Monday, June 15, 2015

Summer Days Driftin' Away

I started my position as a nanny today. I'm sort of a nanny. The family already has a nanny. She's an older lady, classic in every way one might picture except that she does not have a British accent. I know my place in the pecking order around here. She's the real nanny. i understand that when the mother is asleep, Nanny Helen is in charge. I do what she allows me to do.

i'm trying to make it very clear that I have great respect for her expertise and  I understand that her combined years of experience so far exceed in importance the little relatively little time I've spent babysitting plus my incredibly significant one year of medical school [sarcasm font]. I know that the year i spent in medical school gives me the same qualifications that any 16-year-old babysitter with infant an Infant CPR/ First Aid Training Course from the YMCA or Red Cross has. Right now I'm trying to stay out of Nanny Helen's way and to avoid stepping on her toes.

My uncle told me that he would speak to the two of us together so it would be clear to her that I am aware that we all know she is the one in charge and that I am the backup. i am there to learn from her and to allow Jillian to relax a bit because Jillian knows the baby is very comfortable with me.  The nanny hasn't expressly forbidden me to pick the baby up, but I can see her cringe each time I do. So instead, I sit down on the floor and have him crawl or toddle to me. That doesn't seem to make her nearly so nervous. At 7 1/2 months, he is taking up to eight or so steps away from furniture independently before losing his balance. he then crawls over to a person or piece of furniture, pulls himself up, and starts it over again. He seems to be rather active as babies go. He's a big boy for having been a preemie, too. He's already sixteen pounds - mostly tall but with that toddler belly still.

The nanny is in her sixties, and I think I seem younger to her than I am. She thinks taking care of babies is serious business, which it is, but babies should have fun, too. She does play with Andrew. I think she just isn't yet convinced I should be playing with him.

Even Jillian was intimidated by Nanny Helen at first, but Jillian's husband was able to convince Jillian that she is the baby's mother and as such is in charge and the one who calls the shots.  Nanny Helen doesn't appear to think she should be telling Jillian how to raise her own baby, so I suspect the intimidation factor existed only in Jillian's mind.

I haven't changed the baby's diaper yet. The next time he needs a change I will suggest that I observe so that I can learn the proper technique.  I know how to change a freaking diaper, but I will play the game and earn this woman's trust. The kid is circumcised (TMI, I know) so changing his flipping diaper isn't exactly rocket science.

Jillian asked me to make a sandwich for her for lunch. I asked Nanny Helen if it was OK before I did it. The nanny said of course I should prepare anything within reason that Jillian asks me to prepare if I know how to make it, and if I don't I should ask her. She said that if Jillian starts asking me for cocaine or medical marijuana, I probably should tell her, but otherwise, give the pregnant woman whatever she feels like eating. 

I asked the Nanny if she wanted a sandwich, too, while I was making one for Jillian.  She surprised me by saying yes. I made grilled cheese sandwiches for all three of us. The Nanny said a few bites would be good for Andrew, so I cut a wedge of my sandwich into tiny bites for Andrew and put him in his high chair in his mommy's room so that we could all have lunch in there with her. Nanny Helen has a plastic drop cloth she spreads under Andrew's high chair so he won't make a mess of Jillian's carpet when he eats.

Andrew is napping now, as is Jillian. I have books to read when Jillian and the baby are napping. Andrew's nursery has a large doorway into Jillian's room, which she keeps open when he naps. The new baby's room also attaches to Andrew's room and Jillian's room, and the new baby's room can be accessed from the hall as well. It was a really nice architectural addition. My room is two doors down the hall. Nanny Helen has a room so that she can rest when the baby rests if she gets tired, but I haven't ever seen her look tired. She probably never sleeps. Mostly she doesn't stay here at night, although she is prepared to if necessary when the new baby comes.

There is not much housekeeping for either Nanny Helen or I to do other than light loads of dishes and a bit of Andrew's laundry, as Jillian's mom has a housekeeping service coming in five days a week. All of Andrew's clothing is folded perfectly or is hanging neatly in his closet. 

Jillian is a bit superstitious, but is beginning to ease up and to put a few clothing items for the new baby into her room. The new baby is technically due in ten weeks but will be lucky to go another three to four weeks.  Jillian is hoping really hard for four more weeks. That would probably still give the new baby a week or so in the NICU.

Andrew is not going to be a happy camper when the new baby is carried through the door into the house and he realizes she's not going anywhere anytime soon. Every child who isn't a youngest or only kid in a family has gone through it. Andrew will get through it, too.  I hope the baby comes home soon enough that I'm still here to pay attention to him when that time comes. There are numerous other relatives, but I can be his special friend while others go totally gaga over the new baby. 

Even though we have almost daily housekeeping, I'm going to Swiffer mop the kitchen and dining room floor. A floor can never be too clean for a baby, and the Swiffer won't wake the sleepers. Nanny Helen uses dry pads and a vinegar/baking soda cleaning solutions, so that is what I will use. Perhaps I will earn a few brownie points. Housekeeping service vacuums the floors daily.


  1. I remember those baby days ... I miss them. Lately, I've been of the opinion that babies are easier to care for than children. I might just be delusional because I am not living with an infant at the moment. I did a lot of baby care when Benjamin was born. My mom went back to work when he was 3 months, and my Nana began watching him. And then my grandfather died suddenly when Ben was 4 months and my Nana needed some more help, and since I was there with her doing school, it made sense for me to help. It was also easier for my mom and step-dad to leave Ben with me when there was a sporting event for one of the other kids. He was a pretty easy baby. Most of the time he was content to sit in his bouncy seat and watch what was going on around him.

    I've offered to watch my pseudo- nephew, Mason for my step- sister if she wants to run to the grocery store for an hour without an infant dangling off of her. I should send you a picture. He's adorable.

    Andrew is a very early walker. Ben didn't start until after he was a year. I was the early walker in my family. I started when I was around Andrew's age. I didn't quite understand the concept, I am told. My Nana said that I smacked my head on furniture a lot. I remember once Ben hit the corner of the wall and he got a nice purple welt from the impact, but he had always had good neck control. We never went through the teeny baby phase with Ben, he was 11 lbs 3 oz at birth. He came out practically a toddler.

    Best of luck to Scott and Jillian with Baby #2. One of my pseudo-relatives (my Aunt April's sister in law) is due to have # 8 at some point this month. Like my Aunt April, she has 6 little girls and a little boy, and they are anticipating baby boy #2. Her oldest is 27 (she had her as a teenager) and is now a cloistered nun in Minnesota.

    1. I really would love to see a picture of baby Mason. if Scott and Jillian will get a little less paranoid, I'll send through email a picture of baby Andrew as well.

      The only thing that keeps me out of pediatrics as a specialty is that to do your job properly, you do things that cause pain to the baby or child. i would not want to face that on a daily basis. A sub=specialty in pediatric surgery might not be too awful, as you don't hurt the baby a great deal.

  2. You'll have Nanny Helen won over in no time. Cool sneakers!

    1. I think I'm already making major progress with Nanny Helen. I was helping the baby to play with his plastic bowling set, and she commented that she wished more people my age understood how much more beneficial that sort of activity was for a baby that was watching TV or using technological gadgets, as she calls them. She wants me to make lunch because she likes eating things she didn't have to prepare even if it's something simple. She makes dinner for Scott and Jillian three nights a week. The other two nights Jillian's mom brings dinner over, and she brings it for Nanny Helen as well. I make it a point to wash the dishes from dinner prep before she gets a chance, which she seemed to appreciate last night.

  3. It sounds like you are the assistant nanny. Also when you say that every child that is not the youngest or only child goes through it, you are wrong! Or maybe I come from another planet in another galaxy. I was 2 and half when my baby brother was born. I was extremely precocious ([of a child] having developed certain abilities or proclivities at an earlier age than usual).

    Apparently I had an extremely strong paternal instinct and was concerned about taking care of my little brother. So they let me take of my baby brother as much as I could. I was concerned about taking care of him since I was doing fine.

    My mother says that when I was still in the hospital, a couple of days old, my crib had a sign on it saying "keep me off of my belly." When I would lie on my belly I would try to crawl and it caused my knees to get scraped badly. Also in restaurants, people (strangers) would come up to our table and ask how I old I was since I talked like I was many years older than I was.

  4. All siblings who aren't the youngest or a twin go through it. Some just go through it much more easily than others. I would have been thrilled to have a baby brother or sister, too, but my mom didn't have the world's greatest luck with babies and was not about to try again.

  5. Children are pretty easy to take care of. It is just like a pet needs water, food and a place to defecate. I read that the difference in diapering boys and girls is that with girls you wipe toward the anus only and not away from it. Children learn from imitation, not by what you tell them.

    Children are just like you. They want to feel loved and want to have fun. They cannot have too much fun. If you went on a date, you would want to feel very loved and have a lot of fun. If you went on a date and felt hated and stressed out, that is your last date with him.

    I live next door to a single mother with an 8-year-old boy and 6 year old girl. I play with them and they like to play tag where I am always it. Once the mother was outside talking to a neighbor and the boy was riding his bike. So the girl had nothing to do. She brought out a jigsaw puzzle and we put up a table and chairs outside.

    She has a bunch of these but no one wants to put them together with her. So we did one with less than 100 pieces. Then we did another with less than 100 pieces. Then we did one with exactly 100 pieces. We had so much fun, we did the above for almost 4 hours. Towards the end, it was so dark we needed a flashlight to finish it.

    As far as her feeling loved, I gave her lots of praise while we were doing it. Also I had such a great time since people feel good when they make others feel good. The most fun things are when a child gets totally absorbed into something and forgets about everything else and is not aware of time at all. In Positive Psychology, they call it the flow experience. Also Nanny Helen would approve of this activity-- jigsaw puzzles.

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  8. I've probably changed between 100 and 200 diapers in my paid and unpaid babysitting days. i come from a huge family. The directionality issue you cited in wiping is more of an issue for baby girls than with boys, but it works. Boys are more of an issue if they're not snipped, but all the ones I've taken care of have been snipped, so it's a non-issue. i know circumcision is an issue now for those who don't have religious reasons for wanting to do it, but it simplifies a lot of things and allows little boys greater independence in caring for their own bodies at earlier ages.

  9. Yes I know that with girls you do not want stuff coming from the bunghole (I think that Bungholio comes from Beavis and Butthead) and getting into the other hole or holes.

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  11. Here is a Jewish joke. The mohel is the guy trained in doing circumcisions. So I asked a mohel how much he gets paid. He said that he gets paid $50 an hour plus tips!