Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Nanny as Parent

Any of you that know me personally are aware that children don't typically like me. When I used to work in the banquet department of the hotel I would avoid any event geared towards children. When I got stuck working "Dolls Tea" every year I would volunteer to work whatever section dealt with the demanding mothers... as long as the kids stayed away from me. This didn't stop one of them from coming up to me and kicking me in the shins for no reason. My friend Drew says that kids do this to me because "[I'm] a dirty ginger child with no soul," and kids can "smell" that out...

Whatever the reason, there are very few children that like me. The ones that can get past my soullessness infringed on me by my red hair REALLY like me though. I was giving a tour at the museum I work at and a 7 year old girl latched onto me. Told me all about her new Hannah Montana shoes and backpack... Fascinating stuff. At the end of the tour she came at me with open arms. I immediately flinched and backed away assuming she was going to hit me. But she didn't... she gave me a hug. I didn't know what to do so I just stood there until it was over. I went home highly confused over the whole experience.

A similar event happened the following week at my bowling league. My friend's daughter came along and was playing with her Barbies while her parents were bowling. She asked her mom to be introduced to "her pretty friend" and somehow decided she liked me. I went to the bathroom and outside the stall I heard someone ask "Are you next in line." The little girl (6 years old) said "No, I'm just waiting for someone. She'll be out any second." SHE FOLLOWED ME INTO THE BATHROOM!!! When I was washing my hands she was at my side asking me how old I was, my favorite color, if I liked Barbies too. Then she gave me candy. Again... very odd for me and I went home (once again) highly confused.

My friend Liz (who has baby fever even though she is one month away from being the step mom to a 7 year old) explained that as you get older (she's 4 years younger than me) your body changes as well as your perception of children because you're more open to them and the possibility of them in your life. I'm sorry, but I think that is absolute BS. I am more opposed to children than ever and the likelihood I'm going to want them as I get older is so microscopically small that I don't think even a brain eating amoeba could wedge its way in to alter my perception.

Despite all of this, I do still babysit for a family friend if needed. Last night was one of the nights my non-mothering services were required. Fortunately I have known these kids since they were born and because I have been a constant figure in their lives they actually listen to me. And seem to like me. Whether this is again because they've always known me or because they are not inclined to dislike redheads is unknown. It might also be because I completely sympathize with their situation. The parents are very career oriented people. Both of them. They work all the time. Not just during normal office hours, they have work events afterwards, and often. They also like to go out. They are very fun, likable people. I love them! However, this means they have a full-time nanny.

I am highly opposed to the concept of nanny as parent. Yes, nannies are essential in certain scenarios and shouldn't be discredited. However, they should not be the ones expected to raise the children. Such is the case for this family. When I arrived yesterday the nanny was still there. The parents were running out the door to head to whatever fun event they had planned and let the nanny brief me on what needed to be done for the night.

They also have a puppy. A very cute, lovable, playful, little puppy. A lab. HIGH ENERGY. The puppy doesn't seem to get the exercise or attention it needs. It is untrained. So not only is the nanny relegated to raise the children, she also has to train the dog? Last night I taught the dog to sit, drop the kids' toys, and played with it until it was exhausted so it got the exercise a lab puppy needs. He slept by my side all night and when the parents came home he remained next to me and even tried to follow me home.

These kids (and this dog) have all the love in the world from their parents; yet, they don't get to see them enough and therefore, they act out.

From what I can see (in my non expert opinion), both children and dogs like discipline. And of course, attention. As I get older and my friends start to get married and reproduce (eww... why is this world so narcissistic?), I continually see circumstances where I wonder why certain people have children. My friends are all good people, but some of them just don't seem like the parenting type. I know I'm not. I'm selfish and would rather spend my money on vacations and shoes. Is society dictating to us that our worth is rooted in our ability to reproduce? What makes people have children?

I think people should be subjected to a personality test before they are allowed to have children. To see if they're ready. If they have the personality type that will ever be ready? How many kids they should be allowed to have. When in their life they should attempt to reproduce. Why isn't life easy like that?

To bring this rant full circle, does anyone have any thoughts why more kids are starting to like me? The ones that do seem to be around the same age. Maybe 6/7/8 is when kids appreciate being talked to like adults before they swing back into immaturity for their teenage years. I have no clue. They confuse me. Highly.