My kids insist I’m a dinosaur.
When they were four years old, I cheerfully went along with it.
Now that they’re twenty, it’s not so cute.
They tease me that they can make me a grandparent whenever they feel like it and there’s nothing I can do to stop them.
They say, “We’re not going to call you Grandma though…we’re going to promote you straight to ancestor. You can teach our kids about the Stone Age.”
I’m pleased to report that although I am nowhere near the grandparent zone, I am officially a nanny to a sweet little one year old girl. I began as a babysitter but she quickly promoted me to Nanny Jo, a title I don’t take lightly.
When I was approached about watching her on a regular basis, I balked. I’ve raised my five kids past the age of 13 years old now and going back to “square one” is not my idea of smart.
Every time my youngest passed a milestone, I was ecstatic.
I couldn’t wait to toss the crib. The sad two-seater stroller had a ripped canopy, a broken wheel, and was faded from multiple washings. Kicking it to the curb was such a good day.
When your youngest has finally potty trained and you don’t have a single diaper in the whole house…this my friends, is freedom.
But her mama was ready to start back to work part time, and I’ve been vaguely considering rejoining the workforce (ie: having a paycheck).
Don’t ever ask a mother if “she works”.
First, she will laugh hysterically. Then she will go all crazy in the eyes and come after you with a bulb syringe.
I agreed to try it for a while and see if everyone involved still thought it was a good plan after a few weeks.
The drooling, squirmy package was placed into my arms and mama waved good-bye.
The moment the door closed, we had a little sit-down.
She sussed me out immediately, the bright thing, as a lady who was rather no-nonsense.
“Look kid,” I told her, “this isn’t my first rodeo.”
She patted my face and babbled on about her morning.
She took some time to explain that her mama very likely didn’t mean it about naps. That basically naps were for sissies, and there were plenty better things to do. She offered me up to half of her little kingdom if I wouldn’t lay her down in the crib.
Thankfully, I speak fluent eight month old.
When I explained that napping was basically heaven in a pillow, she saw it differently.
I had to demonstrate a couple of times to prove it.
But she got the message.
She showed me around her home, pointing out the particularly great refrigerator door handles they had and took me to every spot that was naughty or unsafe within the first half hour.
She really made sure I understood the job.
She is very helpful like that.
She admired my shoes. She admired my jewelry. I admired her extensive hair bow collection.
We chatted over lunch about her taste in music (I lean toward classical, she likes dad’s stereo system) whether Barney still exists (Oh I hope not) and why, if you baked four and twenty blackbirds into an actual pie, did they get away and bite off a lady’s nose?
It doesn’t make sense.
We planned some tea parties, a couple of field trips, maybe a play date or two.
We discussed the pros and cons of siblings, and what the definition of “toy” is.
And then I rocked the wee bundle of charm to sleep and placed her in the crib.
I stood there, suddenly speechless and shook my head.
Now we know how I ended up with five.
I did have the last word before backing slowly out of her room:
“You are kind, you are smart, and you are important.”
Courtesy of Aibileen.