Nannies… do you get one, or not? Now to me, this seems to be the dumbest question on earth. I mean, if you can afford one, why the hell not?!?!? Yes, I know there are lots of Mums out there who want to do everything themselves, but really, who the fuck is going to thank you for all your efforts? When the kids are teenagers and your running around like a mad woman, trying to be Superhuman (and working too, to pay the mortgage), just think…”Why the fuck am I doing this?!”
I saw my Mum do this for years with all of us kids. She still does it now, with one man-child still at home and my Dad to constantly look after. Off she goes to work early every morning (5am), comes home (6.30pm), cooks, cleans, irons (yes, apparently people still do this at home when they don’t have a cleaner. I personally like putting clothes under the mattress until they just flatten out for wear) and all she does now is complain about everything she did for us. Her exact words are; “You bloody kids ruined my life”. Well, that and my Dad pisses her off daily, just by breathing. It’s hilarious as people in Hong Kong will ask me why my Parents don’t visit me together, and I’m like “err…. they want a holiday!?” I hate those weirdos who grew up in a loving, happy, normal household where their parents do shit together, even now. It makes my arse twitch. I just didn’t grow up in that sort of environment. Which… in hindsight, is probably why my kids will grow up in one of those annoyingly happy, sing-a-long households I never had. Everything in our house, BTW, is a song. EVERYTHING!! If you have toddlers who love Little Einsteins (yes, mine watch telly from time to time – shoot me), Handy Manny, Dora The Explorer, Baby Einstein and now, that annoying program “Wiggle & Learn”…. you sing to everything, and dance constantly.
Sorry, I digressed …. so recently I’ve been chatting to all and sundry about whether having a Nanny, or any form of “Help” in the house is essential. Now, I realise in Hong Kong, every other person with young kids, does have a Domestic Helper working for them either full, or part-time. I personally would have killed myself slowly with a blunt object or by overdose of white wine/vodka/nail polish remover, if I didn’t have someone relieving me of my duties from time to time. I mean, I’m still human for fucks sake!? I need time out to go and chill. And if I spend my time, relaxing in a bar, who is anyone to judge? He who throws the first stone and all that shit. So, its fair to say that I have had a mixed bag of experiences I will share with you so that you can make up your own minds. What I can say is that I hate those judgemental types, especially those who are back home in the UK (normally my frenemies), who say things like “What do you need a Nanny for? Why can’t you do stuff yourself?” or “G-d I’d HATE to have someone in my house all the time. I like to do things myself anyway”. I’m like, “Yeh, you’re just jealous luv”.
Right, where do I begin? When The Captain and I discovered we were expecting Twins, our reaction was complete and utter joy. We were soooo happy to be expecting two babies after not being able to have any for 2 years, we were giddy with it all. Lots of our friends on the other hand, who had kids, snickered quietly to themselves as they knew we were in for the biggest shock of our lives. Bastards. They could have warned us not to buy white furniture eh?! Especially as every piece of furniture eventually got covered with bed sheets once the monkeys arrived due to their Reflux and non-stop vomiting.
Anyhow, this dumb joy did eventually turn into worry when on the same day we discovered Itchy & Scratchy were coming, The Captain was also made redundant from his banking job, as were sooo many others all over the World. What did we do when the shit hit the fan? Well, being two completely irresponsible juveniles, trapped in adults bodies, we decided to go travelling (there was still only the two of us after all). I gleefully packed in my swell-paid, yet shitty job, which I fucking hated…. (bull-shit sales with a bunch of arseholes. Yes, I’m slagging those cows I used to work with off, simply because they were sooo unkind while I went through IVF).
The Captain and I sold our nice sports car (the new owner almost drove off with the Captain hanging onto the roof, crying & wailing, “MY CAR. MY BEAUTIFUL CAR!!” and bought a Mini Convertible to do a 3 month trip across Italy and Spain. Yes, people. Me, lugging around 2 babies inside my ever-expanding tummy, and The Captain, drove and ate our way across Europe. * NB. European tales to follow in a different post in the future.
It was sooo liberating to just say, “let’s go travelling!” (our families were mortified) and I managed to wipe the smug look off my soon to be ex-employers faces when I said I was resigning. I used to work for ladies who resembled those on the Kings Road and Sloane Square (SW1 London). You may not know the types (for those who don’t come from London) but these ladies are usually called “Sloaney Ponys”. You can see them poncing up and down Chelsea with their blonde hair tied up in a pony tail with a big black hairband across their heads, Chanel Handbag tucked under their arm, Penny loafers on their perfectly manicured feet and Blazer on (usually with a Family Crest stitched on the front). A silk handkerchief is also usually seen expertly placed around their necks (helpful when you feeling like strangling one of these snobs). Anyhow, my boss, a Sloaney Poney, was like, “oh, *rah (*English posh slang) but The Captains lost his job and you’re pregnant dahling. Surely you need to work, yah?” Yeh, right. These are the same people who introduced standing up until you made all your sales calls for the day … then you could sit down. Who gives a crap if you’re pregnant or not? I was soooo happy to leave and unsurprisingly, they lost all their original staff (7 resignations in a matter of weeks), due to their horrible work ethic. Anyhow… apologies, I’m digressing again.
So…. The Captain and I first organised a Night Nurse before we left the UK, so that she would be on hand from the minute the kids arrived out of Hospital. The Captains lovely Dad, gave us a night nurse for a month as a baby present (sod everything else anyone ever offers to buy you. This is THE ONLY gift you ever need in the UK). So, after a few meetings and calls, we picked someone we thought was hugely experienced and knew what she was doing. Alarm bells should have told me otherwise when she kept calling to catch up with me prior to the birth. I just thought, “Oh isn’t she nice from checking up on me”.
As it turns out, we hired the biggest Nutbag in NW London. This crazy woman turned up, the day I arrived home from the hospital, with 3 day old Twins, and started showing my Mum and the Captain how to wash bottles, sterilise everything etc. At first we all thought she was ok, but then my Mum (whose had 4 kids) walked out saying ” this womans crazy”.
I went to bed which apparently also pissed the Night Nurse off as she wanted to show me everything. I know how to make up bottles and wash you silly woman!!! You’re here between 10pm – 7am to feed the kids while I recover from my C-Section. BUT, alas. It was never to be this simple. This CRAZY Nutbag, not only filled in a book every night in great detail (yes, write down what the kids drank/did) but then insisted on speaking to you for approximately 45 minutes every morning as you came downstairs bleary eyed to deal with a whole new day of everything. This woman got sooo angry at us, that she made me cry 4 days in after one of the babies had become unswaddled when she arrived and she yelled at me, “NO DARLING, YOU DID IT WRONG!!! The baby could have died!” What a bitch.
Now, if we hadn’t been sooo desperate to sleep, we would have booted that stupid crazy cow out of the house right away, but we needed her. Plus, I was soo hormonal and didn’t know my arse from my elbow, let alone realise this woman was a bully. She was, however, very good with the kids (we had cameras at home too). After a week of non-stop craziness, the Captain (who was still out of work), and I would argue about who would go down in the morning to deal with her (we had her 3 nights a week for the first month). Neither of us could face hearing her annoying screeching voice, and her description of “poo” every morning.
I recall one morning, begging The Captain to go down and deal with her & the nightly handover. He begged me to go, I begged him more. I couldn’t deal with the “shock” of it all right away. You know, seeing the kids and starting another WHOLE day of puking, being covered in shit and sick. And the lack of sleep. Wow, that alone can kill you. Plus, this Nutbag, complained that no one offered her a cup of tea in the morning. I mean, she also slept… it’s not like she was awake all night (not unless I slipped the kids some sugar just to wind her up). She used to state, “Some of my ‘Mummies’ (thats what she called me but I swear it’s because she couldn’t remember my name), will make me Tea and sit for a chat in the morning”. I’m like, errr… Fuck off out my house now. Which crazy Mum, whose barely slept for a week, will then want to sit with this stupid, crazy cow first thing in the morning after a broken nights sleep to chat shit?!
Suffice it to say, I emailed my Twins club the following week and was given the name of an amazing lady. She in turn, arrived at our home one evening, took over and told us to sleep. She even threw in extra hours free of charge, when she knew we were exhausted. This amazing Angel of a woman, who could have taken us for a lot more money, told us to contact her friend who trained Maternity Nurses so that we could get some proper help. This was THE best advice we ever received.
We swiftly got rid of Nutbag (who funnily enough never had any new clients call us for a reference) and we ended up with an abundance of help 6 nights a week, giving these “Trainee Maternity Nurses” experience with Twins. When I say Trainee, I don’t mean 16-year-old young girls. These are all grown church going women, with kids and grandkids, looking to earn some real money later down the line. They didn’t want any money but just their travel costs (£10 at the time but I hear this has now increased). One even knelt down in the middle of our lounge and said a prayer for us when she left in the morning (I admit I had to cover my mouth in order to hide my giggles). This was , however, the same woman who also said The Captain looked like “Barak Obama”, and he really actually doesn’t (as in, he may as well be Ginger, he looks THAT different). I loved these women and the lady who set this whole thing up is still training nurses now. She is an actual Midwife and would come to our house with some trainees to show how to properly change nappies, staying hygienic when dealing with babies, how to breast feed a stubborn baby, deal with Reflux and how to bathe a new-born etc. We were their guinea pigs but in return we got pretty much free, lovely staff. We had help for nearly 5 months, using 4 different lovely ladies (one of which became our part-time nanny in the UK, until we left to move here).
So, ask me again…. do I think a Nanny is necessary? OF COURSE FUCKING OF COURSE. Don’t do everything yourself and try to be a Martyr. No one is going to love you more or less. Take Help when you can get it (from family or friends, or paid if you can afford it) and rest when you need to. We all do from time to time. Also, if you can’t afford the help, don’t keep judging those who can. Thats also not fair.
I’ll be signing off for a few weeks now ladies as I’m hitting the UK for some serious party time. I’ll touch base soon….if I make it back in one piece!
ps. I’ll write more about my travels with The Captain in another post some time in the future when I get a moment.
pps. I’ve been reading up about the recent Casey Anthony Trial and am sooooo shocked at the verdict. Of course no one knows what happened, but the fact this woman didn’t report her child of 2 years, missing for 30 odd days is weird in itself. Any thoughts on this? Drop me a line. * photo above taken as we left Bora Bora in 2007.
Children, Twins, Triplets etc …. do you have a favourite? Ok, ok …. I SAID IT. Do Parents have favourites? Are we even allowed to say that OUT LOUD?! Now… before you all start saying “Oh no, never”, I have to ask as recently, I’ve been struggling to understand how you can’t have a favourite, from time to time anyhow.
In my own life, before I had children, I noted in almost every family, that one child was always preferred over the other. Ok, not always openly…. but you could definitely see it. To be fair, it didn’t really seem to bother the boys as much as the girls. The Captain for example is the favourite in his family. He claims he’s not, but he sooo is (plus his Grandma recently told me). I on the other hand, was never the favourite. For starters, I was causing havoc in my parents house, getting expelled from school, raiding their Drinks cabinet, smoking spliff out the bedroom window, having boyfriends climbing up drain pipes and sleeping in my cupboard until my Mum found him the next day reeking of Cider (true). All of this before I was 15 years old…. it’s no wonder they wanted to kill me. As a baby though…. i was apparently an independent angel. But, still not the favourite.
I’m now torn from time to time with my own kids. Despite all resolutions to never have favourites, things aren’t panning out that way. Now, according to some books on Twins (and I read a shit load before Itchy & Scratchy turned up), Parents get confused as to how they react and feel towards their kids. Some days they have a favourite child, and on other days, well, lets just say you want to run away and hide under a tree (or in a Bar, which is clearly my personal preference).
Anyhow, my question is this …. Do you have a favourite? If so, do you feel as guilty as I do when those moments occur? Now, before you all start going mad at me, the truth is this…. my favourite child is the one who behaves themselves on THAT particular day. I don’t love the other child any less but if they are misbehaving, well, you know… you’re only human.
Take my Son for example. He loves to SCREAM (& I mean SCREAM!!!!) and, in fact, screamed the whole way to Bali (4.5 hour flight from Hong Kong), that even his own Grandparents wanted to throw him off the plane. This child knows when he has an audience and therefore, kicks off with this whole screaming business just as everyone around us is starting to relax/enjoy a book/snooze on the plane. What did I do to keep myself calm and not lose it? I put ear plugs in, plastered a smile on my face at all the passengers who looked like they wanted to kill me for having given birth to Satan, and ordered myself a glass of white wine. The bloody Air Stewards wouldn’t give me another glass after I downed the first one like it was a shot of tequila…. so I stole The Captains while he hid in the loo…. for most of the flight. Apparently he had a dodgy tummy but I know a liar when I see one. Hell, I would have hidden in there with him if someone would have taken my son off my hands.
Yes, kids cry and yes, they also get jealous of their siblings. My son keeps trying to poke his sisters eyes out and she has now started biting anything and everything, including The Captains legs (which made me laugh so much the other day, I actually peed on the floor). But, by having a favourite every so often, doesn’t negate how much I love them both, equally. I just have less tolerance for the annoying one from time to time. Yes, I just said that out loud. But, all mothers experience this surely?!?
Please don’t turn up with burning torches outside my apartment until you have experienced Twins screaming, biting and blatantly trying to kill their mother through lack of sleep.
I also know all about the issues that arise when favouritism occurs in a household. Having come from a family where I have (a) Middle child syndrome, (b) Am the only girl, which is a minus in my books and never led to “Little Princess syndrome” – a damn shame as everyone else in the house got bought a car on their 18th birthday, save for me.
In fact, I was sooo NOT the favourite, that my parents took their first photos of me when I was about 6 months old, and even then, they only took TWO photos until I turned ONE. My Mum claims its because I was bald and didn’t look great in photos. I’m like“errr…. I was a BABY?!” She also claims not to have had a camera. What a crap reason is that?! No camera?! I wasn’t born during the 1920’s for fucks sake!! Plus, to add insult to injury, my older brother had hundreds of photos of him from the minute he was born, including video footage actually exiting the womb and hes 5 years older than me. Speaking of which, my not-so-Saintly older brother, who had a whole shrine dedicated to his birth, first hair curl, first tooth, endless photos of him on the potty … bla bla bla, tried to convince me (even to this day) that I was, in fact, adopted. I would believe this ordinarily, considering I am soooo different to my family in almost every way, but I look exactly like both my parents (minus my Dad’s beard). I have to admit, that there were many a moment as I child, when I dreamt (and prayed) for my real parents to show up and whisk me away to their mansion in Miami (where I was the only child, accidentally switched at birth by some gross accident made by the Hospital).
Now…. during arguments with my Mother, never my Father who (a) never had any favourites and (b) resembles a squidgy, kind Teddy bear so you can’t really argue with him in any event, I will throw the whole “You always favoured that ungrateful git (my older brother) over me!!!” Mum would respond, “Dont be stupid…. I hate you all the same” (I’m one of four). Bloody lovely (and clearly mindful of all our feelings). Now my Mum says she doesnt and never did have favourites, but you know what, my brothers have all screwed up soo much lately, my Dad (bless him), keeps banging on about how“great” I am. Its pissing my brothers off soo much and FINALLY, I am the favourite.
It only took moving to another country to make them see that.