Nobody can make you feel worse than a 4 yr old who is tired and cranky and doesn’t want to give you a hug when you’re leaving. High school bullies ain’t got NOTHIN’ on that. It’s like…you hugged me yesterday, and we played monster truck jam for an hour today, and now all of a sudden you hate me? You begin to question everything you said and did. Were you mean, somehow, and didn’t know it? You know you can be a little more matter of fact than lovey-dovey like his parents. Maybe you’re too harsh.

It’s like an existential crisis. You ask all the mom friends you have. They tell you toddlers can just be difficult. Especially ones that have been only children for 4 years before a sibling came along. They tell you not to take it personally. You start googling “ways to make a toddler like you” and you contemplate hitting up the nearest toys r us for bribes.

You know you’re being crazy but you can’t help it. This kid HAS to like you. You didn’t pretend to let him “win” at “monster truck jam” as he changed the “rules” so much you couldn’t do anything right and crawl around on popping knees pushing a tiny toy car for hours for nothing. ALSO an adult problem: You can’t afford for him to tell his parents you’re mean. If they fired you, you’d be screwed. Student loans kick your ass every month.

The baby loves you though. And you’ve single-handedly gotten her horrible exczema rash in the creases of her neck and behind her knees to go away instead of getting worse by very attentively keeping her clean and the medicated oil the doctor prescribed on her twice a day exactly.

You’re doing a good job, you know it.

But the kid wouldn’t hug you last night and now you’re stressing.

This is the anxiety of a nanny.

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The kids and I have a routine down now.

The baby goes down for her nap at approximately the same times every day, which leaves me time to do body-weight exercises so I don’t gain a large amount of weight over the winter. I bought my wedding dress to fit exactly at the shape I’m in now, without any room to gain.

When she wakes up by 11:40, she gets her runny cereal and 1 spoon of fruit mix. Her parents want her eating puree and oatmeal from a spoon by 6 months, instead of starting at 6 months. Since the mother’s entire family is wildly successful, I’m going to go ahead and assume the “helping developmental milestones along” thing works. Maybe I’ll try it when I have my own children. The baby is doing pretty well with the spoon. It helps to kind of pour it in her mouth so she swallows.

When I pick the 4 year old up from school, he nibbles his snack and then wants to go to the playroom. He’s pretty much given up on asking for TV. It’s always the same answer “mom says the TV is closed on school nights”. He’s gotten so he quotes it back to me and doesn’t argue. It’s really hard to play with him, as in like running across the playroom back and forth, when the baby is fussy as she usually gets by 4:30, and I feel bad. I know they hired me mostly for the baby, but the toddler is so sweet and I know it’s gotta be hard after 4 years as an only child. I feel for him. He often asks “why cant you just lay her down or put her in bed” and I’m like, “well..because she will be screaming and nobody will enjoy playtime at that point” He doesn’t quite understand, yet.

I try to delay another bottle til the mom gets home because I know she wants to nurse her. She doesn’t want to stop breastfeeding until 6 months, which I am also taking into consideration for when I have children. I’m learning so much from nannying. The only issue with breastfeeding is the pumping and the fact that the baby doesn’t stay full as long as they do on formula. It really is worth it to try, but I can’t say that I blame the moms who switch to formula just to get a full night’s sleep. Lack of sleep makes me cranky.

It all depends on the person, I guess, and I can’t stand the judgmental people who offer up their unwanted opinions on how a mother should raise their child. You do what works for you and keeps everyone happy and healthy. Social media makes it so everyone feels like their opinion wants to be heard and received.

No.

Opinions are like assholes, everyone’s got one…and most of the time nobody wants to see or hear it. Trust me.

 

I’ve been wrangling babies for a while. Like…for a very long time. I’m still not a mother myself, but I’ve learned that your two best friends are warm/almost hot baths and this miracle liquid called Gripe Water. Obviously warm baths are self explanatory. Everyone loves them if they have a large enough tub. I say this because I haven’t taken a bath in years because the irritation of choosing between having half my legs sticking out or my upper torso to freeze is just not worth it. I’ll stick to showers, thanks. The babes LOVE them, though.

I just went through an hour of fussy baby. I tried changing diaper, formula to supplement breastmilk, burping…NOTHING was working. She refused to calm down. She was arching, so I figured she was gassy and started patting her back. With each pat, the decibels increased to ear piercing levels. I remembered I had seen Gripe Water in the refrigerator a few days before in my search for a snack for the toddler. It was cold, but hell, it would probably still help. So I got the syringe and popped it in her mouth. She hushed long enough to taste while I started slowly pressing the plunger. Gotta give her one drop at a time or she spits stuff out. She loved it. But then she started crying again. The last screaming- fit- combat -weapon I have in my arsenal is a warm bath. I knew she was tired but I had tried to lay her down and instead of one or two hollers, she screeched loud enough to wake the dead, so that wasn’t going to work. I ran the bath. As soon as I put her in she started smiling. SUCCESS. I poured water over her for 15 minutes while she got good and happy and then applied the soap. Have you ever heard a 4 month old giggle? It is too freaking adorable.

Finally she was in a good enough mood to get her out and put the medicated oil on these rashes she has in the creases of her neck, legs and one of her armpits. Poor kid. They don’t seem to bug her but they bug the adults who see them. They LOOK painful and bright red. Two applications of the prescription-grade  exczema oil a day helps a tiny bit but it’s not an overnight cure. My opinion is that it’ll work itself out as she gets older and can hold her head up more, etc, and to just keep her comfortable and clean and keep the rashes dry and stuff. Her mom is more of a take-the-kid-to-the-doctor-every-week -and- ask- why- it’s- not- going- away- yet- type. She’s the parent. *shrug*.

Anyway, I made her a 2 oz bottle of formula and laid her in the bed after her bath. She barely managed to suck down an ounce before she passed out. So I guess, if anyone is having trouble with a fussy over-tired babe who refuses to go down for a nap, the bath and gripe water combo is your answer. She’s been sleeping soundly for 40 mins now. I’m praying this is her long nap of the day and that she wakes up happy like she normally does. 🙂

I think it’s officially been almost 7 months since I’ve seen my niece Jade. You know…the one I practically raised from Ages 1-6? Yeah, that one. The last time I saw her was a birthday party for my other sister’s kids back in June, I think. If I think on it too much, I cry. All the time. So I’ve had to shut my thoughts down, and last night I realized I’ve put up a lot of walls in my heart and in my head to keep myself from being an emotional wreck. Anytime someone asks about her, I have to say “Dani (my sister) doesn’t let me see her, and when I visit my mom’s randomly (where Dani is living til she moves again this weekend), it’s usually a weekend  and her father and stepmother have her, so I just don’t even know if she remembers me. But I can’t talk about that too much or I start getting emotional.” and they say “aww! I’m sorry. well how’s work?”

It’s just hard, when they aren’t actually your child, and of course you can’t control how their parents live. Jade is switching schools for the 7th time since she started pre-k. How is she going to be able to form bonds with children her own age? Will she end up with an attachment disorder? How upset is she going to be when she can’t go on the field trip she asked my mom about because she’s moving again. Does she know she’s moving again? Why is Dani moving where she doesn’t know anyone? There’s no family close by, so there has to be a guy she met online…or her 1 year old son’s loser father is moving with her somehow. He’s mentally unstable, so is he going to abuse Jade if she gets whiny? What about the baby? If Dani IS somehow moving alone, nothing will be kept clean..Jaxx will be stuck in his crib alone in his room while Dani sits at the computer doing her call center job.  As I was telling my fiance about Dani moving again, I started thinking about these things and I couldn’t stop the anxiety and sadness from flooding in.  I did what I normally do and redirect my thoughts toward puppies and kittens and cute things so I could fall asleep.

My family breaks my heart more than any man ever has. I’ve built myself mental and emotional walls to cope. I’m hoping those walls stay strong, because they are holding back an apocalyptic size wave of hopeless, helpless grief in the loss of the relationship I had with my niece. And while my charge naps peacefully after a car ride, I might let myself have a tiny cry just to relieve the pressure a little bit. This nanny gig isn’t to replace one baby that isn’t mine with another, but it does make me miss my niece a little bit more.

 

And it’s just really hard.

The baby is napping so Im rushed with this one. I’ll correct any grammar later.

 

Two days into my nanny gig and everything is going great. No issues with the baby, and no difficulty picking up the toddler from school. Usually at least one of the parents is home by 4, so I’m not alone the last hour of my day. The 4 year old is very independent they tell me, and he does a lot of things like getting dressed, going to the bathroom and everything on his own.

Last night I noticed him getting upset when I had to split my attention between the baby and playing with him. And then we had to come downstairs to eat the snack his father prepared for us..Samosas (which were delicious) and he wanted milk and not water. His father asked him to drink a little of the water first and then he could have some milk, and the tantrum began. I’m talking like…super sonic screeching. after a brief timeout and a talking to, dad gave in and gave him some milk. He’s a lucky kid. My grandma would have had the backhand ready and waiting on that second screech. She’d have been standing over me like “do that again. I DARE you”. WHEW.

The second tantrum was over not wanting to go to the bathroom when his mom asked him to. More screeching. I let the parents handle him and got ready to leave. As I got in my car, my headache hit full force. I was seeing double, so I closed my eyes and sat in silence for a second. It was rough. But still, kids are better than office work. I notice my fitbit is DEFINITELY recording more steps.

This morning when I got to their house, the toddler was being uncooperative again about getting ready for school. At one point, his mother was asking him to brush his teeth so I stepped in and offered to go with him. Turns out, he wanted me to do it for him. Then it hit me. With the new baby, he doesn’t get BABIED anymore. I know he’s a super independent kid, but he’s also only 4, and he knows I’m with the baby all day, and I think he’s a little jealous. So I brushed his teeth for him, and all of a sudden he was in a MUCH better mood. Got his shoes on, grabbed his stuff, and they went out the door. I am going to try to make sure the baby is good and content so I can play w him one on one today and see if that makes him a little more cooperative tonight.

Day 3 might just be the day we settle into a normal routine 🙂