Nanny in NYC

A modern day Mary Poppins

Saturday, April 22, 2006

In the Groove

I have held several different kinds of jobs in my life. I've worked as a cashier, a waitress, a psychometrist, and the obligatory range of administrative assistant jobs--in addition to having worked with children since I was about thirteen. In each one of these jobs, no matter how mindnumbing they may have been, I experienced times when I was truly "in the groove". It's a wonderful feeling, like a melding of you and your job to the extent that you become seamless for a few moments or hours. As I've never worked in any field where I'm isolated from other people, the "in the groove" feeling is increased by the fact that other people feed off the feeling.

As great as ITG felt in all of those jobs above, nothing compares to being ITG as a nanny. I think it's mainly because, in those few moments (and believe me, they don't come that frequently) when everything is clicking I experience such a feeling of wholesomeness that everything in the world seems right and good.

Yesterday, after school, I took all four G. kids and two of Sam's friends out to what we call the River Park (technically Hudson River Park, or Battery Park, I think). The three boys had their mits, balls and bats and they ran out on the lawn immediately on arriving at the park. (They're all on the same little league team, and they are super serious about baseball.) Jill and I spread out the picnic blanket and took out all of the various snack items (Annie-nanny's personal rule: never leave home without food to feed at least twice the number of people you are actually responsible for) and the miscellaneous balls, wiffle bats, bubble blowers, buckets, etc. that we'd brought with us. (I would so love to show you how the stroller looks when we leave the house on trips like these. I'm sure we way exceed factory recommended weight loads.)

Jill and I threw balls to Luke & Drew while we chatted about school and her upcoming first summer of SUMMER CAMP!! (much anticipated). Luke and Drew rooted through the flower beds and I ignored the glares of Parks Dept. employees. We went and got popsicles from the ice cream truck and for a few minutes there was blessed silence as everyone dutifully sucked and licked their respective frozen treats (and once or twice their brother's).

It was heaven, it was perfect, and therefore, but the laws that govern children, there was no way it could have ended except badly.

I'd packed up everything that we'd brought, given out 10, 5, 2 and 1 minute warnings that WE ARE LEAVING THE PARK, and everyone was moving in the proper direction. It seemed like, for once in my time with the G.'s I might manage to bring the peace and goodwill of a happy park outing back into the apartment so that Mrs. G. doesn't continue to believe that I fabricate all my tales of harmony among her offspring. But of course there was a ill-timed swing of a baseball bat which struck the remains of Jill's Kimpossible popsicle (the kind with bubble gum for eyes) and splattered it across the pavement.

For a few seconds, it was as if everything moved in slow motion. Jill turned to see the ice cream mess on the ground, then swung her head around to glare at her brother who still held the bat which dripped purple ice cream. She took a deep breath in which I swear to you, she grew a few inches and her teeth got longer, and then she lunged. I thank god that the bat Sam was holding was just a wiffle bat, because I can't really blame him for defending himself against the 40 lbs. of flaming rage that was Jill at that moment. He hit her upon her head approximately 4-6 times before I was able to dump Luke roughly in the stroller (where he'd refused to go before) and grab both the bat and Jill. She screamed and struggled in my arms for what seemed like ages, but which was probably only a minute or two. This was more than enough time for Luke to realize that he was not strapped in and pitch himself head first onto the sidewalk. Sam decided that since I was comforting Jill & had de-batted him, that I was taking her side, and he burst into angry, self-righteous tears as well. David & Creed (Sam's friends), increasingly uncomfortable by this scene, tried to head on to the apartment by themselves and just narrowly escaped being hit by the same ice cream truck that I blame for this entire mess.

When we finally made it home to the calm, but (to my mind) clearly judgmental, Mrs. G. we were, as a group, tearstained, bruised and angry and I had to say the same words that I say so frequently, "We were having a wonderful time . . . until"


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