For all “boo-boo”s I have kissed and made better, for all the frowns I’ve turned upside-down, and for those cloudy days I’ve brought a bit of sunshine to, there are many moments in my life that have been made better by the kiddos. Nannying, at times, has been the only way a truly terrible day has been made better. Read the rest of this entry »
The hill country is alive with the sound of music! Or at least it is when I’m around. I have a fondness for reworking lyrics to existing songs, or inventing new ones on the fly for entertainment and education. Here are some of my favorites.
Snuggles, like many babies, inexplicably stopped being cool with having his diaper changed. As someone who can’t imagine ever being cool with having another person change me, I wanted to find a way to make our diaper-changing sessions less of a dreaded duty, and more fun. This led me to rework the lyrics to the oh-so-catchy Single Ladies, by Beyoncé:
“Little Snuggles Baby (Little Snuggles Baby), Little Snuggles Baby (Little Snuggles Baby), Little Snuggles Baby (Little Snuggles Baby), Little Snuggles Baby, Now put ya legs up! Read the rest of this entry »
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.). Read the rest of this entry »
In almost every household in which I have nannied—whether long-term, short-term, or just sporadically—naptime is inevitably an issue. Every child is different, and so the siesta spectrum is a broad one. Some children are getting to an age when they can refuse naptime as a matter of principle, some are seemingly psychotic in their sluggish behavior leading up to naptime then sudden burst of energy once in crib—the individual issues are infinite!
As to the aforementioned blatant nap-refusers, I have seen my fair share. In my experience, the just-saying-no-to-naps (JSNTN) demographic seems to be 2.5 to 4-year-olds. Doc, pint-sized Read the rest of this entry »
For every SAT vocab word absorbed by Mr. Man and Big Cat that makes me swell with pride, there are ten other Miss Cheryl-isms they and the other kiddos adopt that I don’t count among my most intellectual. Among them are:
“This isn’t ’Nam—there are rules!”(from The Big Lebowski) | Invoked when the kiddos “go nuts” on me (a.k.a. try to jump out of the car without their backpacks, kick off their shoes and leave them in middle of walkway, pull out a snack post-lizard-petting without washing their hands, enter an occupied bathroom without knocking, etc.) Read the rest of this entry »
Being around children as a full-time job is a juggling act, with a lot of different balls in the air. One orb in particular is language. I am very careful never to curse in front of the kiddos, and have been successful thus far (unless you count an unfortunate incident while reading Fox in Socks which I still chalk up to a very leading rhyme scheme. Shame on you Dr. Seuss!). Along with not swearing like a sailor, I am very careful to project in my manner of speaking the positivity and integrity I hope to impart on the children through my actions as well. I don’t speak ill of others (even that jerk who cut me off on our way to the park), and I encourage the children to be sympathetic to others, even when it is hard for them to think outside of the bubble of their immediate needs.
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!
Where IS IT?! We’ve all been there- losing something and feeling powerless to find it. Children, I’ve found, are not only more prone to lose things than adults, but give up the search a LOT quicker. A cursory glance and a shoulder shrug is the most scouring you’ll muster from the majority of children. I myself was rather famous (or infamous depending on which family member you ask) for invoking the phrase, “I’ve looked everywhere, it’s gone!” to which my mama replied from another room—without looking up from what she was reading, or stopping what she was doing—“If I go into that room and find that toy, you’ll be in BIG trouble, missy!” Well I didn’t want BIG trouble, medium trouble maybe but not big, so I would begrudgingly go back into my room and actually look for whatever it was, almost always finding it. Read the rest of this entry »
Regarding discipline, I am not of the corporal inclination. If you have good discipline, physical force is a last resort, and for my purposes as a nanny I would never feel comfortable using it. No, when it comes to deterring delinquency in my young charges, I rely on their respect and affection to serve me well. In my long-term charges, some of whom I have been with for over six years, I find that seeking my approval is a very powerful incentive for them to behave. Mr. Man and Big Cat are constantly asking my opinion on all matters, not only the behavioral. Throughout most of our years together, my last line of disciplinary defense has been to say, “I’m not going to say it again.” I think they are terrified of what will happen if I have to say it again. And frankly, their active imaginations can come up with far worse potential punishments than I would ever implement, so I just let them wonder. My mama, an elementary school teacher, used a similar line with her students, my siblings, and me: “If you do that again, I just don’t know what I’m going to do.” Now as harmless a statement as it was for her to make, I know I always imagined her pulling out her hair, burning my toys, etc. so I would hop to when that phrase was uttered!
The summer before third grade, I attended a soccer camp run by professional soccer players—some active, some retired. One was a gargantuan South African man named Freeman. Freeman told us during our drills that practice did not make perfect, practice made permanent. The way you practice something is the way you will perform it. The way you write, the way you run, the way you throw, kick, catch—everything you do was once done one way, over and over, and that’s why you do what you do, how you do. That statement stayed with me through the years, as again and again I have reminded myself that how you do things is how you will always do things.