August 21, 2009

Me Mind on Fire, Me Soul on Fire

Max’s first nanny was a Tulane senior named Robyn. She came to us in January of 2006 and worked as Max’s nanny until she graduated in May. She didn’t need the money. In fact, she drove to work in her Mercedes sports car, but she liked kids and wanted to do some work. I was a nervous wreck when she started because this was my baby and here I was hiring a complete stranger to care for him. Sure, I would be right upstairs working, but what if she abused him? What if she did not love him as much as I did?

The first time she met Max she asked if she could take his picture to send to her Mom back in Jersey. I went nuts in my head, “Her mom? Yeah right, more likely the kingpin of whatever baby trafficking organization she is privy to!”

But, when I opened my mouth, what came out what, “Oh sure.”

To my surprise, she handed the phone to me to take a picture of her holding a smiling Max.

Oh, I get it now. You LIKE babies!

I firmly and assertively told her that under no circumstances would she be driving Max around in that sports car of hers and maybe, after she had been working here for a month, she could take him for a walk in the stroller, but only around the block.

But then, we all fell in love with Robyn. Max was small, maybe only 4 months old, so he still took 2 naps a day. Robyn would climb into my bed with him to snuggle and sleep with him. And he loved it. This is a child who still sleeps pressed up against me every night.

I would be working upstairs and hear her chatting away with him. She would read books to him and play with him for hours.

By day 3 she took him for a walk in the stroller and by week 2, she took him to lunch with her friends, his car seat wedged in the tiny back seat of her car. She patiently listened as I gave her a long list of instructions – don’t leave him in the car even for a second, make sure he is snapped in, drive carefully, don’t talk on your cell phone while driving, don’t bring him around anyone who smokes…in short, you have my very existence and reason for living in the back of your car, so please drive carefully.

Robyn was more than a nanny, she was a member of our family. We loved hearing about her friends and her family. She would tell me all the places she had brought Max that day – to Tulane’s campus to meet her roommates, to a sushi place for lunch with her friends, shopping with her mom. He was just one of the girls after a while, I think.

When Valentine’s Day rolled around, Robyn gave Max this big fuzzy lobster wearing a hat. When you pressed the button on his claw, he would sing Buster Poindexter’s “Hot, Hot, Hot.” His whole head and lips moved. And it was LOUD. Max was terrified of it. We sat it on a high shelf in his room for a while and then one day, long after Robyn had moved back to New York and taken her bright light with her, he asked us to hand it to him. He had already been through another nanny and graduated to play school. He was still scared of Jacques, our name for the obnoxious lobster, so he asked his Daddy to hide him in the shed out back.

But even Jacques' exile to the shed could not quell Max’s fearful curiosity. Slowly, he started going out to visit Jacques occasionally and finally, one day, decided Jacques could come back inside. Quite quickly Jacques progressed from being a scary loud red blur that warranted only a place next to the dryer, to a full-fledged member of the family. He was dragged over the place and even had his hat chewed off by our Boston Terrier. (Thankfully, Max grew up with the dog and is very forgiving of his predilection for eating toys.)

The other night, Max and I were lying in bed together. Our nightly routine is long and some nights I relish it and some nights I just want to read a book. This night, we were having fun. Jacques was next to Max with his head on the pillow, covered in Max’s favorite blanket. Every time I did something to ensure Max’s comfort, Max did the same for Jacques.

Finally, in an attempt to coax Max toward sleep, I said, “Jacques is tired, he is going to sleep,”

Max replied in his sweet little Mommy-is-a-fool voice, “No, Jacques is not going to sleep because his eyes don’t close.”

My, how my little boy has grown.

1 comment:

Laura Ferry-Jimenez said...

doh! darn it! maybe beth can sew you up some lil quilted eyelids? haha. or you can always buy a pair of baby socks and snip off tops!

robyn sounded great - hope she gets to read this post! :)