Since my junior year of college and moving to Burlington year-round, my interactions with the Nanny Family have been such that the last time I saw their “baby” whom I nannied for/was in cosmic child-love with, he was 2, and I was teaching him how to swim, say “lion,” “elephant,” and “bear,” and eating lots of Goldfish crackers, the seemingly universal snack food of toddlers (and nannies). Now that I’m back in the area, I picked up a dog-sitting gig (the Cookie Monster,) for them while they were out of town. So when I delivered her back today, my past (literally) ran into me again. Because my past is now three feet tall, he ran into me somewhere directly under my boobs. I don’t know which was more shocking.
My “baby” is now 4 years old, 42 pounds heavy, and told me that he could “swim across the ocean ‘cause I don’t need help swimming anymore,” when I asked him if he remembered me helping teach him to swim. Of course he was much too young to have any concrete memories, but, as he came out from hiding behind his mother, started poking me, then progressed to leaning against me (I am a helpless sucker for all dogs and children who lean on me), which culminated when he grabbed my hand in his and dragged me all around the house to show me his photos, see how much he weighed, and scale me like a human tree, time caught up with us. Carrying him back outside on my hip like I used to when he was much, much lighter, I felt his soft, spiky hair against my neck as he put his head down on the same crook in my shoulder that he used to. It felt so, so right, and it apparently did to him too, because he turned and mumbled in my ear, “I think I remember your voice.”
My heart felt like it suddenly fractured. I nearly cried with joy.
As I put him down in the driveway next to his mom to say my goodbyes and get back into my car, he clung to my knees, not letting go. He’d always been hesitant to let people leave as a toddler, but now, when he asked if he could come home with me and I told him he’d have to sleep under the bed with the cat, he thought about it seriously for a minute before responding with, “I like cats. But I’d have to bring a blanket.” He talks now. And he’s exactly the clever little person I always imagined he’d be.
And thus SuperNanny Round 2 begins.