As a nanny, I am responsible for four little souls. I have introduced you to Gav and King. And now with such honor and adoration, I’d like to introduce you to Londy. Londy is not related to the rest of the gang comprised of two brothers and one sister, but still very close because their mothers are best friends. King and Londy are close in age so when I am with both of them I spend most of my time planning their future wedding and breaking up their fights.
Londy is a hitter. In fact, she’s such a hitter that every time we arrive to King’s house together he instantly goes into defense mode. His smile falls, he cocks his head and then side stares at us as we travel across the room. I’d like to say that would intimidate the nineteen month old little girl, but it doesn’t. You see, if one could hold the Olympic gold medal in staring contests, it would be Londy. I usually find myself in a staring match with her right after I have told her to stop doing something. Just like that, her icy blue eyes complimented by the largest/cutest cheeks, like this kid, begin to search your soul. She can hold this gaze for minutes. And though everything in me wants to out stare her, I can’t, because every second I stay is another second of my soul that she knows. At one point in a stare down with Londy, I doubted my salvation.
She is a sure force to be reckoned with which is why I keep coming back for more and more – neck kisses, tickle fights and “girl time” walks by the lake included.
If King and Londy are sitting next to each other, Londy will hit him and King will cry. It is inevitable. So when I had to go to the bathroom to take a quick tinkle while they were watching cartoons, I was expecting some cries and, “Stop it, Londy!” from King.
Not even by the time I get into the bathroom the whining has begun. No big deal. Pants down, mid tinkle and the usual crying has turned into life-changing screams that you never want to hear out of any two year old child. I have no other option than to clog myself up and take my bare-butted-jeans-around-my-ankle-self to stop the first degree murder that is occurring in the living room to Barney’s “I Love You” theme song.
I enter and King is lifelessly leveled while Londy sits expressionlessly over him with his hair rotated around her hand about five hundred and forty degrees. After I untangle his hair out of her monster grip, put her on an eternal time out and comfort him back to emotional wellness – I finally find some time to pull my pants back up to avoid the potential awkwardness of a parent coming home early.
As damaging as this encounter could have been for everyone, especially the pant-less nanny – it just made me adore, love and appreciate Londy all the more.
I had an on-call nanny shift because their father was out of town and their mother was helping someone give birth.
5:00pm – Get the “when can you be here” text.
6:00pm – Get another text from their father stating that I won’t have a car seat, but that’s okay because he just drove the two year old, King, to the airport and back without one. So I’ll be fine driving him the five minutes to my house for Family Dinner Potluck without one too.
6:15pm – Relieve their father’s assistant from watching them. Their father is in the music business so naturally she looks like she has just gotten off some sort of rock star photo shoot and Gav described her as, “working the whole time and not really wanting to be there.”
6:20pm – Load the car up with the kids. Beg King to be a big boy and stay in his seatbelt.
6:25pm – Arrive at my house.
6:45pm – Assure King that I can in fact find a “naughty seat” at my house too for him to spend the next five minutes in if he doesn’t stop acting up.
7:00pm – Mj assures King that she can in fact find a “naughty seat” at our house too for him to spend the next five minutes in if he doesn’t stop acting up.
7:30pm – Ten of my friends have arrived and dinner has started.
7:31pm – I pour King his first glass of peach tea.
7:50pm – I pour King his second glass of peach tea.
8:10pm – I pour King his third glass of peach tea.
8:20pm – King is now incessantly singing “Baby” by Justin Bieber.
8:22pm – My roommate Mel says, “Kingston is acting really funny.”
8:25pm – King is still singing “Baby.”
8:30pm – My friend Josh asks why Kingston is acting so weird. My friend Chels answer with, “It’s probably all of that peach tea Jessica gave him.”
8:31pm – I now remember tea is caffeinated and cannot be treated like juice.
8:32pm – Everyone sits around the table, laughing and watching King, while Mj, their old nanny scolds me.
8:40pm – King informs my roommate Shan that he is going on vacation – to the toy store.
8:45pm – King kicks my roommate Lance in the shin.
8:50pm – King punches Mel in the face.
9:00pm – While getting the kids together to leave, King asks, “Where are my schoooooosssss?” and proceeds to lie down and laterally roll to the door.
9:05pm – While strapping him into the car after grunting for thirty seconds straight he tells me while drunkenly leaning his head back, “Jessica, God is sooooo biiiiiiiig!”
9:15pm – Find out we are locked out of their house and start the very illegal trek back to my house.
9:20pm – Get back to my house and as I am getting King out of the car he leans back in the most drunken way possible and points to the sky and says, “Ohhhhhhhhh it’s soooooooooo dark out!”
9:30pm – Kids are in bed.
10:00pm – Kids are all asleep except King.
10:30pm – When I check on the kids, they’re still asleep but now King is playing with their faces.
10:45pm – I hear a faint voice coming from the room they’re in singing “Baby,” once again.
11:15pm – King is asleep and I am sitting on the couch, already mentally noting all of the things that have just happened to me and will certainly be blogged about.
7:00am – Drop the kids off at their house. Grab the little rascal’s attention by yelling, “Hey King!” In which he politely responds, “Yes Jessica?” And there we sit for a couple seconds smiling at each other. I wink at him, knowing that when he tries to wink back it will actually be the equivalent to what appears as a painful blink. It happens, exactly how I thought. We all say our goodbyes and I drive away in pure bliss.
Again, I am a nanny, here in Florida. I find that the families that require nannies are headed up by two really rad, influential people. Or families with lazy moms paired with expendable incomes. But in my case, thankfully, it has been the rad, influential type. I have been amused, loved, entertained and annoyed very well by the cumulative of now seven kids, coming from three different families, but never have I been, in just a little over a month’s time, so challenged.
His name is Gav, he is nine and this is why he does not like me:
1. His previous nanny was my best friend Mj. Mj is a babe. She has thick, blonde, awesome, wavy hair that goes to the middle of her back, a booty like Beyonce and a killer smile. This combo would make any nine year old not only develop a crush but perpetuate an attitude of complete bummerness when realizing that Mj is being replaced by a girl like me. “A girl like me” is a girl: with a collection of “nanny shirts,” which are simply an array of 5 button up, collared shirts, mostly flannels, that get switched out day to day (sometimes I’ll wear a t-shirt if it is hot). A girl that feels no need to ever wear makeup to a nanny shift. And a girl that waits till after the shift is over, when the party really starts, to wash her hair.
This by no means constructs an environment where Gav’s crush could simply hop from one nanny to the other.
2. One time I heard him singing along to a top 40’s song on the radio. So the next day when I picked him up at school and it was playing, I blasted the volume and rolled down the windows and yelled, “Hey Gav, get in! It’s your favorite song!” He reluctantly approached the car and I watched as his expression changed. He got in, sunk low into the seat and said, “This isn’t my favorite song. This is so embarrassing.” Meanwhile his younger siblings are giggling in the back and I finally notice the audience of other nine year old boys waiting for their mothers.
I would say oops, but it was all pretty much intentional.
3. I am encouraged by his mother to encourage him to do his chores well. Sometimes this means doing them twice.
With that said, “Chore Day” can also be called, “Nanny I Hate You Day.”
This was also the day that he spilled orange juice on his homework, twice. So when I tried to cheer him up, I by default went into philosophical Jessica mode and said, “One day you won’t be able to pay your bills, finish all of your college homework and a girl will just have broken your heart and you’ll look back on this moment and think that wasn’t so bad after all,” in which he responded by rolling his eyes and walking away.
4. One afternoon I discovered we could play basketball together on the neighbor’s hoop. This is something Mj could never give him. I was schooling him at one on one and had won him over finally, smiles and all. Except for when he charged the net and tripped over my foot, fell on his elbow, now had a gaping wound, borderline crying and rolling on the cement.
After some counseling sessions with Mj and a couple more games of one on one, I think, he likes me now.
San Diego, CA
Tomorrow I am driving across the country with Mj, Madi, and Danielle. I will be living in Orlando for the next five months, then onto Chicago for the summer and lastly, a college town somewhere in the Northeast for the Fall (all is subject to change).
I am hoping this will make for exciting blogging. However, I am not hoping for this blog to turn into some sad attempt to be the more poorly written Christian version of Eat. Pray. Love. At that I would fail miserably. My locations are less exotic and I will get laid about a 100% less than she does.
I will miss my friends. I will miss my stellar community. I will miss my family. I will also miss my boss lady Jen and her family – so here is a glimpse of a day at work with them.
Every Thursday I take E to swim class. And one time, seriously one time I forgot a change of underwear in which she refers to as, “nice warm panties,” and she had to go commando. So now every time I walk into the house on Thursdays she has a pair of nice warm panties in her hand in fear that I will forget again.
“E honey, are you ever going to forgive me for forgetting your panties? I’ll never do it again!”
Later that day after swim class I am looking in my bag and realize I have forgotten something – the towel. Even worse. I take E into the bathroom to break the news to her. “Look E, your nice warm panties!” I say as I am slyly grabbing for a roll of paper towels on the sink. She smiles at the sight of them.
“I’m told (cold). I’m told.” She replies.
I begin patting her down with paper towels as if I don’t have to explain myself to her. It was a nice try.
“What are dose (those)? What are you doing?” she begins crying.
“It’s okay, E. They’re just like the paper towels at home. I’m so sorry I forgot your towel. Stand under this. This will make you warm.” I turn on the hand dryer and place her under. Her OCD is now fully inflamed and she is completely mortified.
“You always do dis (this), nanny. You forget eberyding (everything)!”
I calm her down, and she, her younger brother and I head to the car. Sometimes, when in the car, it takes me a long time to figure out what I want to listen to. So if the kids have to wait longer than a minute they begin yelling, “Doe (go)! Doe! Doe!”
Usually I ignore it, but this day was different. “Tell me to doe one more time and I’ll leave you both here, at this pool, and you’ll have to turn into mer-people just to survive.”
“Mer-people?” She askes.
“A mermaid.” I reply.
“I don’t want to be a mermaid; I want to be a dolphin!”
We arrive at the park after I finally get the car “doe-ing,” and go to get the kids out.
“E, why can’t you just keep your shoes on while you’re in the car? Look, your two year old brother still has his shoes on.”
“Somedimes nanny, you just need to give your shoes a rest.”
Somewhere on the southern coast of California is a park, right on the beach, where snow cones are abundant, and not a single bad looking person exists. It’s ridiculous. This is where I like to take the kids. And this is also where E has been brutally attacked by a seagull while eating snacks on two different occasions. So we all kind of go into defense mode when I bring the snacks out. Sure enough a seagull swoops down at her, heading straight for her banana – which she aborts before he makes contact. Impressed by her reflexes but bummed about the barely eaten, fallen banana in which she refers and says, “You can have the rest, nanny.”
“Oh thank you!” I reply to her utter, life-changing generosity. Yet I still shamelessly break off the sandy part and scarf the rest just as she must have predicted I would.
Later that day, I begin to break the news to her about leaving and no longer being her nanny. “So E, you know when Nina (her all-time favorite nanny) used to be your nanny? And then she moved and I became your new nanny? Well, I am leaving, just like Nina did.”
“E? Do you get it? I’m leaving.”
Her face contemplates this for a second. “Ohhhh! Does that mean Nina is coming back den?!!!!!!!”
“Thanks E.” I reply.
Later I ask Jen to explain it to her.
“Honey, your nanny is leaving and you’re never going to see her again.” Boss Lady dramatizes.
“Yes honey?” Jen gears up with an explanatory tone to her voice.
“Can I play with my iPad right now?”
“Oh my gosh!” I yell. Jen is cracking up.
Cheers to new adventures.
San Diego, CA
I have a boss lady. Her name is Jen. For about the last couple of years, Jen has been one of the most influential kicks in the butt of my life. There is no topic relevant to me that she is unwilling or unable to give advice on. Period. The woman is unstoppable. Mother of three under the age of four, MBA, ball-buster at a defense consulting company, wife to deployed Navy doctor and freelance psychologist to the five nannies (all of which are my friends) that she has employed over the last few years.
Jen is cruelly intolerant. Her favorite word is “unacceptable.” But, she fears God and loves people. Brushing up against this a few times a week truly puts my life as a twenty something into perspective – total suckage. My goals, my relationships, my treatment of people, my education, my friends, my view of God, my everything is totally exposed and left questioned – is this your best? Assiduously asking, are you functioning at the absolute superlative God intended?
This can be difficult to stomach. Yes it hurts. But I love it. Who knew showing up to work and talking to your boss in between Excel spread sheets would be the most cutting-edge discipleship I have ever encountered.
“Impact just promoted me to be a mentor. I have to take a class every week on how to be a mentor as well as memorize 500 verses of the Bible. Isn’t that sweet?”
“Yeah.” She replies with a sigh of don’t give a crap.
“This is such a great opportunity! I’m going to learn so much!”
“You should go to school and become a psychologist, not a mentor at some discipleship school that gives a 22 year-old access to tell other adults what to do.”
Almost every move I make she deems specious. This may seem terrible, but it is conversations like these that have reminded me how insignificant I truly am (which can be hard to swallow for most twenty somethings) in the scope of the world and has also pushed me back into school.
Though Jen is remarkably wise and undeniably intelligent – there is one quality that lacks – a sense of any kind of direction.
Whenever Jen’s eldest child is acting up she will threaten to sell her to Mexicans. I love this joke. The inference to human trafficking is so morbid that I think it is just brilliant. When the timing is right, I’ll throw the joke around too. The three of us were in the car and her daughter began acting up. “Hey E,” I said, “you see those hills over there?”
“Yes.” She replied
“Well, that’s Mexico. And if you keep acting like that, I’m going to sell you to some Mexicans.”
“Noooo!” she yelled, “Nooooo!”
“Well, okay then,” I affirmed with a playful tone, “you better cut it out.”
Silence fell on the car and I saw Jen shift in her seat. A few moments passed and then Boss Lady asked, “Is that really Mexico?”
Readers please note: Yes, I live in San Diego. Yes, from some parts of the county you can see Mexican hills. But we were at least thirty miles from the border and in fact, in one of the richest zip codes in the country.
“Did you just ask me if that is Mexico?” I asked. “Are you seriously serious?”
“Well I don’t know! You know I have no sense of direction!” She beckoned back most embarrassed.
“Jen, not only is that not Mexico, that house right there on that hill is probably worth millions of dollars. Mexico? Mexico!? Oh my gosh!”
I may not have my Ph.D. in psychology quite yet, but at least I know where Mexico is.