Friday, April 11, 2014

Lent

My family never participated in the observance of Lent. It wasn't part of our religion, but a lot of my friends honored it in different ways. I ate chocolate, used the internet and snacked on chips while my classmates abstained. Nowadays, I get to see the Catholic Lent traditions as practiced by the family that I nanny for. They are abstaining from meat for several weeks, which means that the kids have been eating a bit differently. Both four-year-old Merlin and six-year-old Peter Pan are pretty picky kid eaters. They would be perfectly happy living off of a diet of chicken nuggets, macaroni and ramen soup. Recently, though, they have both been branching out into new options, including other types of meat and fish. Lent has kind of put a halt to their food exploration, so they have been eating primarily shrimp (shrimpies as Merlin says), which just ain't cuttin' it anymore for Peter Pan. My six-year-old friend goes to a catholic school where he is assigned spelling words each week. And the irony of all ironies is in his spelling homework for this week:



Yep, Bacon! This is his depiction of the bacon that he wants to eat as soon as Easter hits! So, if you aren't participating in Lent, eat up!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Yummy Brains

My job as a nanny is, above all, to keep the kids safe. That may make me a bit of drag because I don't let the kids partake in some of the most thrilling aspects of life, like walking backwards up and down the stairs, swinging sideways towards each other and running around the house with a toothbrush in their mouths. I'm such a buzz kill, I know. So, when My four-year-old friend, Merlin, decides to throw blocks up in the air next to his baby brother or reach for the hot stove, I gently remind him that our goal is safety.

Being safe has other benefits, too, like not having to answer the question, "how did you get that boo boo?" 528 times. It can also help protect you for zombies. When Merlin decided to stand on the handrails of the jungle gym at the park, I quickly asked him to get down. And then this happened:

"Why, Ms. Enay?" He asked.

"Because I don't want you to fall and crack your head open," I replied honestly.

"Because then you will eat my brain juice?" He said, as if that would obviously be the course of action if he fell. Babysitter status elevated! I reassured him that if he did crack his head open, I would call an ambulance and cry my eyes out, so falling is not an option.

And that brings us to the moral of the story: I may be an overly cautious nanny, but I am most certainly not a zombie.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Truly Canadian Bookmark


Last week I had the amazing opportunity to visit my family in Toronto and experience my first Canadian fall! I loved everything about it: The weather, nature and especially family time! The only problem is that my sense of time is all messed up now because I celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving in October and my mind is scrambled thinking that I'm behind on my Christmas shopping! And we haven't even had halloween yet. Yikes! Apparently Canadians aren't aware that we can only be thankful after we have gorged ourselves on plastic pumpkins full of candy (although, they do have the whole candy thing on lockdown with the Kinder Eggs and Smarties).

Apart from the autumn leaves and chocolate, one of the highlights of the trip was going to my first hockey game along with my five-year-old cousin. (He's technically my cousin's son, but who's keeping track?) You may know him as the orca lover, so that's what we'll call him! Orca Lover's dad had the good fortune of picking up two coveted tickets to not just any hockey game, but a Toronto Maple Leafs game! Now, I'm no expert on Canadian sports, but from my understanding it doesn't get any bigger than this. And from the looks of the price tag on these things, I'm seriously thinking about opening my own hockey-themed version of Disneyland in Toronto, because I could make a killing!

Since Orca Lover and I had never been to a game, it was decided that we would be the recipients of the tickets and enjoy our first game together! After some secret adult spelling talk, Orca Lover's dad explained that he had a great surprise, as long as the five-year-old agreed to behave properly, despite the fact that the surprise might involve him being out way past his bed time.

Orca Lover agreed eagerly in anticipation for the great surprise.

"I have two tickets to the Leafs game tonight for you and Renée," Orca Lover's dad exclaimed! He pulled out the tickets from his pocket and waved them in the air like mystical cards that revealed our hockey destiny.

Orca Lover smiled brightly and cried out, "Yes! Toronto Maple Leaf Bookmarks!"

His dad half-giggled before correcting his son. "These are the tickets that you have to use to get into the game. They are very special."

After we confirmed with Orca Lover that he could use his ticket as a bookmark after the game, he ran to his room to find his Leafs shirt so he could go watch the game with "the best orca whale teacher cousin ever" (That's me, by the way).

We both loved the game and had a ton of fun. And when American Thanksgiving rolls around, I will be sure to express my gratitude for the great bonding experience with Orca Lover and the opportunity to see the most famous team in Canada win a game. But most of all, I'll be thanking the Toronto Maple Leafs for designing the coolest bookmark ever!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Don't Lick the Bowl!

Things have been a-changin'! The two boys that I nanny recently became big brothers and the eldest, my six-year-old friend, started big kid school! While their mom is out on maternity leave, I've been able to bond a lot more with my three-year-old friend, who we'll call Merlin. He is adjusting to his place as the middle brother and learning how to be a good example for "his baby."

While the eldest, Peter Pan, was growing his little mind at school, Merlin and I made a cake in honor of my birthday. And since their mom is home with the new baby, it's great to have someone to share in the hilarity of these kids and their adorableness! 

I cracked the eggs and Merlin plopped the yolks into the bowl and began to mix. His mom, who works in food safety, asked him if we eat the batter.

"No," he dutifully replied.

"Do you know why we don't lick the bowl, though?" His mom asked.

"Because we just don't."

"But, what's the reason?" She asked again, hoping that her profession had rubbed off on the now middle child.

"We just don't lick the bowl," he said again. "We're people, not cats!"

And that ended that discussion. And even though I am not a cat, I have been guilty of this crime many a time. And don't plan to stop anytime soon!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Growing Up is Tough

I'm currently in the throes of a pretty gnarley quarter-life crisis. Growing up, trying to find a big girl job, and figuring out who the heck I really am and what I want and where I'm going and how I'll get there and who I'll go with (Deep breath) is driving me crazy! It's all exhausting and frustrating, plus it makes me long for the good ol' days of childhood when, for some silly reason, I thought this whole adult thing was awesome. Now I spend my days warning little ones of the risks of growing up.

So, imagine my admiration when my six-year-old friend (who just happened to do a bit of growing up by starting the first grade) complained that his shoes were getting too tight. "You've got to stop growing," I scolded him.

"Well, I'm trying not to," he replied. "I just put some young cream on my legs the other day. Feel 'em, Ms. Renée! They're smooth like a baby now!"

Luckily, my little friend has found the resolution to my quarter-life crisis! The only problem is, with my glamourous 20-something income, a good "young cream" is out of the question.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Six Degrees of Separation

The family that I nanny for recently welcomed their third son into the world, so the house has been abuzz with lots of friends and family recently. My six-year-old and three-year-old friends have been getting used to the new family dynamics and visitors. Most recently, my three-year-old friend discovered how we are all connected when both of his grandma's came over to visit at the same time as Ms. Renée (me of course).

"Grandma doesn't have any kids," the three-year-old announced of his paternal grandmother.

"Yes she does," corrected his mother. "How do you think you came to be?"

We all laughed as she explained that Grandma C has three children and that Daddy and his aunt and uncle were all her children, just like Mommy and all of her siblings were Grandma J's children. My adorable three-year-old friend stared at his plate of chicken nuggets in bewilderment, contemplating the relationships between the people that he treasured most in life. I have become a pretty regular fixture in his house, so I love seeing him learn and explore the world around him. He finally looked up at the group of family members surrounding him before he turned to me and asked: "So, Ms. 'Enay, who do you belong to?"

Oh, bless his little heart! It was all making sense until we threw in the complexities of the babysitter!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Makin' Me Proud

My nephews and niece are getting older. That's how this whole childhood thing works, right? Sometimes it pains me to learn that my nine-year-old nephew is now too old to hold my hand or give impromptu hugs. But then the kids will do something that makes me appreciate their growth and beam with admiration at the thought of being their aunt.

I recently visited a local theme park with my three nephews and niece. The oldest two boys each had some money that they had chosen to spend on stuffed animals. The younger two leaned over the table of plush toys, snuggling and hugging the fluffy stingrays as the older two decided which toys they would buy, when Kai, my nine-year-old nephew turned to his older brother and suggested, "Why don't I buy one for me and Ashleigh, and you buy one for you and Cody!"

What an idea: A selfless, adorable and fair way to spend his very own money. Although my oldest nephew didn't agree, Kai decided that he had enough money to buy a toy for himself and both his younger brother and sister. It's moments like this is that make me happy they are growing and leaving behind the "mine, mine, mine" mindset of early childhood.

And while my eldest nephew didn't spring for the toy for his little brother, he surprised me later on by donating his change to conservation, completely unsolicited. While I'm sure their parents, friends and teachers have a lot to do with these kids' wisdom, I like to think that they take after their dear aunt in  some way or another. Makes an auntie proud!