Nanny Knowledge

Never in a million years did I think I would be spending my summer (or ANY amount of time, for that matter!) babysitting/nannying.  My opinion of parenting/kids has never been stellar - there is nothing that makes my blood boil faster than a screaming/misbehaving child and an ignorant parent!  But that has alllllllmost changed entirely thanks to Ryan, Kate, Paige, and CJ, and their parents Scott and Heather.  All of them have opened my eyes and have taught me many, many things, especially the type of parent I aim to be one day.  Below is just a sampling of all of the lessons I have learned throughout my experience this summer and I'm sure I have more to come.  It may seem like a lot of them are negative, but I think they're just honest, truthful tidbits!

  • Kids move at their own pace.  And it is often not the pace that will get you to where you need to be going on time.
  • Video games are the most confusing, heinous, pointless things ever invented... I have thoroughly decided to outlaw video games in my future house.  No kid of mine will be caught dead wasting away in front of the TV or computer when it is a beautiful day outside!  I can see the value of a Wii since the games require physical activity and can be a fun opportunity for family bonding on rainy days, but otherwise there will be NO video games.
  • Public pools are GROSS.  I could write a book about all the gag-worthy things I've seen at public pools.  From kids spitting/snotting/coughing/peeing in the water to walking around in the shower/bathroom area without shoes on. I've always seen public pools as giant toilets... but, then again, I love going to Water Country USA.  Hmm, I should think twice about that...
  • They never agree on anything. While one wants to do one thing, the other is vehemently opposed to that idea.  A fight then ensues and I resist running to hide in the pantry or iron my ears while they argue and whine.
  • They can be quite manipulative. If you tell them you are running into the store for ONE thing (i.e. sunburn relief gel), be prepared to hear a well-rehearsed speech about why they need and should be allowed to buy a Slip-and-Slide and a remote control speed boat.  Oh, and can't forget how they promise they can "pay you back" with their report card money.  Another one of my favorite lines: "Our Mom/Dad lets us do that."  Oh, really?  Your Mom/Dad allows you to jump off of the roof into the bushes for fun?  Nice try.
  • Apparently sneezing does not require you to cover your mouth anymore... just like using the bathroom doesn't mean you have to wash your hands either.  Ew.  Hand sanitizer has become my best friend.
  • The volume of the TV has to be as loud as possible.  And so does the volume of their voices. I'm getting used to screaming, "OKAY, KIDS, I'M GOING TO START MAKING YOU LUNCH.  WHAT WOULD YOU GUYS LIKE TODAY? NO, WE AREN'T GOING TO MCDONALD'S OR SHEETZ. ONE PLATE OF CHICKEN NUGGETS AND ONE SANDWICH? ALRIGHT, BE RIGHT BACK..."
  • I can't be in two places at once! Trust me, I've tried!  I can't watch you play a video game in the basement (shoot me in the foot instead, please!) while spotting the other for back handsprings outside in the yard.
  • No one seems to lock their doors anymore. This bugs me to no end!  I am such a stickler for keeping doors and windows locked, yet it doesn't seem like a big deal to leave the garage door wide open and the house door unlocked while we are away.
  • Horses are scared of umbrellas being openedThe very first day of watching Ryan and Kate, I had to take Kate to her horseback riding lessons.  Of course, it was pouring down rain, I was wearing flip-flops, and she wanted me to walk with her to the stable - down a dirt (now entirely muddy) road.  After returning to the main barn with mud splashed up my entire backside, I re-opened my umbrella walking out behind Kate and her house to make the short sprint to my car.  This spooked the horse (I should have known better...) and embarrassed Kate.  Oops!
  • Never underestimate the power of temptation with food/candy/toys. Always a way to come to a unanimous decision or compromise.
  • A 12 year old can break into his own house if need be. Ryan proved to be quite the criminal mastermind when we discovered we were locked out of the house one day.  While Kate and I waited for Scott to come home to deliver the extra key, Ryan proceeded to pry, thus bending, an expensive screen off of a front window to slip inside.  THAT was fun trying to explain to Scott how we had magically appeared in a locked house.
  • Their feelings only stay hurt for, like, .056 seconds.
  • Just when you think you couldn't POSSIBLY be more annoyed... they go and do or say something sweet.  Darn it!  I was so convinced you were an evil little brat!
  • A lunch of boogers and chips is perfectly acceptable. I'm not sure the nutritional value is in either, but the kids haven't died of malnourishment yet...
  • Cats are better than people. And I silently cheer the cat on when they bite the kids after the have been picked on for the past 15 minutes straight.
  • Some kids will talk your ear off while others won't speak at all unless spoken to.  I slightly prefer the ones who don't speak unless spoken to... Sounds horrible of me to admit, I know.
  • Nutella is like crack to them. Give them a spoonful and they're pacified for the next 15 minutes.  Ahh, peace and quiet.
  • Saying "no" the first 5 times won't work.  It only works if you gradually raise your voice each time, begin turning a shade a purpley-red not found in nature, and after you've reached the 12th attempt.
  • Just to be safe, always wear shoes (or flip-flops, at least) in the house. You never know when you're going to step on a small toy, guinea pig droppings, or a dried booger.  Jesus take the wheel...
  • Kids put their hands EVERYWHERE.  Down their pants, up their nose, and then right into the bag of pretzels we were all just sharing.
  • They may all be potty-trained now, but it often smells like they crapped their pants. Seriously?!  STOP. FARTING!
  • You don't have to know a person's first or last name to be in a relationship with them. Ryan informed me one day as I picked him up from school that he had a girlfriend.  Considering he was being bullied for being "gay," I thought this was a step in the right direction!  When I asked him what her name was, he didn't know.  All he knew was that he was planning on breaking up with her already so "people wouldn't know."  Ahh, young love...
  • They don't care that that gummy bear was on the floor just a second ago... because now it is in their mouth along with the fuzz, dead bug, and piece of hair that it fell onto. Yum.
Well, there you have it.  It has been a weird and humorous ride thus far and we still have another week or so to go, but I am so appreciative of the opportunity to get to know these kids and their parents.