It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Words to live by

My daughter Emma is working as a nanny this summer. The children are quite a handful, but she’s up for it! For their part, the children are learning that Emma is also a force to be reckoned with.

This morning I joined Emma and her charges at a local coffee shop. Charge 1 is a chatty three-year-old girl who adores pretty sundresses. She also has the wrigglesome habit of flashing her pretty panties at the world, which would be mostly cute if a) she actually wore panties every day and b) if said panties actually fit her little bottom. (The children are (supposedly) dressed when Emma arrives in the morning, but she has taken to making sure Little Miss Flasher is quite, quite dressed before they leave the house.)

While Flasher Girl waves her ankles around above her head, I am made quite, quite aware that these panties are miles and miles too big. I am far from a prude, but a flash of pudenda, no matter how juvenile, is not something I care to indulge in while sipping my latte. Nor do I want the rest of the joint being put off their respective coffees. (And we won’t even consider the slight possibility that there might be those who aren’t put off. At all.)

Before I can say a word, though, Emma has sat up straight and is looking Flasher Girl in the eye.

“Missy, you know what I said about your privates. In your bedroom, in the bathroom. NOT in a coffee shop. A coffee shop is not a private place. Put your feet down and cover up.”

Missy sits up immediately.

“Okay, Emma,” she says, solemn and earnest. “When my mummy comes home, I can do that, but I will never, ever do that with you again.”

This is a kid who is figuring it out…

August 23, 2011 Posted by | eeewww, manners, socializing | , , | 8 Comments

“Peekee boo!” Nissa pulls the coffee shop napkin away from her face, and giggles as the other children laugh in excitement. “Peekee boo!” She loves playing to the gallery, and she really loves making the others laugh. Depending on whether she uses her powers for good or evil, she’ll either be her future teachers’ delight, or the bane of their existence.

Right now, she’s delightful.

“Oh, they’re so sweet!” The elderly fellow leans over from the next table. His eyes sparkle as the children laugh again. “The expressions on their faces are so vibrant!” Much like his, I might add. His hair is white, his face wrinkled and the skin on his hands papery, but he radiates life and positivity. I warm to him immediately.

His equally delightful wife agrees. “That’s sure a lively little crew you have there, and so well-behaved! How old are they?”

I tap small heads as I identify them. “Emily is four, Noah is two and a half, Nissa is eighteen months, and the baby is eight months old.”

Her eyes widen. “Goodness! We didn’t even notice the one in the stroller!”

“I’ll bet you’re done now!” he chortles. And you know what? I join right in. I am done. No need to point out I’ve been “done” for sixteen years… I’ll take it as a compliment that 1) I look young enough to have an 8-month-old baby (!!!) and 2) I’m doing my job well enough that I can be mistaken for their mother, not a hired gun, and 3) they commented on the childrens’ excellent behaviour, which, unlike many women out there, I take as a direct tribute to my hard work.

The fellow drapes his napkin over his face, then whips it away.

“Peek-a-boo!”

The children shriek in glee, the wonderful couple chortle along with them. Faces light up around the room.

Some days? Some days I cannot believe I get paid to do this.

October 26, 2009 Posted by | our adoring public, outings | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments