“I want to feel confident that if I left my kids alone with you for 20 years, I’d come back knowing they would be good people.” – Nanny position interview.
Well, this has certainly been BY FAR one of the most entertaining endeavors I have explored in a long while. Continuing my quest for an additional income, I’ve been applying, interviewing and – BAM – starting work as a babysitter to the most adorable little munchkins on Earth – besides my niece and nephew, of course. It was so easy. Within days of creating a care.com profile I had multiple interviews lined up, landing a job offer within a week of conceiving the idea to pursue this avenue. (I promise this is not a paid endorsement). This is especially fantastic because it means I accomplished my goal to begin a second job by January 2015. What a great outcome! But they say the gift is in the journey, not the destination.
The Interview North Korea Didn’t Hear About
If I had thought interviewing for a nanny/babysitting position would be low-pressure, I was wrong. I enter the first home – there are no children. Just me and Mr. Dad, an airline pilot and real estate man. He offers me tea and with a certain intensity asks me to tell him about myself. I give the ol’ “me in a nutshell” elevator speech, making sure to not only give an accurate picture of who I am, but also demonstrate my character, personality and values through my choice of highlights. He brings my tea over and sits across the table. I can tell this is about to get real. He asks why I am interested in the position. He gives me feedback about my response. This is getting more intense. It was time to talk about the kids. He tells me of his 4-year-old daughter. He loves her to pieces. They have been on daddy-daughter dates to Vegas and Italy. Wow, that’s great, she sounds very mature. She can wield large knives in the kitchen and engages in intelligent conversation. What a sharp, confident girl. She drives trucks and ATVs and shoots bears with a rifle while riding horseback…. What the… (I am not making this up). And he wants someone to care for his children who – as quoted above – left to their own devices, would produce quality, upstanding citizens. Just to clarify, you’re not really planning on this scenario, though, right?
He went on to explain that he had interviewed over 100 candidates and it was rare to find sincere people who ‘had it together.’ He was kind to me, however, and quite complimentary – I felt myself entering his circle of trust as he shared his disregard for people who are not punctual, all the while looking to me for a nod of agreement. We began to discuss how my availability might suit theirs. My availability wasn’t a perfect fit, but it seemed like we could make something work. We parted ways without a clear plan for what was to come next. The next day I composed a follow-up thank you letter, but I never sent it. Whatever hesitation I felt in sealing the deal was perhaps mutual. I don’t imagine this opportunity will come to pass. But the 60 minutes I spent with him that day shall remain forever engrained in my mind and the internet.
I was relieved to discover that the remaining interviews were more along the lines of what I expected a nanny/babysitter interview to be. The children were present. The parents were laid-back and made small-talk, asking about my experience with the age group of their children and wanting to know a little bit about my background. Whew.
Move Over, Mary Poppins
It’s the day of my first “gig.” I arrive to the general chaos that twin 3-year-old boys bring to a household whilst parents are trying to get ready for a night out. I get a brief and sufficient orientation to the house and the parents take off (looking fabulous, I might add) for their dinner date. By the time they have left the house, only fifteen minutes remain before the kiddos need to start making tracks towards bed. Things quickly escalate from “look at my toy shark” to “I am chasing you around the coffee table, attacking you with my shark while squealing with delight. And, oh yeah, there are two of me… but my brother doesn’t have a toy shark. He has a half-eaten chocolate-chip cookie.” Fast forward fifteen minutes, I finally realize I can outsmart these little dudes and collapse to the couch, covered in chocolate and giggles.
I was actually having a legitimately good time and did not want bed time to happen so soon. But, as they say, all good things must come to an end. We head upstairs and begin the ritual which includes brushing teeth, refilling the water supply on their respective nightstands and reading. Each of them presents the book they would like me to read and we begin with The Snail and the Whale, a lovely, moderately-tongue-twisting British children’s book. The boys are bundled up beside me, laying upon my lap. Precious. They hand me the next book, You Have to F***ing Eat. …Wait, what? Does this book say what I think it says? Yes… Yes, it does. I’ve heard of Go the F*** to Sleep. This must be part of that series. Well, here goes nothing…
I dive into the book and the boys are once again giggling. I wonder if they can tell I am artfully dodging the colorful vocabulary on every single page, while keeping the rhythm of the rhymes. We finish the book (finally, thank goodness) and it’s time to turn off the lights. They have their covers pulled up and look at me with their wide blue eyes, “Can you sing us a song?” And I swear they suddenly had British accents too. I asked if they had a request. “Edelweiss!” Are you for real? I did a lightning-quick scan of my brain to determine whether I knew the lyrics to the song. Nope. I could only recall the Weird Al-like version I had made up as a child called “Fatal Thighs.” That was probably not the best idea. So, we went with Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Go to Sleep, and Mary had a Little Lamb. Mary was popular. That one received 2 encores. After the third round, I wished them sweet dreams and left the room. They went to sleep peacefully and I returned downstairs to watch the Golden Girls for the remainder of the evening. What little loves. I would do this for free.
The parents came home and we briefly recapped the evening’s events. They were happy to hear there were no catastrophic meltdowns and very appreciative. I mentioned (with a hesitant laugh), the reading selections upstairs. Come to find out, the “F***ing” book was a Christmas gift to their son as a little inside joke between the parents because that particular child was going through a food-boycott phase… Their son loved to look at the pictures and point out the various animals. But they had never actually READ the book to him… …WELP! He’s heard it now! Thanks, folks! I accept cash, check or credit card, I’ll be here all week, don’t forget to tip your waitress, goodnight!
Fortunately, they seemed to be amused at the situation and we have another date night set. I am very much looking forward to it… and to taking on new families as well. I eagerly anticipate the amusing unknowns it will bring.