Insights from our awesome nanny
I've had the incredible opportunity to work for Cameron and Jess watching Landon (and now Noah) over the past few years. I had just moved back from working abroad, Jess was almost done with her maternity leave and was looking for someone who would be interested in watching Landon. We met for coffee and she asked if it was something I would want to do. My initial thought was no. Here's the thing, I love kids and I love playing with them... but full time child care was not something I ever saw myself doing. Babies kind of terrify me. They are so adorable and cuddly... but also so small and SO fragile! I love toddlers, when you can start roughhousing with them and you understand more of what they want and need. I was a little unsure about being a nanny, but agreed to try it out for 6 months.... and I still love it :)
I started work in October 2012 and this is the face that greeted me that first morning:
How can you not love that face!?
Landon was so adorable, happy, curious, and such a sweetheart! Now, don't get me wrong - he was a baby. There were plenty of frustrating days of him refusing to sleep, him screaming with nothing I could do to help, and him getting into things he shouldn't the second I turned around. It was a learning experience and an adjustment period for both of us. For the most part he was a happy little guy who loved to play, cuddle, and go on adventures.
Landon picks up on things so quickly - it was (and is) kind of astonishing. We worked a lot with 'baby sign language' and this helped with him not throwing fits like most kids do because he was able to communicate what he wanted to a certain degree. He was great with actions and recognition. I could say "knee" or "belly button" and he would point to them. He knew animal sounds, actions like 'high five' or "bump it" (aka fist bump), "noggin" and "blow a kiss". His first word was 'nana' (banana) at about 10 months old and he just took off from there.
Landon and I have a fantastic dynamic, which is not something I've ever experienced with any other kid before this. We work really well together, he is great at following directions, trying new things, and is a very creative kid. He will sit still for hours if you keep reading him books, but he will also run around dressed like a superhero defending people from all of the bad guys.
Now on to Noah - talk about incredible kids! This little boy will smile at you and it just melts your heart. Noah is so much fun and has an amazing personality! He has so many similarities to Landon and while he is hitting some milestones later for various reasons (see Jess' other posts) he is progressing so well and does not give up! Noah loves playing peek-a-boo, he plays 'cups' with me while I sing, he loves 'row your boat' and LOVES playing with his big brother. Now that he is more mobile, he tries to take everything that Landon is playing with (Landon is not a big fan of this).
Participating in Physical and Speech Therapy sessions has been incredible and I have learned so much through it. I go to the Boyer clinic once a week with Noah and I truly enjoy working with the people there, the other kids in the class, and learning different ways to help kids learn and grow. There are so many little things that most people don't ever have to worry about, and this has been a huge eye opening experience for me.
I have the opportunity to work with two similar yet very different kids. I am able to watch and help them grow and develop - it's an amazing experience and a very gratifying job. You can just see their minds working at times, processing what was said or what they are doing. For example, watching Noah clap on his own - he was just staring at his hands and it seemed like the action just 'clicked'. After that he started signing 'more' and 'want' and he started waving. This job has taught me a lot of things about myself and has caused me to be a more patient, understanding, creative and responsible person. What more could you ask for in a job?
So really.... while being a nanny is certainly not a piece of cake, my days are generally filled with dance parties, make believe adventures, story time, zoo trips, play dates, walks, building forts, craft projects and other outings. Not too shabby ;)