it was thought provoking. Maybe not always through exact words of her swollen tongue, but it intended something. She spoke to me in ways that I was not used to. Through the use of her hands. Yes, sign language. The use of the hands are amazing. She taught me the worth of a word unspoken but gestured. She was the one who would sneak candy when I wasnt looking to coat that puffy tounge with sugar. She was my sweetness in life.

She taught me what love was. Unconditional love. She taught me that through the frustration, I am always going to be given a hug, a bright smile that makes the eyes disappear into the face. That through the "Nooooooooooo's" (the extra o's are imperative) and the stubborn as a mule attitude about doing things her way, not mine are welcomed. And that through the light of the soul, it can be born into what society breeds as normal.

Today she is thriving- in kindergarten. She is talking great. She is doing awesome in her school. When I did get to see her last she said my name with such clarity I almost cried. She sat on my lap the entire time she was with me and just stroked my face and said my name. It melted my heart. I had missed her. The other two were strange around me for a bit (and the fact that E was a baby when they left and now she was full throttle saying my name and having full conversations with me just threw me for a loop) but they warmed up quicly.

I have seen Flower that 1 time in person since they have moved away. I see thousands of pictures of Flower and her brother and sister, Q and E. And its not that I love Q and E any less, however I had to share the joy of what I was given. That is sometimes the brutal part of this job. They go away. You lose the people you care about. The family as a whole. The parents who are great. the kids who rock your world. However you can hope you leave a mark. But what really happens is that they leave a mark on you.

Flower does not have a disability. She has an ability to show people who they really are.  To bring out the real 'you'. To show that the fears or the questions you have really are easier than you make them. That it might be the hardest thing in the world to let go of your ways...and see that others are actually doing it right.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Gonna do the monkey....ooh ooh ahh ahhh

Anyone who knows anything, knows a thing about The Wiggles. Even better, these Aussie guys have given our own Al Roker a chance to become an orange wiggle for a day as the 'weather man'. I thought it was pretty cool, and my charges for the day about broke out of their skin at the sight of the wiggles on the today show (As did my daughter... she still loves them). I personally think the wiggles are great. And no they are not a bunch of gay hippies dancing around for screen time. If you have seen a child watch them, you would know that they are enthralled with them. I even have a friend who used to have dreams about one of the wiggles being hot. LOL! Not my choice on the one- but hey to each their own.

I haven't updated in a while- but I shall soon with the stories of my past families. Yet- I did stumble upon this gem. As I was reading some of the articles that I hold dear to my heart- that nannies are not just 'daycare'. There is no truer words. Seriously. I wonder about some of stories I have heard from other nannies I know and/or have read and they are like "oh you do nothing all day, just hang around". Are you kidding me? Yeah now. We are like a mother to your child while gone along with also being a teacher and planning out the day to make sure your darling is thriving and taken care of while you are away. A lot of times we are teaching lessons during the day, spending our off time doing up lesson plans for the month or planning what to do tomorrow.  It is not just a drop and go and your kid will get to play with a multitude of snot faces, it is one on one care that gives your child a place to thrive.  It is pretty simple too to see that your nanny is a person. Not just domestic help (god help those who are attracted by Arnie's), they are people who are pretty important. Ones that are caring for pretty important people in your life. Anyway- here is the link.Happy Nannies

While it might sound I am in angst about this topic I am truly not. I am more-so trying to turn around the horror stories parents hear about the nannies on dateline with the nanny cams. Those few bad apples do not ruin the whole lot. Most of us don't do what we do to just get by, we do it because we want to and *gasp* we like it! We might find a "passion" later in the the profession of a nanny- however I can guarantee it is not far from what we were working as before (hence where I have now found my passion and I am working towards it).

These kids I have right now are great. While I am having a down minute because they are having snack and watching one of their 3 half hour allotment of TV times a day (Handy Manny) I wanted to rave on them a bit. I have been pretty blessed in my profession. Having only 2 nightmares out of 13 families; I say the odds are in my favor. I have been given the chance to get to know many of the families on a personal level and still keep in close touch with a lot of them today. I could see that happening with this family. Right now R and S are whom I work for. R is almost 24 months and S is 3 going on 18 (or so he thinks).  S is quite rambunctious; Nothing I haven't dealt with before and R is just trying to find her way into toddler-ville. However, it is a great change from the last place (zombie children with a parents that didn't give two squats about them). Plus the parents are pretty cool (it makes a difference, trust me). S is getting ready to start school in the fall- well pre-k and it gives me a chance to help him hone his skills. Everyday doing something new to peak his interest and expand that brain a little. He is already pretty smart for a kid his age, and R is following right behind. Plus, my daughter is in HEAVEN because R is like I said- still in that baby stage somewhat and all she wants is a baby sister. So, in suto wise, she has one for 8 hours a day.

Uh oh.. Mannny is going off.. I shall update more later!