Australian author Gregory David Roberts once wrote, “Nothing ever fits the palm so perfectly, or feels so right, or inspires so much protective instinct as the hand of a child.” My experiences as a nanny have taught me that nothing could be truer.
What began as a flexible and convenient way to make some extra cash while at university, has somehow managed to completely alter my life.
While many cringe at the thought of being elbow deep in another human beings waste, or wrestling with a deliriously tired baby screaming for their mother, I view them as tiny speed humps on an otherwise gloriously scenic drive along an ocean road.
The pale blue sky in Toby’s eyes, the crashing waves of Grace’s curly hair and the sunshine that is Sarah’s smile. These things make the journey a breeze, and make me sad to know that one day I will have to say goodbye to my little treasures who mean more the world to me.
But for now I make the most of these beautiful people. They are my friends and my confidant’s, my teachers and my students, and I fear I will never be able to reciprocate the knowledge they have imparted to me.
Lauren Bourke, three, once taught me about the complex nature of the aging process. “When I was one, I was one. When I was two, I was two. When I was three, I was three.” She stated in a matter-of-fact tone.
And Toby MacKenzie recently enlightened me with his beautifully simplistic take on love, “Louise, I love you all the way up to the top of the sky.”
But it’s not all giggles and games. There is a serious downside when working as a nanny.
This became blatantly clear to me last week, during a dinner date with friends, when I triumphantly announced that the food was, “Super Dooper yummy!!”
And apparently I’m not the only one assimilating foreign phrases into my everyday vocabulary.Levi MacKenzie (22 months) has adorably picked up a few inflections of my own. When asked a yes or no question the likely response is no longer, “yes”, but, “yeah man”. It is not possible to describe how delightfully funny this is, nor can I begin to explain how beautiful he is when asking for a “duddle”.
But as the universe reminds us again and again; nothing lasts forever, life catapults forward, and children grow up.
However, their brutal honesty, infectious giggles, spontaneous wet kisses and warm bear hugs will remain with me long after the dummies have been discarded, the one’sies packed away and innocence lost.
I thank Toby, Levi, Sarah, Grace, Lauren, Summer and Max for loving me. You will never know how much you have touched my heart, and how much I love you.