Some words from a nanny

When I first met my kid, I was 21 and he was 5. Naturally, we hit it off instantly because we basically had the same mental age. Now, I am 23 and he is about to turn 7. We don’t see each other much since I stopped looking after him, but our relationship hasn’t changed one bit. I’m his favourite and everybody knows it.

His previous nanny had been with him since he was a baby; he was basically a part of their family. I was so nervous to fill his shoes. Kids had always taken to me pretty easily, but how was I supposed to compete with someone who had been such a huge part of his life? On my first day, I went to get him from summer camp and the first thing he said to me was, ‘Where’s Mark? Is Mark not picking me up anymore?‘ My heart broke for him.

I never had a nanny growing up. My mum went back to work part-time when I was born and then stopped altogether when my younger sister came along. Because she wanted to. She wanted to spend time with us and look after us when we were little. And I won’t lie, I would ideally do the same. But I know that this isn’t a luxury that all mothers can afford. I know that I may not be able to. And I know that some mothers just don’t want to. It’s a personal choice and it’s a parent’s prerogative to decide what’s best for their family and for their child.

If you have a good nanny, and you’re a good parent, you have nothing to worry about. Your kid will be surrounded by love and learn how to love. It’s an instinct to grow attached to people who care about us, and who we depend on. For children, this is even stronger. I was with my kid for three months before I left to do my Masters, and he loved me. He loved me because I cared for him. I cared for him in the deepest sense of the word. It wasn’t just a job. His dependence on me was beyond my making him dinner and helping him cross the road. I was a shadow mother, which is what a good nanny should be.

If your child doesn’t love their nanny, hire someone else. If your child loves their nanny more than they love you, that’s not the nanny’s fault; you’re doing something wrong. If they wake up in the night from a bad dream and ask for their nanny, you’re doing something wrong. Make time for your kid before your kid doesn’t have time for you.

I would say that the best time to do this is bedtime. Bedtime is my favourite time of the day. I am magic at it. Tucking my kid in and reading him a story, or making one up, and watching him drift off to sleep is the most satisfying thing. How much of a challenge he was during the day becomes irrelevant. He reverts back to the sweet, loving boy I so deeply cherish. I would be devastated if bedtime was taken away from me, but I think it’s important for a parent to do. I understand that this isn’t always possible. I get that sometimes it’s not possible to be back home for bedtime to tuck your kids in. But if you do make it in time, and your kid asks you to read them a story, don’t say no. I know you’re tired. I know you may still have work to do. I know you haven’t had dinner and you need to clean the kitchen before you catch up on emails and finish writing overdue thank you notes for you kid’s birthday party a month ago. But it’s 10 minutes, and it makes a world of difference to them. Believe me, I am more than happy to do it; I’m like the freaking sandman. But they would much rather it’s you.

I’m a great nanny. My kid loves me. He also loves the guy who came before me and he loves the girl who took my place. He’s a kid that has a lot of love to give, and I know that’s through having nannies. Growing up with different adults outside of his immediate family has shaped him into the weird and wonderful boy that he is today. He’s taken parts of all of us and we’ve all nurtured different things in him that we think are special. He is amazing, and I will forever be proud to have played a little part in that.

He’s a kid. He doesn’t listen and he cries and he throws water at me at bathtime. He tries my patience and he gives me attitude. But he is excited every time he sees me. He runs and jumps into my arms every time, without fail. I would never have thought that loving a stranger’s child would come so naturally. Like I said, I was only with him for three months, but we were family. On my last night, I was putting him to bed when he wrapped himself around me and said, ‘Why do you have to leave me? No one else has anyone leaving them‘. It broke my heart.

If you’d have told me three months earlier when I was picking him up from summer camp, that this little boy would love me as much as he loved the last guy, I wouldn’t have believed you. For a split second my cynical heart thought maybe this little boy is just fickle with his love, maybe he just loves whoever holds his backpack so he can ride his scooter really fast. My cynical heart trivialised this little boys feelings because I was heart broken and didn’t want to believe that he was, too. Imagine being that young and growing so attached to people, and then having to watch them leave.

I’ve only seen him a handful of times since I left, and every time I do, I am amazed at how much he has grown and at the boy he is turning into. When I left, he could barely sound out words; I saw him a couple of months later and he was stumbling through full sentences. My heart literally swelled and I had the biggest smile on my face listening to him read. He is smart and kind and funny and weird and loving and I am so proud of him.

I looked after him for a few days this week as his new nanny was ill, and it was just like old times. He is just as naughty, but just as loving. His new nanny, Emma, has been with him a lot longer than I was, so I imagined I had been replaced in his affections, and fairly so. However, when I put him to bed on the last night, I wasn’t sure when I would see him again, so I asked. When I told him that I wouldn’t be there the next day, he said, ‘I think you should come back tomorrow, and on Friday, instead of Emma. And then pick me up for the rest of my life‘. I melted. I kissed him on the forehead and made up a story about a boy who lived in a coconut. He was asleep before I finished, but I watched him for another five minutes. And then I left.

Sometimes it hurts to love another person’s child.

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23 Things I (Ir)Rationally Love

I’ve seen a few variations of these listy type posts going around – Aussa, Angelle, Samara – and as I’m one to hop on the bandwagon, I couldn’t resist. I’m stubborn as fuck so I refuse to accept that anything I love is irrational, but, here ya go..

1  Making weird faces. Smiling is so mainstream.

2  Sugar on white rice – don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it.

3  Purposely making situations more awkward than they need to be for my own amusement.

4  Quoting The Big Lebowski whether any one else gets it or not.

5  Playing with fire.

6  Playing with wax.

7  Sitting under my desk to read.

8  Blow jobs.

9  Dressing up and playing with my teddy bears. At the age of 23.

10  Beauty Blogs + buying make up. I wear 3% of what I own.

11  Picking at my nail polish. After I’ve spent hours doing really cool designs.

12  TYPING IN CAPITAL LETTERS.

13  Writing things by hand instead of typing them.

14  Shots, shots, shots, shots, shots.

15  Complaining about my period pains.

16  Doing my eyebrows. What’s more important than eyebrows?

17  The moon. I just love it.

18  Side ponytails.

19  Wandering around Selfridges/various department stores, putting all the handbags on my arm and asking, ‘Does this suit me? Is this a good everyday bag for me?

3.1 Phillip Lim Mini Pashli – every time

20  The smell of library books.

21  Picking scabs. My legs are more scarred than a ten year old boy’s.

22  The E! Network. Sorry not sorry.

23  Eating ice cream outside in the cold. Bliss.

Do you relate to any of these things? What are some things that you irrationally love?

The DENNIS System aka The Bullshit We Keep Falling For

First off, if you’ve never seen an episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, you’re doing life wrong. It’s on Netflix; watch it. I don’t have Netflix, but pretty much every man I’ve slept with does, so I figure it’s fairly common and that, if you’re not currently destitute like I am, you probably have it, too.  Anyway, It’s Always Sunny is an awesome show. It has that classic ‘friends who own a bar together and get up to all sorts of shit’ set-up, and Danny DeVito’s in it. What more could you want?

The show is definitely not for the sensitive or highly strung; if you’re offended by not-so-casual sexism or racism, if you have a problem with drug use, prostitution and taking advantage of those less fortunate, or essentially don’t like anything morally depraved, maybe give it a miss. Each character is unbelievably obnoxious and selfish, devoid of any sense of human decency or decorum, but, fuck, they’re hilarious. The writing on the show is genius and the chemistry between the cast is inimitable – but I’m not here to give a review, just watch it!

In one episode, the group’s resident lothario and probable sociopath, Dennis Reynolds, teaches the gang his bulletproof system for getting countless women to fall hopelessly in love with him – The D.E.N.N.I.S System.

The way that he embarks on each step may be more than a little extreme, but that’s just the nature of the show. You don’t need to ‘Nurture Dependence’ by calling her house and pretending to be a murderer or rapist, most girls start to become unwittingly dependent just through text conversations alone. I don’t think The D.E.N.N.I.S System is at all unique to Dennis. I think that a lot of boys do it, and a lot of girls, myself included, get sucked in. This is what you’re falling for, ladies:

Demonstrate Value

The idea here is that once a man demonstrates his value to a woman, she’ll realise his worth and that she needs him in her life. Being 23 and not looking for value beyond the ability to make me laugh and cum (even if at the same time), I’m not entirely sold on this step, though I think it’ll become increasingly relevant as I get older and do understand where it’s coming from. After all, why would you want someone who doesn’t add anything to your life?

Engage Physically

It is commonly thought that women develop stronger feelings and become more attached once they ‘Engage Physically’. I have friends that this holds extremely true for, and friends that it doesn’t apply to at all – we’re not a one size fits all kinda deal, guys. Having said that, I would say that most girls I know fall in the former. So, by doing the sex, boys become fairly certain that their girl isn’t going anywhere. I don’t know if they think it’s because of the ‘connection’ they’ve just created or because they think their D is so good she won’t want to go anywhere, but, sadly, it does seem to work.

Nurturing Dependence

It’s no mistake that this step follows on from all the sexy time. Once a man’s clumsily bruised my breasts, fingered me like he’s digging for gold in a Smarties tube, and then gotten jizz in my hair, of course I’m going to be putty in his hands. This is the perfect time to nurture that. Contrary to what the show may suggest, you don’t need to hire someone to stab your lover, narrowly missing a major artery so that you can then nurse them back to health, thus making them dependent on you. Like I said, a lot of gals will fall for something as simple as texting. I hadn’t thought of it in terms of dependence until just now, as I think I, like most people, saw it more in terms of attention; it’s all that ‘if he texts you, it means he’s thinking about you’ bullshit we’ve been fed. How many times have you heard a girl say she just wants someone to text? Apparently, we love that shit, and, essentially, once the chat’s started, we don’t want it to stop. Dependence.

Neglect Emotionally and Inspire Hope

Even if you don’t really buy into the rest of this ‘system’, you know these are fo’ real. I put these two together because they really do go hand in hand. Dennis is basically saying to play hot and cold. Hands up if this has happened to you. I imagine this has probably happened to everyone ever, regardless of gender, but in my experience, boys are especially good at it. They nurture all this dependence, making you want to talk to them and see them and even fake your way through mediocre banging, just to pull a disappearing act on you. You then spend days, or even weeks, wondering what you did to make them behave this way. Then, just when you’re ready to stop wallowing and move on, they reappear. Obviously you’re so elated that they’ve come back to you with whatever lame excuse they’ve made up that you look past it and jump into bed with them straight away. Maybe you even let them give you that facial they’ve been begging for. It’s great. You’re lying in one another’s arms, basking in the afterglow of their orgasm, because obviously you didn’t have one, and everything is perfect. Two days later, they disappears again. It becomes a cycle because you allow it to. I’m telling you now, end it before they decides to go ahead and

Separate Entirely

Oh, you didn’t? How unsurprising. Oh, they’re gone for good? How predictable.

The Perfect Man

I can say with no doubt in my mind that Anastasia (1997) is my favourite animated film of all time. I’d even go as far as to say it’s one of my favourite films ever. I have watched it multiple times a year since I was a child. I own it on VHS, DVD and even have a copy downloaded on my laptop. I know every line and every song. Fuck, I know it backwards. Just singing the soundtrack in the shower lifts my spirits. It is my happy place.

If you’re not already familiar with the plot of the film, don’t think that you’ll find any historical accuracy whatsoever. It’s romanticised to the point of saturation, but it’s wonderful. The film has everything! A strong female lead, a love story, an amazing soundtrack, a charismatic villain, a puppy and a bat – it literally gave Disney such a run for it’s money.

It’s not unusual for girls, and boys, to connect with animated characters when they’re young. Girls notoriously love Disney princesses, and I was no different. My favourites, though, were always the ones with a bit of an edge; namely Jasmine (Aladdin) and Esmerelda (The Hunchback of Notre Dame), though I know the latter isn’t a princess, but a gypsy. They were strong and stubborn and full of gumption – none of this lying around and waiting for someone to kiss them nonsense. I think I also enjoyed that they were brown; it definitely meant I was one step closer to being them in real life. So, naturally, when Anastasia came along, I ate that shit up. Anya was everything to me. It’s even written down in one of my old diaries that my first daughter would be named Anya. It was like the directors at Fox made her for me. We were twin souls dancing in the wind to ‘Once Upon A December’. And, as an extension of this, Dimitri was obviously my soulmate.

Don’t frown at the screen like you’ve never found an animated character attractive. Aladdin’s a babe. And you’d definitely bang Meg from Hercules. Anyway, Dimitri was the first boy I ever liked. And, to this day, has sustained my affection longer than any other man. Essentially, I still love him. He is perfect. Let’s not even talk about the fact that he has the voice of John Cusack – swoon, much? – because I don’t even have the words to tell you what his voice does to me. Granted, the kid’s not without his shortcomings; he is a bit of a cocky bastard and a conman, but he redeems himself! And who isn’t attracted to a bit of cockiness, anyway? Here are all the other things that make him the love of my life…

First off, he was a cute kid with an incredible moral compass, so your babies will be amazing

Then he grew up to be this panty-dropper

Who can spin you like this

And this

And protect you from anything.

He’s sensitive to your feelings. He notices when you’re not okay and does’t ignore it

And he thinks you’re beautiful and isn’t afraid to show it.

Plus, he definitely knows how to take you like a woman.

Clearly I don’t want for much. Where is this man?!

Who is your ideal partner? Tell me your animated favourites!