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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