Nanny in NYC

A modern day Mary Poppins

Monday, June 26, 2006

Sex & the Single Nanny

Don't get excited, this post really has nothing to do with sex, per se. I just loved the title.

In reality, today's topic is dating. I've already talked about how I am a bit of an anomaly, as a college educated, white, American-born Nanny, so I would hope that it isn't difficult for you to imagine that the type of man who dates college educated, American born, twenty-something girls does not often find himself dating a Nanny. This doesn't really bother me all that much because I enjoy my job and am not embarrassed by it. The only challenging thing about it is that when I say I'm a Nanny, the subject of children, family (and because it goes along with those two, marriage) seems suddenly and inappropriately present.

In the past I've handled this by going very academic. I talk about what a grand experiment children are and how I am very interested in how generational trends in raising children effect economics, politics, etc. It usually works because presenting a topic for debate is a winning tactic with the kind of men I date. The question for me then becomes, how do I introduce the man in my life to the very important non-academic aspects of my job: the children.

In my last relationship I had middling success with this. I was working for the P. family at the time. They have two children who I absolutely adore. At the time they were about 7 and 9 and I had reached the point where I enjoyed spending time with them both on and off "the job". So one day, shortly before Christmas, I took them out on a weekend to go shopping and see a movie, and I invited G., my boyfriend at the time, to go along with us. We went to see Peter Pan (which I highly recommend, by the way) and everything went very well until the final moments of the film. The last line of the movie is a voice over by Wendy. She is explaining how the Lost Boys, each in their time, would come to her and she would help them find loving homes because, she explains, "Every child must grow up. Every child except one." To which G replied (very loudly, people several rows away turned around and looked at us) "Michael Jackson!" He got a lot of titters from those around us, but Phoebe (the 7-year-old) gave him the fisheye.

After the movie I left Phoebe and Jack with G. while I went to the bathroom. Big Mistake! I was gone less than 5 minutes, but when I returned to them G. was looking uncomfortable and sheepish (not so odd, in and of itself, that was kind of his constant demeanor) and Phoebe was glaring at him with undisguised scorn and suspicion. Apparently, while I was gone, shrewd little Phoebe had asked what exactly G. meant by his Michael Jackson comment. G. had stammered a bit and finally come up with this gem, "Uh . . . you should ask your mom." Then he amended that to "Or, you could ask Annie." So, having explained this, she did just that.

"Michael Jackson was very famous from the time that he was about 5 years old," I said, "and because he spent his childhood working instead of just being a kid, he is trying to make up for it in his adulthood by having his own amusement park, zoo and other things like that."

Phoebe was quite satisfied with this answer, but, because she's not at all a slow child, she quickly came to the next obvious question. "Why couldn't he tell me that?" I gave her the only answer I had, "He's a little weird." Not surprisingly, she had absolutely no problem accepting that.

This incident was really just a bump in the road of getting the kids and my boyfriend to be able to relate to one another, and it definitely got better as time went on. Like with so many things, G. was training for the next phase of my dating life. Now, I know what red flags to look for and what amount of wariness is reasonable and good. He's also served as a wonderful base line from which to tell what is par for the course and what is exceptional behavior.

So, when a cute, interesting boy pulls out a wallet full of pictures of his niece and nephew and walks me through each one with increasing delight, I know I'm dealing with a truly exceptional man.

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Blogger Alice said...

"G. had stammered a bit and finally come up with this gem, "Uh . . . you should ask your mom." Then he amended that to "Or, you could ask Annie." "

- Ouch.

Bet that was uncomfortable.

Ah well. Some people relate to and get on well with kids, and some, just, don't, I guess.

You handled it with grace though, I might add.


6:48 AM  

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