I'm Leaving The Nanny Game, But Not Without Unconditional Love

I never thought when I became a nanny that I would leave with a much bigger and much more broken heart. Can a four-year-old be your hero?
Publish date:
September 26, 2011
art, girls, love, family drama, jobs, moving on, sad, dancing, change, hugs, big lessons, nannying

I quit my job on Tuesday.

Well, I actually gave an unprecedented-by-me 90-day notice, which is about 90 to 90 ½ days longer than is my historical style. Or was, until this job.

My full-time day job for the last two years has been nanny to one of the neatest, most amazing little girls ever. I started a week before she turned two and helped her celebrate her fourth birthday a week and a half ago. I’ve never been late, called in sick or not shown up. I’ve been more enthusiastically available for this child than I have for anyone ever.

She had a 15-word vocabulary when me met, probably larger, but she was too shy to use it. Practically overnight she became a chatterbox speaking in run-on paragraphs, and my miniature best friend.

I was the first to give her choices and let her pick out her own clothes, a process of which she became an instant unselfconscious professional of the highest order. I trimmed her tiny little fingernails and brushed on their first Hello Kitty polish, never forgetting the glitter.

We found all the letters of the alphabet in the Wall Street Journal until she could identify or sound out most words in her cherished books. We made our own books and baked cookies and looked for bugs in the grass while we talked about our favorite numbers and she would tell me in a very intuitive way which “color” I was that day. Red days were very happy, she said. Whip smart.

She wakes up singing every morning. Could that just kill you? We’ve rebelliously blown off countless naps with adventures to new parks, museums, art galleries, aquariums, Japanese malls, lunch and cupcake dates, and perfect empty North Shore beaches after the kids have all gone back to school and the best rocks are waiting to be tossed into the endless lake.

An endearing odd duck, she insisted on and I delivered a “poop chart” that went up to 100 so she could meticulously and grandiosely chart those first breakthrough weeks of full-time Yo Gabba Gabba underwearin’.

She’s neurotic about losing her baby teeth someday and developed scab-anxiety after reading the “Everybody Gets Scabs” book or whatever the title is that I should probably remember. I solved it with Hello Kitty Band-Aids on imagined future scab-sites.

The dancing we do. My god, the dancing.

The sweetest music and ballet classes (I could just sob and die of pure cuteness and adorability at every ballet class), swim lessons. My shy little toddler is a brave and confident beautiful girl. She’s in a five-day-a-week nursery program now at a very fancy school. Half days, but still, she’s really growing up fast. We park on the seventh floor roof of the parking garage sometimes because she loves looking out at the whole city and down at the teeny distant “elevated” trains.

She kisses, hugs and hangs on, holds hands, snuggles, looks too closely, says she loves me and misses me when I’m gone. I am so immeasurably lucky to have and have had this in my life.

And I’m voluntarily leaving it behind. I got a real world grown-up office job that is a different kind of dream realized and a perfect compliment to my writing. So basically, a senior editor position at a media company that is non-xoJane related, but very xoJane friendly. I’ll head into a “cool” office everyday and ache for my little monkey to hang on my neck.

She made me more loving and more lovable. I care about people and life in a way I couldn’t before. I’m a better wife, friend and employee for having her around. Someday I’ll be a good mother because I had the best baby doll to practice on.

The next three months may be the saddest, most fun I’ll ever have.

Thanks for everything, my Sweetie Girl. L’il Bear. I’ll be at your college graduation, wedding, Inauguration, art openings, and lots of shopping, meals and zoos until then.