Save the Drama For Your Mama, Your Nanny’s Got EnoughPosted: July 27, 2012
Despite my now predominantly calm, cool, and collected way, I do have a flare for the dramatic. From a very young age I loved participating in anything theatrical(even if it just meant crying for no reason). In elementary school I joined the choir and participated in any and all school theater productions(most memorably as a singing leper, Rebecca, in my sixth grade Passion play), my siblings, cousins Angela & Andrew, and I produced our own version of The Nutcracker at Christmas time, and I starred in my short-running series, Cheryl Explains It All(produced by my brother, Bud and co-starring our neighbor/surrogate siblings, Sam and Katherine). In high school I sang and danced in the Harbor Playhouse’s production of Gypsy, as a Vaudeville chorus line gal and a showgirl, and then played Mrs. Clackett in my high school’s production of the slapstick NOISES OFF. These performances provided me with the experience of 1) having an audience 2) realizing i do not have stage fright 3) being silly and self-deprecating with ease, all three have made the transition to Supernanny a smooth one. In some ways, an out-of-work actress would make an ideal nanny; all that artistic and creative expression just looking for a release, the ability to aim ones talents at a certain demographic, the possession of an ego brazen enough to sing, act, and dance in the harsh face of a kiddo critic.
If your drive is drama, as a nanny the auditions are limitless, and with the right gig you can entertain for years and years. Take reading books, for instance- you can give a different voice to each character, express excitement or exhaustion depending on the time of day. Singing and dancing are always encouraged -after a day with Doc and Rebel, my quads are killing me from taking turns holding each while we dance, after a day with Boss Lady my voice is hoarse from singing along to Katy Perry. When playing pretend with another sporadic female charge, Princess, I take on the persona of a doll, stuffed animal, Disney figurine, whatever our storyline calls for.
Whatever the dramatic duty, my audience’s response is always heartening, though on some days, drained from my dramatic exertions I fall back on the old Lindsay Lohan excuse (in her case for behaviors hardly becoming of a nanny), and plead exhaustion! This happened on a day spent watching Mr. Man(at the time 7), Big Cat(at the time 5), their pals, Handsome(6), and Blue Eyes(4). (Yep you read that right, four boys ranging in age from 4-7!) Up in the playroom I had my iPad 2 on double duty -playing Rolling Stones Pandora radio while I googled how-to instructions on making Origami frogs for Mr. Man and Handsome- whilst building a zoo out of blocks with Blue Eyes, and pondering the dilemma of how to make the block zoo into an airport as well with Big Cat. Now after hours of fielding questions, meeting needs, and breaking only for snacks, Miss Cheryl, at long last depleted, faints on the sofa, hand shielding eyes and says in a voice conveying piteous self-sacrifice, “I can’t answer another question! I can do no more! Y’all have taken all I had to give!” This monologue was reacted to immediately, all the boys dropping what they were doing and dog-piling on me, all mock pleading and fake apologizing:
Mr. Man: “Poor Miss Cheryl!”
Big Cat: “We’ll help you!”
Handsome: “Do you need some water?”
Blue Eyes “So sorrrry!”
And so I rose from the ashes of my fake fatigue, administered tickles, regained my strength, and assumed my next role. After all, the show must go on!