On the first day she came to babysit, my son was in the middle of a crying jag -- a jag that had lasted about eight months straight. He cried all day; incessantly, unceasingly, and interminably. My biggest fear was that the nanny would shake him, or do something rash, just to get him to pipe down. With a casual air, she gently took Jake in her arms and shooed me off to go about my day.
Ready to pounce on her first errant move, I nonchalantly peeked in from the door and watched as she rocked him slowly in the chair, totally unfazed by his wailing. She continued this for some time until, from another room, I sensed a palpable change in the air. Silence. Silence was a sound I had been deprived of for eight months. I ran in to see what she had done - surely it was something horrible. But, alas, the only thing she had done was completely calm him. How dare she come in and do in one hour what I had been working on for almost a year? I should have fired her then and there. But I let it slide.
She was amazing. She spent hours with him on playgrounds and at parks. She chased him around the apartment and tickled him in the halls. She had boundless energy and no meetings, conference calls, or other work-related responsibilities to sap her zest.
They spent so much time together that her way of doing things seemed like the only way. When I gave my son baths, he would say, "Momma, you're doin' it wrong." He also informed me that I put on band-aids wrong. I rocked at the wrong speed. I even sang my ABC's incorrectly, a feat that I thought was universal. I began to resent this Nanny person and her special Trinidadian ABC's. I also reveled in the moments that my son ran into my arms, or screamed "Mommy!" at the sound of my key in the door. I was having a tug of war with the person my family needed most and my son was the rope.
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