Act Like an Adult, Think Like a Child

I was hanging out with my pal Aspen and her 3 y/o nephew, Doc. He loves my fat cat Dixie “soooooo much”, and always wants to see her when he visits our apartment. On this particular day, Dixie was fast asleep (as she is wont to do sixteen hours out of every day) in her kitty bed, on my queen bed. Doc ran into my room, saw Dixie, and immediately started the slow and (as he is tiny) arduous process of climbing up the side of my bed. I immediately started smiling, stifling a giggle. Aspen looked at her nephew then back at me, laughing. “What’s so funny?” she asked, smiling and inquisitive. I replied, “He must really want to see her and pet her! That’s a lot of work for him to get up there!” See, when I saw him climbing up the side of my bed, I pictured myself with a mountain to climb, of that relative scale. What would I put out that effort and physical exertion for? A glass of red wine after a long day, that’s what!

It got me thinking about my childlike perceptions. Have they developed to suit my job as a nanny? Or maybe they have not shifted much from when I was a kid myself. Relating to children as not only a caregiver, but also as a peer is one of the reasons I enjoy being a nanny so much; the ability to see things from their perspective is a true nannying skill that has served me well. I have not forgotten all the moments that made a difference to me, but probably to no one else.

I would imagine, and I always say, “It’s hard being a baby.” Infants especially have no way of letting you know what they need, or what is wrong, and that must be so frustrating. Heck, I get frustrated in my own life when my phone won’t make a call out immediately. It’s why I have so much patience for babies: it’s not easy being small. I once had a part-time charge, a few mornings per week, and he was a delight! We’ll call him Snuggles. Snuggles’ mom had him on a great sleeping and feeding schedule (and would leave his times out for me, which, as a nanny, was much appreciated). But even with his impeccable schedule, there were times when Snuggles would cry more than usual. Maybe he was super sad that his mom left, or he wasn’t feeling great. On days like these I would start his nap in the rocking chair as usual, and then, if he cried out when I made the move from chair to crib, I’d end up staying in the rocking chair with him for the duration of the nap. It was not an every day routine, but some days it was what he needed. Then he’d wake up, and I would say, “Great nap, Snuggles! Yay!” and he and I would both clap. So funny! Instead of becoming frazzled or freaked out that Snuggles wasn’t a happy baby 24/7, I found a way to bond with him, and those times are some of my favorite nannying memories.

Thinking like a child not only helps me stay cool, calm, and collected in the harsh face of infancy and toddlerdom, it helps me give the benefit of the doubt to the bigger kids when they are “misbehaving.” Like when Mr. Man (at the time 6 y/o) was having a cranky day, I didn’t lose my positivity. Knowing it had been raining for the past few days, and that he probably hadn’t been able to go outside, I said, “Dude, this weather is brutal. I hope we get a sunny day soon so I can take you to the park and get some of those ants out of your pants. I think they’re making you cranky.” Mr. Man deadpanned, “I don’t have ants in my pants.” Now some might think he was being argumentative, but his answer intrigued me, “Then what’s making you cranky?” To which he replied, with a troubled expression, “Well, Miss Cheryl, I think it’s a common house fly in my pants. Or maybe a pincher beetle. And it’s pinching my penis.” Okay, so the park it is, and with any luck pincher-beetle-on-penis problem solved!

16 Comments on “Act Like an Adult, Think Like a Child”

  1. Gabriella says:

    And this is why I wish you could nanny for my two delights!! I have tears in my eyes from laughing so hard. You are pretty amazing! Love you Cheryl!!!!!!!!

    • MissCheryl says:

      Thank you, Gabriella! Love you too! Leah and Blair are superbabies and i would supernanny the diapers off them if only you lived in Austin! Xoxo to u and your beautful family!

  2. susan roth says:

    you sure have found a beautiful calling; engaging writing!! keep up the good workk!

  3. Aspen says:

    Oh, Cheryl! When we saw “Doc” climbing up your bed and you told me why you were laughing, I have since started to incorporate that child view into my life. Example(ish): While visiting the B Boys one evening they were running through the sprinkler in their front yard…naked. Rebel began putting his naked butt in the air with his head on the ground while making odd noises. Of course I laughed. Then, his mom looked at me cracking up and said “Could you imagine if we were to do that? Take off all our clothes run naked around the yard then put our bare butt in the air and grunt?!?!” We laughed so hard as we sat there imagining the two of us running through the kiddie sprinkler and grunting like naked neanderthals.

    I also tend to look at Rebel and laugh so hard because he reminds me of all my guy friends when they are inebriated and unable to function, let alone direct their extremities where they want them to go.

    Rebel’s mood will go from giddy to angry within a matter of seconds because his water bottle is empty, he constantly has his hands in his pants for no apparent reason and if he hears music, he forgets all his troubles and begins dropping it like it’s hot wherever he may be. So similar to my adult male friends who, when they drink, will go from fun drunk to angry drunk, fondle themselves in public, get upset when their beer bottle is empty and there’s a line at the bar, and dance alone in the middle of a street if they hear the newest T-Pain song.

    Both Rebel and the drunkards are easily directed away from any situation and they soon forget about what is was they were doing five minutes earlier. They also are both easily satisfied with food.

    You’re writing inspires me to look at the world in a new way!!

    • MissCheryl says:

      Aspen, so VERY TRUE!!! Can’t wait for you to read one i have in the works;) Your ambition inspires me, and lit a fire under me to get this blog up! Thank you for always expecting more from me than i expect from myself:) love you!

  4. Brittany says:

    I am so proud of my beautiful friend! Your blog rocks Cheryl. Can’t wait to see where this takes you.

    • MissCheryl says:

      Thank you, Britt! Your insistence that i take my tales to the webpage is part of why this blog exists! For that and your faith in me, i am truly grateful. Xoxo

  5. teresamama says:

    It’s all about perspective!! That’s why you’re so successful as a nanny–you see things from a little human’s outlook:)

  6. Jenn says:

    I think I might know that Mr. Snuggles. Funny that I just read this as I just woke up from falling asleep with Mr . snuggles in his bed!! They grow up too quickly. We will mss you Miss Cheryl!

  7. […] I have found that being indoors for too long leads to emotional outbursts akin to cabin fever. (Y’all may recall Mr. Man’s indoor caused crankiness…)  I get it, I absolutely understand. One of the reasons I love nannying so much is because I get […]

  8. […] being active. The great outdoors does wonders for the spirit, and skiing is a great way to get ants out of your pants whilst having a great time with friends. I try to get the kiddos outside as much as possible, and enjoy the outdoors with […]

  9. […] love, and (in the case of anti-cat people) surprise with her sweet, funny, and loving personality. Many of my charges knew Dixie and loved taking trips to my apartment solely for the chance to see, p… Now that she’s gone (she passed away this past August) I’m glad I let her get away with […]

  10. […] the low 90s I knew this couldn’t possibly be true, and I thought he was being silly or contrary. But, knowing what I know about Doc I decided after his fourth protestation to going out of doors, to ask a few more questions, see […]

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