Sunday, July 26, 2015

"I Did Not Love You Before"

My first full-time nanny position was with three children: a 5-year-old boy, a 2 ½-year-old boy and an 8-month-old baby girl.  I definitely had my hands full.

The oldest boy was a total chatterbox and knew every single kid in the neighborhood.  We quickly connected when we discussed whether Anakin Skywalker was a good guy or a bad guy (I'm pretty sure I lost the argument).  And winning over an infant isn't that hard.  Keep them fed, dry and cuddled, and a baby will love you.

But the toddler was another thing.  He was tall for his age, blond, and had the most expressive eyes and eyebrows I had ever seen.  And he had an immediate distrust for me.  Maybe it was because he had a pretty nasty ear infection a week after I started, or maybe it was because I had to wake him up from his nap every day so we could pick up his brother from school on time.  It also may have been something much more simpler: I wasn't Mom.

I came home nearly every day upset, and I would complain to my husband that I couldn't get a 2 ½-year-old to like me.  I started questioning whether or not I had made a horrible career mistake.  My husband tried to calm me down and kept telling me to keep trying.

I tried my best to win over the little guy, but he always gave me silent looks that said "I'm counting down the seconds 'til my parents come home."  He'd glare at me with his giant brown eyes, and barely spoke to me most days.  I kept trying to connect with him, while still maintaining my authority.  Things became minimally better each week, as I slowly wore him down and got him to trust me. 

Months later, I sat at the coffee table coloring with the boys while the baby practiced walking around us.  We were all pretty quiet while we each worked on our tasks.  But then, the now 3-year-old spoke up.

"Know what?" he said to me, looking off in the distance.  "I did not love you before."  He looked me straight in the eye.  "But I love you now."

And it's moments like that, that make being a nanny so very worth it.

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