Sunday, September 28, 2008

How to Change a Life

I really stumbled into this nanny gig. About two months before I graduated college, a blind panic swept over my other wise easygoing demeanor: I'M ABOUT TO HAVE A DEGREE IN CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY. WHAT THE HELL AM I GOING TO DO WITH THAT? My first idea was phone-sex operator. But while the people there were big fans of my voice (I'd been practicing), they thought I was too vanilla (that means I don't put a lot of stuff up my butt). So then I did what seemed like the next logical choice: I registered with a nanny agency. I carefully crafted my profile, adding only the most demure pictures of myself and drastically cleaning up my list of hobbies.

A few families emailed me, but most seemed boring or weird and I never seriously considered the possibility of nannying until Bobby Habibi contacted me. After talking to him a few times, he flew me up here to meet the fam. It wasn't until I was actually boarding the plane that I realized how haphazardly I was plunging into this. But the threat of doing something irreversibly stupid has never stopped me before, so I went ahead with the plunging.

I knew I loved Coco the first time I met her and she told me she always wore red lipstick and she drank Diet Coke all day long. She then warned me that if I didn't hold on to my own Diet Coke/soul, she would drink those too. I think she was probably wearing sequins and high heels on that Wednesday afternoon. In a word, she is FABULOUS. And the kids really sucked me in too. Even before I discovered their incredibly unique personalities, I recognized that they are tremendously CUTE. There is no other word for it. They are all cheek-pinching adorable.

I'm not a nanny because I adore children. Rather, I think working with children is one of the most direct and effective ways to save the world. There is no changing a person's inherent doctrine past the age of 20. Worldviews are set, lifestyles are chosen, affiliations are established. But get them just 10 years earlier and you have a real opportunity to profoundly influence a person. Sometimes we forget that children are just shrunken people. It's easy to separate the 7-year old ice skater from the lawyer she will become or to miss the voters that live inside 4-year old finger painters.

I don't know if there is a stereotype for nannies, but if there is, I am sure I do not fit it. I consider my kids my "thugz-4-life" and I often come upstairs bedecked in hot pink horn-rimmed glasses and a purple wig. And I'm not fooled by the doe eyes and chubby faces. I fully appreciate the power and beauty of youth. So yeah, I do all the typical nanny stuff like picking up from school, making peanut butter sandwiches, and sometimes tucking in at night. But what I'm really trying to do here is enlighten, to show these kids that they don't have to accept the world as it's given to them. That anything is possible and that life is a glorious thing.

So yeah, maybe I listen to too much gangstah rap in the car line at preschool. But nobody does childhood or immaturity better than I do and that's gotta count for something.

1 comment:

  1. your blog already is way cooler than mine...jealous...