On friday the kids hopped on their grandparents plane and started their spring break travels. Leaving behind a very sad (and sick) N, who is missing his buddy and constantly asking to go to 'big boy's' house. It's going to be a long 2 weeks! I was planning to keep him busy, but he came down with a cold so we are going to have to stay closer to home than I planned. I think that I'm even going to keep him home from school as I don't want him to share his germs. I know I wouldn't be happy if I dropped my kid off at school and saw another kid coughing and sneezing away.
There have been some discussions in our house recently on the pros and cons of my job. I realise that I'm really lucky to have a job that lets me bring N along with me, but it's becoming a tricky line to walk as N gets older. I've been with the family for 6 years now and have known them for 12, when I worked for my boss' sister. I was at their wedding and the hospital soon after the big boy arrived nearly 5 years ago. Until N arrived I was their only nanny and traveled frequently with them, often working 60+ hr weeks. Even now my schedule is somewhat unpredictable and I don't usually know what is happening ahead of time. The family don't run their life like that, they decide things in the moment and expect it all to be taken care of. (If you've ever seen the nanny diaries movie you'll have an idea of what it's like!)
By coming to work with me N has seen and experienced a lifestyle that most people only dream of, but it's a lifestyle that will (probably) never be his. I mean how many families have a full time house keeper, 2 nannies and a whole host of other staff taking care of their every need?! N has gotten to ride ponies and milk cows at the family's small dairy farm. He has ice skated and hung out at their private clubs. He was introduced to an amazing swim instructor and we even had the cost of lessons covered for us. We spend the early summer and fall swimming in their beautiful pool and roam freely around their property whenever we feel like it. There is no doubt that he's picked up lots of great things from being around the kids, being the 'third child' while we are at work has motivated him to try and keep up with them. He's even picked up his numbers, shape and letter knowledge while I've been working with the big boy. His imaginative play is far beyond his years - the favorite right now is pirates, but cowboys and super heroes are also right up there too. I have to admit that J's wonderful storytelling has helped with this too, N is great at telling his own stories now.
There are however some negatives and they become more apparent as he gets older. The family that I work for is a hunting family. Mom is master of the local fox hounds and rides out with the hunt 3 times a week. The big girl rides her pony with the hunt as often as her school schedule allows and they are hoping that the big boy will get more interested in riding this year so he can join them too. The family also hunts with guns......something that N is becoming more aware of as he gets older. They breed pheasants and turkeys for hunting and I'm sure N thought they were pets, until he saw a dead one that my boss bought home the other day. Both my bosses have guns that are kept locked in different gun safes and the kids will not doubt have their own guns in time. We tell him that in our family we don't have guns, don't like them and distract or discipline him when he tries to pretend play anything related to them. But we don't tell him they are wrong (in our opinion), because we know he's going to tell the kids that and obviously their family doesn't think they are. I try to closely supervise the boys to keep an eye on what N is hearing and have explained to the kids that our family doesn't do guns. But still the other day N told J all about how to load bullets into a gun - something he must have heard from the big boy.....
I always thought that it was school that taught kids all the stuff that you had been choosing not to teach them. Being around older kids means that N is getting a jump start on that stuff. Now he's probably going to be the one that is teaching the other kids all this stuff when he goes to school! I used to say that school ruins kids because they are not under your control when they are there, but it turns out it's happening right under my nose because he is picking up on what the big boy is learning at school and from his parents too!
The truth is that I get paid well especially as I bring N with me, but it's getting to that point that it just may not be worth it. I like my job, I don't love it as much as I used to, but I do get a little stir crazy home full time, like the routine of working and knowing that I'm contributing to the household income - even if it's only a little! There is only a couple of months until the kids are done with school for the year and their summer travels will begin. In September the big boy will be in school until 3 and I'm not sure if I will still have a job then, but I've been saying that for years! We are also still TTC, even though I'm not writing about it, so once number 2 arrives I'll be staying home full time, I'm always telling myself that there is no point starting a new job, just to quit when the new baby arrives.... I guess it's something that we will keep talking about and see what happens with N.
5 months ago