In this time of dark and light, I spend a lot of time weighing the pros and cons of my life. And now that I’m free to do all sorts of different work, a good friend of mine asked me to help transition her daughter, 2-year-old Kutti (which means Little One, and is a nickname, as are all the names I use for children in my care on this blog to protect their privacy), to being looked after by people other than her family. Kutti is very reserved at first and originally was very shy around me. When a child has been only used to one or two caregivers, it can be very hard to find common ground.
Kutti has been raised in quite a different way than most children I look after, and that gave me pause at first. Would I be able to connect with her on a level she would understand? Would I be able to understand her, to know what she needed and to address her needs? I believe that Kutti’s parents and I had similar ideas about this, and we were all worried at first about how she would react. I guess, as usual, that most of my anxiety is unfounded when it comes to these things. I tend to lose confidence in myself as a caregiver, to think all is going to be negative. I am a naturally catastrophizing person, and it’s something I try to stop doing. Things are never as bad as I believe they will be.
And Kutti honestly just took the lead on it all. She has a tiny dancer’s body, sparkling brown eyes and hands that are active and busy all the time. She twinkles here and there, flitting from one activity to another, and babbling in her language and English. One of my fears was that I wouldn’t be able to understand her words, but she repeats most things that I say, and then uses the words she has learned in context so that I nearly always know what she’s saying or wanting.
What I love about Kutti is her fun-loving nature. She is always looking to cheer, to sing, to dance or to run around. I like her energy, and I like her creative side. She loves to paint, scribble and work with media like water and sand to test different textures, mix different colours and learn different actions. The water table at our new EYC (because our other one closed, sadly) is her favourite spot to be in. And today, when we engaged in a little gross motor play in the gym, she enjoyed running, jumping, climbing and dancing, as well as running to me constantly to be “flown” around the gym in my arms.
What I’m saying is that I didn’t really have anything to worry about. Reserved children, for the most part, warm up. I know this inherently. Despite her different upbringing, Kutti is a child like other children, wanting to do the same things, looking for the same stimulation and caring that any other kid in my care looks for. And I’m gratified to see that her reservations with me have disappeared almost completely. She smiles at me when I greet her, and waves at me when I leave. She spends the in between showing me just how much fun certain activities can be.
I hope she never loses that fun-loving spirit. I hope she always looks upon a new person as someone who could potentially connect with her, as someone who is willing to join her on her journey of learning and growing.
She reminds me that I’m honoured to have this job. In the end, the fears and the frustrations are only a small part of the utter joy I have at being with children all day. This is my job, what I get to do. It not only keeps me active and healthy, it keeps me young and looking for the positive in my life.
I take time out for fun, and that’s important to keep me a nanny who is engaged, interested and ready to take on new challenges.