My job as a nanny is giving me more practice and experience at parenting than I could ever have dreamed.
For that, I am thankful and blessed beyond words.
Adam and I had the two older girls I watch, ages 3 and 5, spend the weekend with us. We truly had a great time together and it's all thanks to God for providing us with good attitudes, patience, friends, and great weather.
Friday night was the first extreme taste of parenting Adam and I both received. It was decided last minute to have the girls stay with us over the weekend so our Friday night was already filled up. I checked with the girls' mother to see if our dear friends Ben and Hannah (and their adorable almost 2 year old son Jack) could babysit the girls for 2 hours while we went out to celebrate Adam's brother's birthday. This was perfectly fine with their mother and so my Friday afternoon consisted of:
- Showering during nap time
- Handing out snack as my hair air dried
- Putting makeup on with an audience of 2 curious and fascinated girls asking about a million questions and saying over and over how beautiful I looked (I need those two voices with me everyday!!)
- Quickly throwing together an outfit
- Popping dinner in the oven while my hair continued to dry
- Straightening my hair with wee ones by my side telling them "this is hot, do not touch!"
- Having my jewelry picked out by the 5 year old (she did better than me at accessorizing!)
- Running around the house attempting to declutter before our friends came over
- Gathering together our little gifts from Iceland we bought for Adam's family
- Changing the girls into their pajamas
- Laying out toys, dress up clothes, and a movie for the evening
- Greeting our friends and little Jack while the girls went crazy with excitement
- Explaining the "routine" with Hannah
- Taking dinner out of the oven and plating it for the girls while Adam motions for me to leave
- Remembering to feed the dog
- Hugging and kissing the girls asking them to behave and to remember the house rules and our conversation from earlier
- Walking out the door 10 minutes later than planned
- Buckling my seatbelt while feeling rushed, nervous, and tired
- Driving to the restaurant looking over at Adam and busting out in laughter because..
WE FELT LIKE REAL PARENTS!
It was such an unusual feeling and you know what--we enjoyed it! I kept my phone close as we ate dinner with Adam's family and sent a text message saying, "Make sure you tell Joy to go potty. She never remembers to take potty breaks on her own."
Yes, it was a different night for us and we loved it.
Saturday and Sunday were filled with great memories--taking the girls to David's Bridal, out to lunch, the park, having a picnic, pajama party--oh yeah, it was truly great. I could go into detail about all of those things but I will pass to share what I learned this weekend. I learned children want to be disciplined. They want to know what they did wrong and how to fix it. They want, need, and deserve affirmation when they correct themselves and obey.
It's the little things we need to focus on. For example, at the dinner table Adam and I shared what table manners are and reminded the girls how to behave like little ladies while eating. For the rest of the meal the girls did everything we talked about and were eager to please us. Adam and I filled the girls with words of affirmation and I even got up to give them a kiss on the cheek for listening and using good table manners. It was evident the girls were proud of themselves and in return, they knew we were proud of them. Children want to do this at all times, they want to please. It is important for adults to teach, explain, and correct children in a loving way. This helps children grow and learn what they are capable of :)
While at the park on Sunday, the youngest (age 3) began to pout, whine, and was demanding things from Adam showing a very poor attitude. I held her by the hand and sat her in timeout. As she cried I began thinking about my words I would use to explain why I put her in timeout. I sat next to her on the bench and asked her why she was put in timeout. She replied, "I was not speaking nice to Adam." I told her she was right. I explained the different ways to speak to people and used voices to get my point across--it worked! She knew exactly which behavior I portrayed was right/nice and which was wrong/mean. I told her she needs to work on her attitude and how she responds to people. I gave her an example by saying when someone asks you to play ball and you do not want to, answer them with a 'no thank you' instead of folding arms and yelling 'NO!' She understood and twenty minutes later I asked if she wanted to join the rest of us playing frisbee and she answered, "No thank you Katie. I want to pick the flowers." She was beaming with pride as she said this because she knew it was good behavior and what was expected of her--I ran to her, picked her up, and smothered her in hugs and kisses on the cheek. She was laughing so hard and was delighted when I told her how happy she made my heart. For the rest of the day, her attitude was pleasant and fun.
Children want and need discipline and affirmation. They want to please you--these are things Adam and I learned this weekend. The more time and effort I spend in prayer and conversation with the girls and Adam, the better the relationship has been for all. Adam and I are not parents but feel fortunate to be learning important lessons and understanding children a little bit better one day at a time.
I wanted to share this to simply express how lucky I feel for my job and for everything the Lord is taking time to reveal..after all, I am His child and need to be learning daily from my Father.