Emma is one lucky little bug. She currently resides in a beautiful home, has plenty of food to eat, and enjoys the privilege of having many toys to play with on a daily basis. She possesses a colorful and stylish wardrobe that, when worn, illicits nods of approval and occasional catty glances of envy from the other infants congregating around the milk dispenser at the local pre-pre-pre-school. She even has a dedicated and devoted father-slash-publicist who seems intent on reporting her every milestone and caper to the information-craving masses out there in cyberspace.
While the aforementioned items are all tantamount in terms of importance, I believe that Emma has been most fortunate in the area of day to day, minute by minute, one on one supervision. For the first two and a half months of the Bug’s life, Fehmeen was on maternity leave from school and thus able to stay home with ol’ Tomato Face twenty-four seven while I finished up teaching algebra at La Entrada. The three of us then spent the summer together (an excellent perk when both mama and daddy are teachers), bonding as a family.
As the days got longer and the calendar flipped from July to August, we became acutely aware of the dilemma we were about to face in a few short weeks time. With the advent of the new school year barreling towards us at full speed, we needed to secure a daycare provider for Emma post-haste. Fehmeen and I (and Emma) had gotten accustomed to the one to one baby to caregiver ratio and if we were to go the more traditional daycare route of several babies to one provider, it was highly unlikely we would be satisfied with what we found.
We decided that it would be in our family unit’s best interests to find a nanny who could arrive at our condo around 6:15 am before we left for school and take care of our baby girl the entire day until we arrived home from work sometime around 4:00 pm. Specific duties would entail several feedings, occasional outfit changes (depending upon relative messiness of said feedings), numerous diaper changes, a morning and afternoon nap (for the baby and the nanny), and hour upon hour of exclusive Emmabug entertainment (again, for the baby and the nanny). Did I forget to mention the five days a week part? Oops. My bad.
Now that we had our parameters squared away in terms of the job requirements, all we needed now was to locate someone willing to fill the bill. Much to our excitement and delight, we were blessed not only to find a candidate who was completely capable and fully interested in doing the job AND already knew and was liked by Emma herself, we found two. By the time the first work week of school (for the teachers) arrived, Emma had herself two nannies: my Mom, Judy, would work Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and Fehmeen’s Mom, Maheen, would work Thursday and Friday.
My Mom would arrive to our Sunnyvale condo, like clockwork, at 6:15 am on her days to watch the Bug. I think the only time she deviated from her usual arrival time was the one instance that there was an early morning accident on the freeway which set her back about five minutes. Other than that, I could always count on the sight and sound of the front door opening at precisely quarter after. Fehmeen and I would then take off for work around 6:30 am, after which time Emma would typically awaken sometime between seven and eight o’clock. Judy would then change the baby’s soaking wet diaper, followed by a few minutes of playtime which then turned into breakfast time for the Bug. After another hour or so of playing with every toy in the house, at exactly 9:30 am, it was naptime for Emma. When the baby woke up from her morning nap, my Mom would change her diaper, play with her for a while, and feed her. Then she would…
Now, before I continue with the story, does anyone see a pattern or a routine or a schedule going on here? If you said yes, then you should understand why Fehmeen and I bestowed upon my Mom the nickname of the Boot Camp Nanny. My Mom has done everything in her considerable power to ensure that Emma stays on her nap/change diaper/play/feed/play more/nap again schedule. And truth be told, the Bug has really thrived in this setting; she is happy, healthy, and content thanks to the tireless efforts of the Boot Camp Nanny. In addition to having the Rolex equivalent of an internal body clock, Emma has also become quite the fan of Giants baseball, Wimbledon tennis, and ESPN Sportscenter NFL highlights. (Thanks Mom, I owe you big time for that).
On Thursdays and Fridays, Fehmeen’s Mom, Maheen (perhaps you’ve read her loving comments on this here blog), arrives for nanny duty, typically around 6 am, in order to beat the East Bay to Sunnyvale parking lot-like traffic jams on 880 and 237. She never fails to meet us with a smile and a warm, good morning greeting when we emerge from the back of the condo as we prepare to leave for school. When Emma finally arises to greet the morning, Maheen is there to welcome her right back. They play together for a while, eat a bit, play some more, and then get ready to take on the world. And when I say take on the world, I totally mean it. With Maheen, Emma has attended business barbeques with her homies from Cal Coast Financial, roamed the aisles of Target (twice in one day), and met a woman who hails from Suburbia (which we later found out to be Serbia and not Siberia). It’s no wonder that when Fehmeen and I return home from work we often find both Emma and her Nanny McFree (nicknamed for her lack of a rigid baby daycare schedule structure) looking exhausted and ready to turn in for the night after an off the hook evening of drinking spiked formula.
In addition to showing off her darling granddaughter to friends and strangers alike, Maheen loves to feed our baby. In fact, one of the most oft used tools in her baby-nannying arsenal is the baby bottle. Emma is crying, feed her. Emma is fussy, give her milk. Emma is playing online poker with her friends from condo 205 while she’s reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar, get her a bottle. Maheen enjoys feeding the Bug so much that when Emma went for her six month pediatrician appointment, she grew in weight from the 60th percentile to the 80th percentile (which of course facilitated a nickname change from Nanny McFree to Nanny McFeast). All jokes aside though, it is very apparent that Emma has thrived in her time with Maheen. Maheen taught her how to clap on command (and when she hears music), has reinforced her love of music (McFeast sings to her constantly; even Maheen’s adult conversations are done in an operatic style when she’s holding the Bug), and has even fed Emma her first muffin (just crumbs, of course).
While her two nannies’ babysitting styles are vastly different, it is patently obvious to anyone who has been around that Emma loves them both very much. Her little face lights up whenever she sees and hears them. You can tell how comfortable she feels around them by her calm demeanor and her pleasant, at ease attitude when they are together (except when she’s overdue for a nap). Fehmeen and I are so fortunate to have you two not only as nannies, but as grandmas as well. Emma’s life is that much better and more enriched with joy and love because of you guys. Thank you for everything. Ah wahs (kisses) to both of you from Emma and from us.