By Nanny T
“As any experienced nanny knows, when you begin a new job it takes time to form a relationship with the little ones in your care. Creating healthy boundaries, understanding attitudes, learning how the child’s mind works (from games that enthrall them to the snacks that they crave)- Each step is important on the path to bonding with the children in your care.
I began babysitting at the absurdly young age of 13 and since then I have cared for kids from the age of eight months to 15 years old, all different and interesting in their own way. When I was 18 I was referred to a family who needed someone to watch their child on an ongoing basis. Of course I said yes and couldn’t wait to meet their daughter- Little did I know that I was about to be blessed with the most loving and unique experience of my nannying career.
Nora was 10 years old, full of ideas, and the first child with special needs I had the privilege of caring for. Although she could not communicate with me through words, Nora had her own method of communicating: Music! With every note and bar- song and rhythm, Nora communicated sadness, happiness, excitement, frustration and anger. Musical notes danced around the house throughout the day as this amazing little girl expressed herself.
Because I was new to not only Nora but her unique needs, my first time watching her was an incredible learning experience. In addition to her unique method of communicating, we also had a role reversal: She was the teacher, and I was the student. Things that I had always known to be so simple: Using the bathroom, playing outside, playing with toys or even speaking, were challenges. Accepting the contradicting reality- Sometimes Nora wanted to be alone and in her own imagination, while other times she insisted that I stay by her side and make her laugh by singing at the top of my lungs; Accepting the frustration- The tantrums that resulted when I couldn’t figure out what Nora wanted and the evening meltdown when I announced that it was time to exit the trampoline because it was past bedtime and pitch black outside. I realized how much I had taken ease of communication for granted in the past.
It is never easy to see a child in distress, and when they are unable to clearly communicate what is distressing them it is even more upsetting. Finding a means of communication that we both grasped took some time between Nora and I. Eventually, we formed a relationship balanced on patience, willingness, unfaltering love and ongoing nurturing.
I’m not sure who grew more in my time with Nora: Her or I. I learned that communication does not need to happen through words, and that care can be demonstrated in a million ways without ever actually speaking the word L-O-V-E. With musical notes dancing through the air and a passion for learning, my time with Nora and her brilliant smile will forever play through my memory in the sweetest melody.”
Nanny T has been caring for children for the past 9 years. T has a passion for music, recently graduated with a B.A in Journalism, enjoys doing anything outdoors and “loves pizza so very much.”