Thursday, January 08, 2009

The Nanny

So, after much anxiety-fueled internal debate, I finally relented and agreed to get a part-time nanny for Julia. It's such an easy decision for so many people, and why shouldn't it be? As strange as it is to believe, there are people, other than oneself, that are perfectly capable of taking good care of one's children, and more so, doing a great job of it. But no, I had to play over every possible worst-case scenario in my head, practically giving myself nightmares and full-blown anxiety, before I finally calmed the hell down and saw sense.

None of this was helped by my mother who is fond of relaying things she has seen on shows like Oprah and Dr Phil, that involve hidden cameras and evil nannies dragging children around by their hair. While I don't doubt that things like this happen, I do wonder why, if you have any doubt at all about the person that is going to take care of your children, even going so far as to install hidden cameras, you would entrust them with your children in the first place? But that's by the by.

Also, I find it surprising that my mother is so paranoid about this sort of thing. I mean, this is the same person that delivered me to Mrs Hall (my home room teacher) on my first ever day of school (aged five) saying, 'This is Lucille, feel free to smack her if she is naughty.' Again, I need to remind you that my mother thinks everyone sees the world the same way that she does, so it wouldn't even occur to her that my teacher may have taken this as license to beat the crap out of me. A smack, in her opinion, is a whack across the bottom with the flat of the hand right? I mean, surely everyone knows this?

Fortunately, or maybe unfortunately as you will discover, Mrs Hall didn't need to do any smacking or beating the crap out of anyone. She had a secret weapon that soon meant my entire class was doing their utmost to avoid any kind of close-encounter confrontation with her. You see, Mrs Hall suffered from a case of lethal halitosis. It smelt as though some long suffering gravely ill creature had crawled into the cave that was her mouth, to die a very slow death in there. Its corpse gradually decomposing over time amidst her brownish neglected dental wreckage.

I'm not kidding. Even at the age of five I was aware that something was very very wrong there, and I'd often suffer through my letters with a broken pencil, or some boy at my table being obnoxious, in silence. Anything, anything, but calling her over and being engulfed by that breath. Good god, surely there were breath mints in those days?

I love being with Julia - we do stuff, we have our little coffee shop thing going, we play, we read, we hang out. But in and among all of this, I don't really have any time for myself to do things that I need to do. I get up at 7am, sometimes 6am with her, and it's all guns ablaze until 7pm when she goes to sleep at night. So aside from a couple of naps during the day (one of which is usually en route from an outing), time I use to shower, dress, maybe send an email or two, I'm not really in a position to do much. This is compounded by the fact that she is toddling now, so I can't just let her play on her own or watch television. I have to watch her all the time because she's into everything, has no real concept of danger, and she's not yet 100% steady on her feet.

She's far too young for daycare. I'm saying this as someone who knows my child - her capacity for the company of other children (around 45 minutes), her need for physical contact and comfort, her enjoyment of a quite space to play uninterrupted etc, rather than having an opinion on what the right age per se is for enrolling ones children in daycare. I'm also well aware that for many people this happens earlier than they would ordinarily choose due to circumstances of having to get back to work etc.

So my mother's voice in my head, chiming in with my own paranoid concerns aside, we've found someone we've very fond of, who is experienced, calm, and kind, and I think she's going to be a very good nanny to Julia and a contributor to my continued sanity.

I'm looking forward to having four hours a day where I have an extra pair of hands at my disposal. I can write, go to the loo, make an uninterrupted personal phone call, sort out my taxes, pop out for a haircut - you know the kinds of things you do at work - and still be around for my daughter should she need me.

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