My Nanny McPhee Moment

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I am going to preface this post by explaining my title. Nanny McPhee is a movie about a bunch of unruly children who get a nanny. She teaches them “lessons” about patience, appreciation, being courteous, respecting authority etc throughout the movie without them knowing it. After her five lessons are unknowingly put into action, she disappears.  I was beginning to think I had not made an impact like this on the children I had been watching for nine months but on my last day I was proven wrong, in a very good way.

Wednesday was my last day with the kids I have been watching since last fall. While it may not seem like a long time, I have grown so attached to this family, it was VERY hard to say goodbye. The kids and I have been dreading it for the last month. But I didn’t want to go out on a bad or sad note so we planned the most super awesome week together.

Tuesday we went to Pinkberry, our favorite yogurt hangout. The kids love this place! After our healthy treat we went home for a night of relaxing while watching a movie.

Wednesday came. As usual I woke up at 4 am, got to work at 6 am.. but to my surprise, I-yo answered the door! Dressed and ALL! As I walked in she gave me a BIG hug and told me lunches were already packed, she was dressed, her room was clean and her horseback riding clothes were ready to go! Jare Bear came down shortly after, already dressed and with his riding gear on. They walked me into the kitchen where a bag was sitting by my chair. I handed them their gifts (a picture frame with pictures of us together and a special note to remember me by) and opened mine. They had gone to Starbucks (my favorite mid day hangout and gotten my favorite VIA drinks, a mug and gift card along with the sweetest card and pictures 🙂 Whew..keep it together man!

Lesson 1: Responsibility for oneself

Lesson 2: Appreciation for those around you

After I said my goodbyes to MomBoss, (who was working late and I wouldn’t see again) the kids and I started playing. We turned on a movie, played games and talked about where I was going and why.

I dropped them off at school at their usual time, said “goodbye, have a great day!” like I had every day for the past nine months.. but just as Jare Bear got out of the car he turned around and said “Miss Kelsey, this is the last time you will ever drop us off at school… Have a good day.” (tear jerker instance #2)

Lesson 3: Kindness and Well Wishing

I went back to school mid day to watch Jare Bear get his much earned Honor Roll award. PROUD NANNY IN THE HOUSE! He was so excited and I was honored to get to see him earn this accomplishment. He started spring semester with not so great grades but pulled through and worked hard. AMAZING what effort and hard work add up too!

Lesson 4: Hard work, dedication, self control

The end of school was fast approaching so I left a little early to get in the front of the pick up line.  The kids raced out and hurriedly got in the car. We were off to the races, well.. the ranch! It seemed like forever before we got there but we did. I made a call to the owner of the ranch asking specifically for a white horse for I-yo (who LOVES white horses)! Pattie pulled through and the kids got to ride Sophie, a gentle white mare with soft eyes and gentle manor.100_1429

I-yo was first. My little cowgirl was fearless in the arena, so much so that she got to ride solo. Around she went, gliding effortlessly. Jare Bear was next. He was a little nervous at the beginning but quickly picked up the hang of things. The kids had fun playing with Yum Yum the donkey, Ernie and Hershey the pigs, Mack the cow who thought he was a dog, and the farm dog Jake. After their lessons, the kiddos got to brush down and feed Sophie her favorite treat, carrots!

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The ride home was bittersweet, happy from the fun day we had experienced together but knowing it was almost over at the same time. Not even a Happy Meal could help the ride home. Before we got out of the car I-yo said something she has never said before on her own. “Thank you Miss Kelsey. Not just for today, which was totally awesome, but for everything you have done for Jare Bear and me.” (OK if I wasn’t crying before this sent me over the edge..composure… whew!)

Lesson 5: Appreciation, Respect, Gratitude

The kids said goodbye and raced upstairs to change while I talked to DadBoss. Little did I know they had raced off to cry without me seeing them. Eventually Jare Bear came back down with red puffy eyes, asking me not to go. (ahh these kids and their ability to make a grown woman cry…which I guess isn’t that hard since we are pretty much the most emotional beings on the Earth..regardless, I got choked up yet again)

I really hope I stay in touch with this family for a long time. They are forever a part of my life.

In the words of Nanny McPhee:

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Big News!!

 

images (57)I blogged a few days ago about how excited I was to have been contacted by the Nanny Magazine and how the kids I watched were as excited if not more. This morning while eating breakfast Jay-who now wants his alias to be Jar-Bear (pronounced jAre bear)- asked if he could help me with my blog. I thought WHAT A GREAT IDEA! I’ve seen blogs with mom’s perspectives and nanny perspectives but never a kid perspective. He even took it one step further by picking out names for his entries and topics. So here it goes, I am pleased to announce my guest blog writer, Jar Bear’s, upcoming topics!

Monday Munchies: A look at his favorite after school snacks

Tuesday Tips: His perspective on Babysitters and Nannies, and what we could do better

Wacky Activity Wednesday: Activities, Games and places to go that he recommends or wants to try out

Thursday Treats: A review on cookies, cakes and other tasty treats

Fun Day Friday: Jokes, stories and other random fun stuff!

Can you believe a 10 year old came up with that?? All by himself! I am so proud of him and happy we can share a love of story telling and writing.

Happy Day!

~Proud Nanny 🙂

 

 

Being Billingual

I check popular childcare job postings on a pretty regular basis and I am finding more and more that parents are looking for bilingual nannies. The family I work for now did not have that as a requirement when I was hired but I have to say, knowing Spanish has been a lifesaver since I work in an area with a high Spanish population.

A while back I had a conversation with Jay, the 10 year old I watch. He came home saying a phrase that took me by surprise. Jay has been bullied in the past but this really hit hard. He said some boys at school kept repeating “Tu es feo y estupido.” “Espero que morir” y “ir al infierno” to him. For those of you who don’t speak Spanish the translation is this: “You are ugly and stupid.” “I hope you die” and “go to hell”. People, these are elementary school kids…

My heart broke.

I am by no means bilingual but I do have 5 years of Spanish classes under my belt.  (I still sound ridiculously white and can not roll my rrr’s)..regardless I know enough to ask questions and comprehend when someone is being rude. I told Jay never to repeat what they said but didn’t translate for him. I talked with the mom, who emailed the teacher and called the principal.

The worst part was knowing Jay didn’t understand what they were saying. He thought they were welcoming them into their group.. Kids can be so hurtful.

Now Jay is obsessed with Spanish culture, language, money and people. He wants to travel to Mexico when he is older and speak the language. I am conflicted with teaching him the basics of Spanish since I know I might be adding fuel to his burning passion to learn but I am an advocate for children learning multiple languages. It has been shown to improve cognition and knowledge as well as compassion and the ability to communicate with people around the world; all which are important in our ever changing, more globally connected world.

When asked or as a reward for getting his homework done quickly, I will translate certain words like homework-la tarea,  boy-el nino or good job-bueno! or exelente!

I think it is a good compromise to my dilemma. What do you think? Share your stories and comments!

An Alternative to Video Games

 

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Ok, it might sound like I am anti-technology but I do allow the kids that I watch some time on the computer, tv an with video games. I just think there are other, more stimulating, activities for children to do.

Recently, I was talking to a fellow blogger about what to do since the little boy she watches has become consumed with video games. My response: Comic books.

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Not only does it promote reading and imagination, but it allows kids to still get their adventure and favorite character fix. Then I was asked what kind of comics to buy for an elementary school kid. Well, lets face it, kids go through lots of stages. Jay, one of the kids I watch, has gone through an animal, zombie, soldier, and superhero stage since I’ve been his nanny. BUT, there are comic books for everyone! I am personally a fan of the classic Superman and Batman series but for younger kids here is a list of 10 Great Comic Books for Children Under 12 by GEEKGIRLCON.COM.

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What comic books do your kids read? What was your favorite growing up? Let me know 🙂

Happy Thursday!

 

 

When to Call the Parents

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I have been babysitting and nannying for a little over seven years. I have never had to call the parent’s to come home early. I guess I thought that I could handle any situation and I didn’t want to ruin a date night or worry a parent. But last night changed that. I watch Oliver, 3, and his sister Natalie, 5, every Thursday night. They are the best behaved kids I have ever watched. But recently, Natalie has entered the bossy stage and Oliver has entered the “I want it now/my way or the highway” stage..which combined is not good.

I arrived after dinner when the kids were beginning to settle down from a long day. We played Doctor, Jump rope, hula hoop and with blocks. We watched their favorite bedtime show, then it was off to the bath tub for “scuba time”. The kids didn’t have their listening ears on and began jumping and splashing around more than what was safe. After three warnings, they had to get out. Natalie went to her room to get her pajamas on but Oliver continued being disobedient. He sprawled out on the floor naked in protest about going to get his pajamas on and going to bed. I picked him up and escorted him to his room where he stood crying. He slammed the door in my face, refusing to get his pajamas on. I left him there to calm down while I helped Natalie get ready for bed. When I went back to his room, he ran for his closet and barricaded himself inside..still screaming bloody murder, saying I was the “baddest babysitter ever” and that I was “a mean liar for making him go to his room” . He didn’t want to listen or follow my rules so his mother was called in. She had warned me that he had been moody, but I had never seen him like this.

When his mother arrived, she had difficulty calming him down. He was mad that 1)scuba time was cut short, 2)that I asked him to put his p.j’s on and 3) that he had to do something he didn’t want! The mom finally got him to bed after they talked about following the rules and doing things that grown ups ask even if you don’t want too.

Later that night, the mom told me that he was not grasping the idea of patience and obedience very well. Combined with his bible study lesson on lying..he was one confused little boy.

I am happy to say, Oliver and I are back on good terms and he hasn’t been a problem since.

Where am I going with this??

Sometimes it is ok to call parents. Small children can get very worked up with a change in routine or change in parenting style. In this case, there is nothing you can do.

TOP 5 TIMES TO ASK PARENTS TO COME HOME:

1) EMERGENCY-fire, injury, break in etc

2) ILLNESS- if a child gets sick on your watch, call parents to let them know. They may want to come home to administer medicine

3) MELTDOWNS: kids will cry but if they cannot calm down, parent’s need to be called

4) UNCOMFORTABLE SITUATIONS: If the child threatens you or themselves, or if you feel uneasy at any time

5) EXCESSIVE/UNCONTROLLABLE BAD BEHAVIOR

Talkin’ about tough stuff

I had a hard time writing yesterday because I was glued to the tv, and my heart was aching for the people who suffered at the Boston Marathon. I am glad to have had yesterday off from nannying but it got me thinking, how would I have reacted when the kids got in the car scared and confused? What would I say to explain it? How do you comfort a child when such a senseless and random act of violence happens? I figured my readers were probably in the same boat. To be honest, I have only had to deal with having sad conversations like this once, after the Newtown school shootings. So I am saying up front, if you have tips or similar stories, please comment.

The day of the Newtown shooting started like any other. The kids got up and ready for school. We left at the same time. The kids got out of the car with a smile…

But when they got back in the car after school, I could tell they knew something was wrong.

“How was your day?” I asked.

Tip 1: Stay positive and don’t bring the subject up until they ask

“eh..” they reply. THEY ALWAYS TELL ME about math class and art projects.

We sat in silence for half the ride home.

“Miss Kelsey? why didn’t we go on recess today and why was Ms. Morgan so sad?” Jo Jo asked.

Now, the big answer…how do you talk to an eight and ten year old about the massacre for children about their age?

Tip 2: Answer their questions honestly but don’t go into gruesome details

“well hun, you didn’t go to recess because the teachers just wanted to make sure you were protected. Kind of like one of those drills you guys do. Ms. Morgan was sad because this morning a bad guy went to a school in Connecticut and hurt a lot of little kids. It happened a long ways away and your school is super safe.”

“Derek said 50 kids were killed” Jay piped in.

“No numbers have been released and it is not good to spread rumors. You mom will have more information when she gets home. So while we wait.. who wants PINKBERRY!”

Tip 3: Be comforting, allow for questions and offer an alternative subject or activity 

As a nanny we can be faced with some pretty tough stuff. Go with your gut and explain what you can. Be an open line of communication and offer lots of hugs.

Pray for Boston and all those affected.