Playing Dumb

As a lifelong (and thus far natural) blonde, I have worked hard to dispel the stereotype that all blondes are dumb. And despite the rare  (ok full disclosure, occasional) “Duh” moment, I believe that I do my part in elevating the perceived intelligence of my hair color. However, as a lady might with any job, I pick my moment to cash in my dumb card. How and when I choose to play dumb depends on the charge at hand.
Doc and I have not always had the smooth sailing relationship we now enjoy. It took six months of earnest effort and much persistence on my part to gain his trust, love, and respect. All that was undoubtedly worth it, as he is such a delight, and truly a unique young man, I’m glad I stuck it out, the juice was definitely worth the squeeze. One thing I learned very early on about Doc is that he is very sensitive to his surroundings and likes things the way he likes them. This is his prerogative as a 3 year old, and as his nanny it’s my job to keep him happy, his environment as he likes it. However, Doc’s habits and preferences were so specific that I ruined things unwittingly, resulting in negative outcomes, aka exasperation over an incorrectly sliced fruit, crossness at insufficient amount of ice in his “sparkling”(sparkling water). The land mines of his predilections at times confounded me. As his nanny, I felt it was my duty to act as a liaison between his home, where everything was just so, and everywhere else, bridging the gap between his domestic bliss and future classrooms, future play dates, the future. Were he to fall to pieces anytime something was not just right, it was going to be rough out there. Luckily for me, in addition to being a child who is very detail-oriented, Doc is an extremely empathetic child, and will jump to the aid of anyone he sees as being in need, or in some way helpless. I was much heartened discovering this aspect of his personality, knowing that it would be my saving grace. As a means to engage him, I confided in him that many times I make mistakes, and I really needed his help. As soon as Doc saw me as a person of lesser knowledge, someone to be taken under his wing, our friendship dramatically changed. Instead of becoming frustrated with me when I cut his sandwich the wrong way or referred to a toy by the wrong name, he would chuckle and look to the heavens, “Miss Cheryl, you made a mistake!” to which I would shrug sheepishly and say, “You’re right, Doc, I’m always making mistakes, will you tell me how…” His response was always to assist me, and by working through the details in this way we developed an amazing rapport. The disciplinary dynamic wasn’t affected, I was always in charge, but it was important for us to relate to each other on a personal level. I think he got a real kick out of an adult freely admitting that she is fallible, and I had to stifle back laughter as he painstakingly educated me. “Miss Cheryl, when will she learn?”

Other times my unintelligent act is employed under spontaneous circumstances. When Mr. Man and Big Cat tried to convince me to buy them goodies while out running errands, and I knew the answer was “No,” I just pretended my phone couldn’t get a text out to check, “Maybe next time.” When Boss Lady’s family moved into a new abode, she, for some reason, was scared of the bathtub, refusing to be bathed in it, and genuinely terrified when the water was turned on. Her mommy alerted me of this development when I arrived for Date Night. Thinking on my feet, I decided to…play dumb, acting as if I had no idea she was frightened of bath time and went on with business as usual, popping on the Lady Gaga Pandora radio, filling up the tub, squirting in the bubble bath. To my delight, Boss Lady stripped down, and we proceeded to have, yet another, great bath! I washed her hair, scrubbed and bubbled, then rinsed, dried, and dressed her, texting her folks intermittently of my progress. For whatever reason, my not giving attentions to her as-yet-to-me-unknown apprehensions worked like a charm! The trick apparently lost its power in my absence, and the next time her folks went to bathe her, the terror reappeared-they knew too much. But upon my return, I repeated my unintelligent performance to the same positive result! Dumb Miss Cheryl=Clean Boss Lady! Her folks joked that they may just have me come over every evening to bathe her, haha. Her mommy incorporated the Lady Gaga Pandora radio (I divulged anything I thought might be unique to my success)and eventually Boss Lady caved to cleanliness, agreeing to shower. Somehow I’m still getting away with our traditional washing way, by playing dumb. Yeah, dumb like a fox.

3 Comments on “Playing Dumb”

  1. Aspen says:

    Love it! This post brings back memories of when you would call me (over a year ago) at the end of a nannying day and laugh about how you had to act like a complete idiot to Doc. Do you think one day he’ll catch on or he’ll grow up thinking “Holy cow, I can’t believe my parents employed Cheryl. I mean I love her but she was kind of slow…”

  2. […] to take my passport for inspection. Having a blonde moment, I extended my hand as if to shake his. I wasn’t playing dumb, folks, I had a legitimately dumb moment. I realized halfway through this gesture that he wanted my passport, not to meet me, and started […]

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