This month I wanted to write a blog that is structured more as a short story as I highlight the role of a caregiver in a child’s daily life. Although each home is different and the expectations or responsibilities are not always the same, the general structure as it relates to caring for the child remains the same. Caregivers play such a major role in a child’s well-being, development and growth, healthcare and nutrition, social skills and so much more.
Although, it may at times seemed overwhelming I love what I do and I am invested in the lives of the kids that are in my care. Note that it takes a big kind heart, filled with lots of love and patience to help shape the little minds and hearts of those destined to be tomorrow’s leaders. Follow along with me as my day unfolds before your eyes.
Let the Day Begin!
Is that the alarm clock? Oh, no it couldn’t be morning already! I reach out and hit the snooze button not once but twice. I have a 6:00am alarm and a 6:30am alarm all with the same purpose – to get me up in the morning. I know what you may be thinking… who needs two alarms, right? Well I do, and even when the alarm shuts off, I still hear myself thinking “I need five more minutes to recalibrate before I can actually allow my feet to touch the ground.”
Okay that’s it I’m wide awake but by now I’m deeply regretting those few extra minutes of sleep as I run to the kitchen to brew my morning coffee, then hurriedly run into the bathroom to take a quick shower. At this point every minute counts, but you know how we ladies can be. No matter what, we’ve got to fix our hair and face. Luckily I’m good at getting my clothing together the night before. I make haste and get dress grab my gym bag (I live in hope of going to the gym either before or after work, but I digress… that’s a story for another day), my laptop bag (no writer is worth the paper she writes on if she leaves this behind) and then I’m out the door.
At this point I’m thinking to myself ‘I wish I had something to eat before I left the apartment.’ I shake my head and sigh “I’ll have to postpone that until I get the kids settle in.” I REALLY should have awakened with the first alarm! “Hmmm,” I glance down at my watch as I skip down the streets. “It’s 7:20am already. I’ve got to hop on the subway; my train is going to arrive in five minutes.” Getting to work late is a catalyst for chaos that sets off a domino effect, which is why as I rush to the train, I say a silent prayer, hoping there isn’t any early morning delays.
Finally, I’m here, standing at the door of the client’s home. I take a deep breath as I leave all my personal issues outside knowing it would be there waiting for me at the end of my day. As I use my keys to let myself in, I could hear my kids’ voices coming through the door. I burst into the apartment like a ray of sunshine as I beckon them to start the day. “Okay guys it’s time to get ready.” Usually, by this time I would hear my name being repeated over and over as I answer the questions coming at me at the speed of light as well as simultaneously being informed of the night occurrences.
I’d then say “Okay it’s time for that most important meal of the day BREAKFAST. Milk or water? Pancakes or waffles? Would you like a piece of fruit – yes or no? What about a yogurt or perhaps a string of cheese?” The aim is to get through this smoothly as mealtimes can be a challenge be it breakfast, lunch or dinner. A clean plate can make you feel like a SUPERNANNY.
Day to day activities fill the hours as the routine that is my life falls into sequence. I welcome you to my world of pushing a well laden stroller, I’ve got to be prepared for every possible contingency. Getting my little girl ready for school, taking her younger brother to class, playing at the park, playdates with friends, followed by afternoon naps, dinner and bath or even an indoor activity. I particularly love to do artwork with my girl and we’re always happy for an occasion to make a beautifully hand crafted card or an original placemat.
I know my day sounds great so far… right? Yes, it does to me because I enjoy doing these things. But guess what. There’s more! Let’s not forget the occasional display of temper tantrum that can be brought about by the simplest of things. A quiet and serene moment could quite easily be broken by screams and shrieks of annoyance. By now I have gotten so use to it, so once there isn’t any major accident or illness linked to these tantrums I just sit back and pretend I’m in a Beyoncé concert. It’s call leaving them to calm themselves down, when everything you try has failed. It’s also a way for me to destress ensuring my blood pressure don’t sky rocket.
Then I have the ‘OH I’m so confused moments.’ I often smile to myself when my sweet precious twenty-month old boy gets to howling if he hears or sees Mr. Yellow on his educational DVD as he learns his colors. I don’t know what it is about this color that gets him going, I would say to myself and laugh. Or perhaps when he screams to watch Bubble Guppies which he calls “Guppy” as soon as he finishes his meal as if it was part of his daily routine. Not to mention that constant battle of the NOOOOOOO almost every five minutes. In addition, the constant call of my name, which by the way was changed from Reea to Raraaaa, up to hundred times each day. Mind you, they call me for no apparent reason – funny right?
Yet somehow my day seems to rush on by like a whirlwind because there is never a dull moment. I also love those beautiful unexpected surprises that can be like a breath of fresh air that reminds me why I do what I do. For instance, when someone looks at my kids and notices how well- mannered they are as they use their “please” and “thank you” in their conversations. Or that moment when they attend a class and shine like the bright stars they are. It makes me feel tickled pink inside because as their nanny, I know I had a hand in that. Not to mention those humorous moments when they do or say something so darn cute that you can’t help but laugh. I have a lot of that with my little girl, she’s so hilarious and has such a big bubbly personality.
Not forgetting those unexpected displays of affection – a hug, a very damp kiss, or a simple “I love you” from my young sweethearts as they reach out to grasp my hands as we walk the streets or cuddle on the sofa. It brings a warm feeling of being needed and loved. I may not have the prestige title of a doctor, physical therapist, lawyer, personal stylist, master chef, referee, teacher, motivational speaker, etc.; however, I’m all that and more to the kids that are in my care. I nurse their boo boo’s, I plead their cases on their behalf with their mom and dad when their behavior seems out of sortor if they want that special toy even though it’s not their birthday or a holiday. I make sure they are always clean, well-kept, and dressed to impress. I prepare the finest meals upon their request; I break up fights during playdates and even the fights between each other. I’ve taught them their ABC’s and their 1, 2, 3’s and I’ve even taught them how to write their names. Their social skills are A+, and whenever my girl say, “I can’t” I’m always there to say “Yes you can.”
I have an honorable occupation going for me and I am proud of what I do. As a parent, I know the level of trust that is needed to entrust the care of your child into the hands of another. It’s a responsibility that I don’t take lightly and one that I appreciate wholeheartedly. Every mom, dad, grand-parent, uncle, aunt, you name it, knows that being a parent teaches unconditional love, gives you strength, helps you deals with fears, comes with sacrifices and much more.
So, if you have a passion for kids maybe this is the way you need to go. However, whether it’s the beginning of a long and rewarding career or a stepping stone to something greater, keep in mind that you are sowing into the life of a little person and they can only be the better for having a NANNY like you. So, do good by them and know that it will work out for everyone. The seeds we sow will determine what we reap.
Please share with me what is one of the highlights of your day spent with your kids – be it mom, dad, nanny, grand-parent?
I hope you enjoy a very typical day in my life as a nanny.