Excuses, Excuses!

As a self-described Supernanny, part of my job is to get stuff done. And by stuff, I mean tasks that the kids don’t want to do and the parents don’t want to do with them (chores, homework, etc). I take the initiative on this because I want the children’s time with their folks to be quality and fun. And besides, I can make chores and homework fly by with my mad Mary Poppins skillz.

I surmount the hill of have-to-dos by breaking up the routine as much as possible and making the kids’ required tasks as clear-cut and easy to complete as possible. I draw up a master list for each, grouping the tasks by proximity to one another—empty backpack, wash hands, get out containers for tomorrow’s lunch can all be done downstairs; set out clothes, set alarm can all be done upstairs; then homework time.  If you send kids all over the house and are constantly giving them directions they stop listening and/or get distracted. Believe me, I get it. As an easily-distracted child (welp, let’s be honest, person) I know how hard it is to complete chore after chore, assignment after assignment when all you see are toys you want to play with, books you’d rather be reading, your pals outside wanting to play, or (as would later become the biggest detriment to my being a productive college student) cocktails and swimming pools. I’m sensitive to the whole, “There’s not enough time!” feeling. I am actually well acquainted with that very excuse, as it was my constant companion all the way through college graduation, but never more so than in middle school.

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It’s All In The Details

details

Most of being a good nanny is making sure everything is done: the children are safe, rested, fed, all needs met. But to be a true Supernanny, the skill is in the details: making that extra effort and noticing areas of special needs in each child/family. When parents have very young children who can’t report to them, I am sure to write down the details of the day (think The {Insert Name} Report, a {So-and-So} Gazette) detailing when they were fed, what they ate and how well, any medicine they took, what games we played, when they napped/slept, their happiness level throughout the day, new developments (i.e. new words), and/or advances in motor skills. The same goes for when I do an overnight or weekend job; I write up a {Lucky Child/ren} & Miss Cheryl’s Weekend of Fun} record. Doing so a) helps me to keep track of everything at the time of, and b) serves as a great way to keep the parents in the loop on their children’s activities, meals, etc.

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Good Nanny vs. Supernanny

Once people find out I’m a nanny for hire, they are always very interested in my schedule, my accountability, the children’s ages…tons of questions. And I’m happy to answer any and all. It’s important to me to get the word out that nannying is not exclusively performed by Au Pairs to the rich and estranged, the uneducated who have no other job options, or sleepy geriatrics. There are a growing number of college-educated, bright, funny, sweet young women who are choosing to be a nanny above pursuing another profession. I most certainly am one of them. I have never ended up making a resumé because, once I started nannying, a year and half before graduating college, I never looked back.

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Miss Direction

Siegfried and Roy, in all their tiger-taming glory, taught me misdirection, another bit of trickery I use. Misdirection is the deception of the audience. Siegfried/Roy grabs the audience’s attention to some red herring area, while Roy/Siegfried pulls a fast one while they’re distracted. I do not have a partner in crime, so I must perform this trick solo. Now why would an Austin keeper-of-children need misdirection in her bag of tricks? Lemme tell ya. When the kiddos are too young to be left alone, even for a three-minute trip to the bathroom, I am obliged to take them everywhere, and I mean everywhere, with me. Toddlers are like skinny chefs—they cannot be trusted (I’m watching you, Giada). But it only takes a child telling you once in a swimming pool family changing room, “Miss Cheryl, I love your nipples,” for you to scan your brain frantically to find a way to NEVER have it happen again. And so I tell the children to count the ceiling tiles as I change into my suit, ask them “What’s that over there?” when using the water closet, and Voila! It works. When they respond, puzzled, to one of my outbursts, “There wasn’t a unicorn in the shower!” I just reply sheepishly, “Oh, it must have just been a regular horse.”


A Spoonful of Sugar

We all recall the scene in Mary Poppins in which Julie Andrews helps the children tidy up the nursery. With a crisp snap of her fingers, the children’s clothes fly into the closet, their toys onto shelves. It’s AWESOME. But even though I will lay claim to such magical abilities as potty-training a child over the weekend (while his parents are out of town), getting veggies into the bellies of the most adamant verde-haters, and making nappers out of naysayers, I do not profess to have Mary’s mystical abilities. Instead I employ my own version of “Spoonful of Sugar” (better suited to those of us without lightning bolt scars on our foreheads) that transforms otherwise mundane tasks into flights of fancy.

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Howdy There!

Howdy, y’all! Miss Cheryl here. Welcome to my blog!

Now, as a nanny, I don’t have much time for chit chat so let’s just cut to the chase. My blog will be my sanity saver, story store, and general jumble of not-quite-motherly wisdom. I’m a full-time nanny, living in Austin, Texas. I started babysitting as a pre-teen in Corpus Christi, Texas, then shortly before graduating college (@ Texas State in San Marcos, “Eat ’em Up, Cats!) I got pulled into the nannying game by a random, though turns out, rather serendipitous e-mail from a pal. I started commuting to Austin for nannying jobs, and even after graduating, just kept with it! I’m currently in my 6th year of being a certifiable, Texan Rugrat Wrangler, and I’ve enjoyed every (well, honey let’s be honest, almost every) minute of it.

Now, I’m sure some of you have read, watched, heard of, or  experienced some form of surrogate childcare. You’ve seen the fictitious well-meaning bright eyed young governess, the dependable older au pair. Always in these stories the Nanny is an outsider to a world of wealth, emotional unavailability, and very lonely children. Welp, my experience is a little different! This ain’t no Nanny Diaries, my friend. The families I nanny for are not comprised of shopping/”charity” addicted mothers, absentee fathers, and neglected, unhappy children. Rather, I’m the helping hand to single moms, busy moms, working moms, moms and dads who want to keep the romance by having date nights, etc. and the firm (but always fun) guiding hand to children ranging from infants to school age. I don’t keep my emotions on a shelf, I adore and love all the children I nanny. I love them because they are all wonderful individuals and because I develop a unique and very special bond with each one.

Miss Cheryl