Friday, June 13, 2014

Musings of a Pragmatic Nanny

"You be Mary Poppins and I'll be Jane. Michael is living in the green house across the street."
"Ok, Jane. What do you want to do now?"
"Well, we have to clean our room and we have to snap fingers and sing A Spoon Full of Sugar."

And so our day begins.
I start singing the infamous A Spoon Full of Sugar, while snapping the fingers of my right hand, holding 'Lil Sis on my left hip and tossing toys in the toy basket with each snap.
"Pretend sissy isn't here because she's too little to be Michael."

Sure, that'll be easy.

I can do this for hours. I know I can.
I'm confident. Pragmatic. I know that this is the kind of thing the child needs.
I know imaginative play is developmentally correct and healthy. She's happy. And when she's happy, I'm happy.  Yet, there comes a point when it just becomes slightly annoying. It's when I mess up and don't change characters fast enough for her liking. Granted, I do my best. But I screw up sometimes and she gets quite irritated with me!

"No, Valerie! You aren't Mary any more!"
"I'm not?"
"No. Valerie, don't you know? You're now Valerie and I need to go poop and you have to wipe me." 

I presume Mary Poppins is too high-class to wipes asses. I presume she also keeps her composure.

I need to get with the program. I suppose I've struggled all my life with what's reality and what's fantasy...
She's in the zone:
"Ok. Ok. Valerie. Now, I'm Chrissy and you're Pooh."
"Sounds good. I love honey! Where's my pot of honey?"
"No. No. You can't eat honey now. We are going on an expedition right now."
"Ok. Where are we going?"
"Well, we're going across the street to visit Michael."

Seems she has pint-size amount of "fantasy confusion." Mary Poppins meets Winnie Pooh is totally normal for her and I am left standing at the peripheral asking, "WTF?"

And then the fantasy, as all good fantasies do, comes to a screeching halt when this one awakens:

"If she thinks she can contain me in this plastic prison, she's got another thing coming."

The laundry basket serves many purposes for a pragmatic nanny. 'Lil Sis actually likes it, to a point, and she remains entertained for awhile. I like the fact that there's no real escape route either, however, there will be in due time.

'Lil Sis and I made some breakthroughs this week. She's giving me an inch or two and I'm catching glimpses of her gingerly beauty. The meltdowns are less. The smiles are more. Do I dare say we might be bonding a bit?

"Thanks for the bags under my eyes, friend."    "Don't mention it."

It's a love thing in the making. I know it is. And now both The Cousin and I have to make those certain adjustments. The brutal, cruel fact is, The Cousin has to share Mary Poppins each week and this is cause for her to act out. She's become a hint more bossy and clingy and uses baby talk to get my attention. You parentals are shaking your heads in agreement. You understand. But all the baby talk, all the bossiness, all the "I can't be in two places at once, girls, but I know I have to" is beginning to take a toll on the nanny! And...
'Lil Sis is starting to talk! Soon she'll be barking out the orders at me as well.
Here's some of her "first barks":

They're opposite birds, these two.  One is the dreamer, the artist, the reader of great works, the author. The other, the nature kid, (give her a good walk and some fresh air over a stuffed toy or book any day), the observer, the voice of contentment and discontentment, the new kid on the block.

The artist:

"Valerie! We made orange from yellow and red!"

"This is my pink M."

The dreamer:

"How many bites of my sandwich before I get my favorite thing: yogurt chips?"

Dreaming with Leo (who used to be Sweet Pea)
The nature kid:

"Ahhhh! The great outdoors!"

"Life is good."
The voice of content and discontent:

"Ok. What is this green crap you're shoveling in?"

A recent quote by a famous dad has me wishing I had said it myself. But the ticket is remaining calm, cool, skilled and yes, pragmatic, when the venue becomes a hellish frat house.

“Having children is like living in a frat house -- nobody sleeps, everything's broken, and there's a lot of throwing up.”

~tpg (aka Mary)