I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I love my job. I know that I’m probably sheltered with intern goggles, but I’m actually enjoying what I’m doing. Every once in awhile though, I think about my old job. Prior to dedicating eight hours of my life everyday to program development and database repair, I was a nanny.
My neighbors employed me as their part-time “Friday Nanny” for two years, and their full-time Monday-Thursday Nanny for three additional years. I acted as supervisor, chef, chauffeur, lifeguard, art teacher, math tutor, librarian, dog walker, curfew officer, card dealer, soccer cheerleader, nurse, repairman, counselor, tackle box director, funny voice provider, and gatekeeper for two boys (who upon reaching high school distanced themselves greatly from the idea of childcare) and their little sister, Tori.
I’ve been baby-sitting Tori since she was a year old, so the fact that she’ll be going to middle school in another year never fails to make me feel old. Now that she’s older she’s actually a pretty cool kid, and because she’s also a ginger, she’s often mistaken for my sister (and once for my daughter by a very judgmental soccer mom). I’ve spent a substantial amount of time with her over the past five summers, and like any relationship we’ve had our ups and downs. When Tori got mad at me, typically for making her do math or clean up her room, she might throw a tantrum when she was younger, or try to ignore me by playing by herself, or as she got older she would act extremely hurt by my demands. By last summer she got clever and tried to make me mad or upset too, and there’s one
incident that is particularly memorable.
It was shortly after school had gotten out, and her parents were out of town for the weekend. Tori was mad at me because she wanted to sleep over at her friend’s house, and I told her she could — on the condition she showered before she went. I knew she wouldn’t want to shower and I expected a fight, but she shrugged and marched into the bathroom without a word. When she got out she asked me to brush her hair, which is when I knew something was up — she never let me touch her hair. As I combed through her hair she studied me in the mirror and made her first strike.
Tori: “Do you have a boyfriend?”
I immediately knew this was bad. I prepared for battle.
Tori: “Why not?”
Me: “Oh, I just don’t right now.”
Tori: “Did you used to?”
Me: “Yep, I used to.”
Tori: “Well why don’t you anymore?”
She was playing dirty.
Me: “Well, sometimes people who are dating decide they don’t want to anymore, or that they’d rather just be friends, and then they aren’t boyfriend and girlfriend anymore.”
Tori: “Is that what you did?”
Tori: “Are you still friends?”
Me: “Well, I really don’t see him that much anymore.”
I thought I had squashed the wanton curiosity with sound logic, until she hit me with a curve ball.
Tori: “Well, I think you don’t have a boyfriend because you’re so ugly. That’s probably why he broke up with you.”
What?! Where the hell did that come from? Luckily I was still in battle mode.
Me: “Huh. Well you know Tori, a lot of people think that we’re sisters
because we look so much alike. So wouldn’t that make you ugly, too?”
She didn’t have anything to say to that, and confident I had the last word, I helped her pack a bag to take overnight. A short while later we drove to her friend’s house, and I walked her to the front door to talk to her friend’s mom. I gave Tori a hug and told her to behave, and in response she told me to try and get a good night’s sleep. I was confused until a moment later when she turned to her friend and friend’s mom.
Tori: “Lindsay needs her beauty sleep so she can try and get another
Well played, short one.