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.