When I moved to Portland three years ago, I entered a whole new era of my life. I moved in with a friend, in order to save money and find a place to live together. It was through her that I started my career as a nanny. I had only babysat as a job once or twice when I was 18, and back then I had no real concept of what taking care of a child entailed. Living in Australia helped that, as I had a lot of friends that had kids in their families, and was exposed to a lot while living there. When I moved back to Hood River from Australia, I defaulted to my previous job as a Barista, something comfortable and that I knew. After a few months, I took a second job as a caretaker at a group home for people with developmental disabilities. Through this job, I was trained in First Aid, CPR, Medical Management, Behavior Management, and a lot of other skills--all of which drastically raised my awareness of what it takes to take care of someone.
My first job was for a family that my friend knew, and was only a month long. As soon as that ended, in October 2005, I immediately posted an ad on Craigslist for another Nanny position. Almost immediately, I received a call from a woman regarding a position to nanny her two children--a 3 y.o. girl and a 5 y.o. boy. I instantly fell in love with these guys. I was able to use my skills as a caretaker, as well as my experiences in art school. We played a lot of games, and their imaginations were great. I introduced a lot of art projects which were fun as well. I was introduced to a lot of new things as well, such as play dates, nanny share, playgrounds, a variety of games, finnicky eating habits, and the constant behavior management that is necessary with kids as their behaviors change.
In December of 2005, my boss told me about her friend who was thinking about hiring a nanny for her 3 month old girl and 2 y.o. boy. I had met them once or twice before, and decided to take the job. I would start in January 2006. I knew the baby had bad acid reflux, but as time went on we realised she had a lot of other issues, including sensory issues and delayed development, which was due to not getting the nutrition she needed (because of her reflux). Her older brother was also adjusting to having a baby around and all the issues that come with sharing the parents. Despite all of the hard times, I fell in love with this family as well. Both families were open and loving, and the mothers had been friends since grade school. We would have play dates and once I graduated from college, we started doing nanny shares fairly frequently.
It has been two years since I started working as a nanny. The two older children, now 7 and 5, are in school full time. The two younger, now 4 and 2, are in daycare full time as well. Last weekend, my bosses held a barbecue to honor my leaving them, which was wonderful and bittersweet. I love the kids so much, and the families as well. They have opened their arms and accepted me into their families as one of their own. On Christmas day, 2005, I even spent the evening with one family because I had no family of my own to be with. The last few weeks, I have played coy with my feelings about leaving, because I didn't want them to get too emotional, but the other night I cried while waiting for sleep. Luckily, I know that I will be seeing them once in a while throughout the next year, before I leave for my Master's, and that helps in this transition between jobs, income, and lifestyle.
There have been many moments of hardship, happiness, and utter joy in these last two years. Here are a few more of those moments. All via camera phone :)