Beautiful DisasterPosted: June 7, 2012 | |
As a Supernanny, I uphold a very high standard of household upkeep for the duration of my time with a family. That being said, messes still happen. When I first started nannying for Mr. Man and Big Cat, they were 3 y/o and 8 months. At mealtimes, I was always trying to stay on top of things—cleaning up every spill, scooping every morsel off the floor as it fell, wiping Big Cat’s lips after every bite. But as our days together continued, I learned a valuable piece of mealtime know-how: During meals, let their freak flags fly. Let the proverbial chips fall where they may, and do a clean sweep after. Otherwise you’ll drive yourself crazy and waste valuable energy better spent confronting post-meal hurdles (a.k.a. naptime, the word “no,” etc.).
Moreover, infants and toddlers are just learning to feed themselves, and they can’t develop that pattern with someone swooping in and cleaning them up at every turn. It’s like when I go to a restaurant and the waiter keeps refilling my water glass before I can even make it past the ice line. I want to say, “Quit hovering and let me get in on that!” Most importantly, it’s paramount to enjoy the children for the messy, imperfectly perfect people that they are. Enjoy the chaos, enjoy the dirty faces and sweaty hair; it means they’re living life and having fun.
For me, messy mealtimes are a microcosm for parenting in general. No matter how big the mess seems to be, have fun making it, then work together and clean it up. Now that being said, the key is that the clean-up eventually happens, and as a nanny I don’t have limitless time to work with, I’ve gotta get it all done within the confines of schedule (read: before the parent/s get home). Ever heard the saying “You walk into a surgery halfway through it looks like murder?” That applies here. One day, Doc and Rebel’s mother came home a few hours early but just in time to see that a tornado of toys had hit her living room. Usually, I would have had the space spic and span by her return, but now she had caught me with my pants down (so to speak). Nevertheless she, Doc, and I made quick work of tidying up. No harm, no foul—I’m just relieved no one’s caught me at mealtimes yet!