Sunday, October 12, 2014

Ice Skating and Face Planting

I walked into the rink yesterday with skates in hand...slightly nervous.
It had been over 3 years since I last put on a pair of skates...the thought of face planting worried me. The skate shop was like many I had seen over the years, the rink pretty much like the next one, the hockey kids still running around like the owned the place, and the snack bar had several bored parents waiting around it staying warm.

As I sat down to lace up my skates years and years of memories flooded over me. Memories of my Dad standing in front of me, pushing on my skates as a little girl, lacing them up just right, and letting me roam free on the ice. Memories of hockey games all around the WNY and Canadian border. The french fries, hot chocolates, and hundreds of hockey tournaments of my life. 

You see I was what they call a rink rat. Google defines it as:

"a young person who spends time around an ice-hockey rink in the hope of meeting players, watching practice, and spending time on the ice."

I knew all the players, my dad was the coach, and brothers team mates. The practices were fun to watch but no nearly as fun as screaming at the top of my lungs during a game. And spending time on the ice - that couldn't happen often enough. 

Stepping onto the ice yesterday all my nerves went from fear of falling to flash backs of skating freely at the rink before my Dad's game. Saturday nights growing up were family night's on my Dad's 35 and over league. After the Zamboni cleared the ice, before the teams entered, we kids had roughly 10 minutes to enjoy a freshly paved ice rink. With no more than 10 kids on the ice I had the freedom to skate, spin, and attempt to finally learn that hockey stop. 

It took me a few laps to get my bearings on the ice - okay really it took a few steps. Yesterday I realized being on the ice was a part of me. I might not skate all the time or may miss years of opportunity, but being on the ice gives me the feeling of flying. The very core of my heart soars when I hit the ice. Hopefully it is something that can happen several times this year.

Leaving the rink yesterday my cheeks hurt, I couldn't tell if it was from smiling so much or the cold of the ice, either way I left a happy and refreshed skater. 
Even after I face planted.


Friday, October 10, 2014

Keeping My Sanity!

Early morning light shines through my Eastern facing window. 

Toddler giggles ring through the hallway as baby brother foot steps race after Bear. 

I come downstairs to either a huge hug, kiss, smile and "good morning" or "no, go back upstairs" depending on the day. 

Dad-Boss and Mom-Boss leave for work usually with two happy toddlers waving good-bye to them. 

And my work day begins!

Playing games, destroying Duplo towers, being a human jungle gym, puzzles, books, cars, trucks, and crayons! Diapers, snacks, drinks, lunch, nap times, brotherly fights, biting, kicking, screaming, crying, hugging, apologizing, lots of Bug kisses - all make up my day. 

Every Day!

Because I am a Live-In - it is literally Every. Single. Day. 

Don't get me wrong, I love it (most days). I love my job, I love the boys, I love the family I nanny for! I truly would not change my life at this point in time. 

Yet I wonder how I keep my sanity sometimes. 

Here is the reality: as much as I love kids, these two precious boys in particular - they aren't my kids. I don't have that parent bond with them. There is no inner sense of motherly grace or parental need to love them in me. Days comes where I don't want to come down stairs, days I want to throw the covers over my head and forfeit the day. 

Today was one of those days. 

Then I here a "bleep, bleep" of a Voxer message (an amazing phone app), open my phone to a text message, or a missed call from a friend or family member. 

And I remember how I keep my sanity - staying connected to people that love me. 
People like my brother who makes an effort to call me once a week and have a meaningful conversation about what is going on in life. 
April who will Voxer me until I return her message - and not just a 30 second message, a 15 minute wonderfully worded dialogue. 
Cindy who will shoot me a quick text asking about something we talked about two weeks ago. 
my Mom-Boss who checks in with me after a long week to see how I am doing. 
a random friend who sends me "just because flowers". 

This week in particular I learned the power of staying connected to people who care about me. Not letting my struggles, worries, or just life in general stop me from staying connected with those who are close to me. It is by staying connected, being able to vent a bit or talking about nothing child related that keeps me sane. 

So thank you!
Thank you to those of you who didn't let distance, time changes, or my lack of getting back to you stop our relationships from growing. 
Thank you for keeping me sane!


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

I am a Failure...

...And I really don't mind!

I started this challenge 8 days ago and already I have missed posting on 3 of the days. Life happened! Toddlers needs taking care of, laundry needed to get done, I wanted to touch base with friends/family from NY, and then I got this head cold that decided to kick up. Oh add in I am trying to form better sleeping habits by going to bed at a reasonable hour so I can wake up without feeling a desperate need for a caffeine iv in my arm. None of this leaves much time for blogging.

When I started this challenge I knew that I would miss days, probably more than I should. 8 months ago I started this blog with hopes of updating it at least 3 times a week, and an additional Friday Field-trips post with fun activities we had discovered recently. Well that failed too.

By blogging standards I am a failure...

...And I really don't mind. 
Because Sometimes is better than Never
Trying is better than Never Starting.
Failing is better than Giving Up. 

Failure means putting in effort. Give things a shot. Working at something until it just won't work or until a door slams shut. Failure means that a goal was written down, words were spoken, and time was committed. In the end it means you dreamed, you lived, you failed, and you know better for next time. 

Failure in writing a blog post is not the end of the world; it will have no detrimental effect on anyone in this world. But what about when I fail as a nanny? What if failure happens when it comes to kids?

By the end of last Friday afternoon I felt like a nanny failure! Bear had another clothing fight on Friday and he seemed to want nothing to do with me most of the weekend. On both Saturday and Sunday Bear was as sweet as could be for DB when it came time to get out of his pajamas. I kept thinking: "What am I doing wrong? Seriously, how is it that we can spend so much time together, have so much fun and he puts up such a fight for me and nothing for his parents." I was on the verge of being done with this whole toddler thing, emotionally.

After a long walk on the beach I was reminded to have faith; have faith that this too shall pass. I was reminded that even when I felt like a failure because of something so small I was succeeding at something so much greater...loving these little men! I was trying, I wasn't giving up, and I wasn't throwing in the towel.  I was however pushing forward. I was willing to look at last week to see what didn't work and look at this week with what could possibly work.

You know what? I am so glad I failed last week because it has given me the insight to see how I could change and become a better nanny. This week there has been a lot more hugs, cuddles, and kisses. This week we have had better nap times, more fun adventures, and no fighting about pajamas!

 This week has been a week of nanny success.
A week I might have taken for granted if I hadn't felt like a failure last week. 


Ocean Weekend Getaway

There are months, weeks, days, and moments in life where you just need to get away and refresh. This past weekend was one of those moments - not just for me but for the whole NF.

We headed to the coast of Washington and enjoyed incredibly warm weather for the month of October. The sun and sky made a perfect backdrop for our perfect day at the beach.

 It was one of those sights that I felt like I was walking out of a movie scene and into a surreal life moment.

The wind was also perfect for flying kites, Bear enjoyed his first kite flying experience as Bug toddled around in the sand.

And what would a beach trip be without a perfect hash-tag shout out to all my fellow nannies!

Bug loved the sand and water! By the end of the day we were all covered with it, but our hearts were full and rested to start a new and busy week. 


Saturday, October 4, 2014

Nanny-Lingo 101

Hopefully this is short, sweet, and to the point. A simple guide to learn what nannies mean. 

What does that mean may be the most commonly asked questions when abbreviations like NF, MB, or GMB start flying out of a nanny’s mouth. In keeping with this nanny theme here is a simple list defining the words. Let’s call it the Guide to Nanny Lingo 101 (in no particular order):

  • NF – NannyFamily
  • NP – NannyParents
  • MB – MomBoss
  • GMB – GrandmaBoss
  • DB – DadBoss
  • GDB – GrandDadBoss
  • Charge – The child (or children) that a nanny watches, they are in the “charge” or care of the nanny
  • NK – NannyKid (also known as charge)
  • A, B, C or any other random letter you see a in replace of a name – Many nannies refer to their NK by their first initial either for anonymity reasons or character count. Some also choose to use nicknames (like I do with Bear and Bug) for the NK.
  • Au Pair – Someone living in a foreign country providing childcare and light house work.
  • Live-In Nanny - Someone who lives with their NF. There are different levels of Live-In's, click here for more details on that. 
  • SAHM - Stay at Home Mom
  • SAHD - Stay at Home Dad
This list is not exhaustive, but it covers the basics. 
Check out SitterCyle for another helpful list with different terms. 
Are there any other words or nanny-lingo you want to know the meaning of?


Friday, October 3, 2014


Yesterday it took a 45 minute battle to get Bear out of his jammies and into real clothes. Today after 30 minutes I gave up (with a plan). I got Bug situated in the Car then picked up a diapered but otherwise naked Bear along with his pants, t-shirt, socks, and shoes for the day, and struggled to get my adorably cute screaming toddler-filled NK in his car-seat

The wonders of a car ride to calm a crying child down.

The success story is by the time we pulled into the parking lot Bear was happy and excited to get dressed and go shopping for our trip to the beach. 

On the way home I couldn’t help but be grateful that MB/DB get to deal with Bear’s “I don’t want to wear pajamas” phase for the next two days. 

And it hit me, I have been so stressed out by Bear’s becoming a full blown terrible two toddler moments that I have forgotten an important part of my job. 

 As I write this blog I am in the back of a minivan; DB is driving, MB is alongside of him tickling Bear’s little toes as Bug stares out the window. Bear’s laughter of “tickle me again Mama” rings throughout the car and I am once again struck by how much I have to be grateful for. 

Bear and Bug love to laugh.
ALL the Time!
There is more laughter and love in our days then there is crying and tantrums. This is a fact that I need to remind myself daily. The 30/45 minutes of rough mornings is nothing compared to the 7 ½ hours of fun and laughter we share every day. 

 I am living and working with a family that has a deep love for each other. Parents who love each other and their boys dearly. A Nanny-Family who has welcomed me open arms into their family and has loved me like a sister. And two adorable boys that pour more love into my life than I have received from any human being.

I am blessed to work with a NF who trusts me, who gives my good guidelines, and have great open communication. Because of all of these things I am given the ability to schedule our days, arrange play-dates, play-time, and lunch-time. Having time and freedom in a job has become such a wonderful benefit. On top of that I have nights and weekends free, something that I am finding is rare in the nanny community. I have time for my NF, time for new friends, old friends, and most importantly myself. 

The root of all great nanny jobs is fun. We have fun. Whether is playing sports outside, building an epically horrible replica of a sandcastle with Duplos, jumping of the couch, or wrestling we have more laughter in our one day then some do in their whole week. 

This weekend I hope to focus on being constantly more thankful for what I have. 


Pajama Wars and Humble Pie

I have been eating a lot of humble pie this month.

I mean A LOT!
This week the humble pie hit me smack in the face, like whip cream pie splash.

On Monday the boys and I were at a local community center, while there I saw a little boy about 3 years old in full blown footy pajamas. I snootily thought "how on earth could a parent/nanny let their child out in public like that". Then Tuesday hit with a ton of bricks throwing that whip cream pie right in my face. Bear woke up and decided that pajamas were the only thing he wanted to wear. With a small rift he got in jeans and t-shirt and to the playground but as soon as we were home back on with the pj's. Not caring too much about what he wears at home I didn't mind.

Last night as his parents were getting ready for dance class as we realized he had the same batman shirt on for 3 days and nights! What just happened to me as a nanny? How did I become that person who let their NK wear the same shirt for three days?

This morning, oh boy this morning was a rough one. A battle I should have let slide but my pride and pajama wearing in public hating self wouldn't let it. It took 45 minutes, lots of tears, counting to 10 like 10 times, and little bribery but we did it. Bear was out of his pajamas, in real clothes, and happily in the car for our play date.

"I have become my Father"! 
Flash backs of him refusing to let me wear pj's and sweats to school crashed into my brain. I get it now, the pride, the "what will people think of me" "my child/NK can't wear that" thought process. 

In the end does it matter if Bear wears his pajamas in public or not?
Not really. 
Would I stick to my guns and do the same thing if I had a redo this morning?
Should I?
Who knows.

Bear has his wants and I have my pride. With this toddler thing becoming full blown I am sure pajama wars are only the first humble pie being thrown.

Ready or not I am about to become an expert on pajama wars..
...or humble pie..
...too bad it can't be apple pie instead.