Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sharing a Nanny

I’ve been home with Ollie since he was born, last February. I feel so lucky to live in a country that recognizes the importance of keeping mums and babies at home together for their first year, and I’ve loved (almost) every minute of the cosy new life I’ve had at home with my little man for the last ten months. 

I’m not saying goodbye to that time yet, you’d better believe that I’m using every minute that the government allows for me to be here with Oliver, but the rhythm and balance of that time have changed a little.

Ollie has one friend his own age, Harry. Well, they are whatever passes for friends between babies - he accepts the accidental beat downs that Ollie lays on him occasionally with relatively good humor, and doles out his own knocks often enough to keep Ollie honest.

What really makes Harry and Ollie friends is the amount of time they’ve spent together in their short lives, since Harry’s parent’s and Chris and I became friends. 

Harry’s mum and dad were most definitely the best thing Chris and I got out of our birthing class way back before we became parents. I remember leaving for our first session way back in October 2009 and joking to Chris that we were going to go and “meet our new best friends”. It was a joke because a) Chris and I are not joiners, nor are we friend-makers, and b) Chris’ only real goal from the experience was to come up with solutions to not pass out during labor, so making friends was pretty far outside of the scope of the exercise. 

Chris describes the birthing class experience as something that should have been in ‘Baby Mama’, and he’s pretty much dead on. It was comically absurd. I’ll definitely blog about it in the future, but for now the picture you need to have is that it was made up of six couples, four of whom were, I’m sure, special individuals, who all went on to name their babies after LOTR characters (which is great! Creative! No judgement!), and us, and Dan and Jen.

We recognized a more, let’s say, “average” kinship in each other and over the course of becoming parents, the four of us also became friends. Jen and Harry and Ollie and I spent at least some part of most days together for practically half of their little lives, but because Harry is two months older than Ollie, his mum had to go back to work at the beginning of January. 

Daycare in our neighborhood is practically impossible to find, and stressful to comprehend. Dan had a flexible workplace, and I had a need for a little bit of extra help, so I could complete a few side projects. After lots of working out of details, the four of us decided that sharing a nanny in our home would be a great option for taking care of the little guys as we are no longer able to spend full days with them. 

We posted an ad on Craigslist and interviewed a few candidates, and finally settled on J, a young woman with experience taking care of twins. After a few test runs, to help the boys ease into the idea, started taking care of our boys twenty hours a week, in our house.

Honestly, part of me was a little apprehensive and sad about relinquishing a few hours of my Ollie time, and if we weren’t sharing a nanny, there’s no way we could afford this set up. But as the boys and I have gotten more used to the arrangement, I’m starting to enjoy having a few hours a day to get things done and take a break, and I know Ollie is loving the time with his pal. And while this might be a temporary arrangement (daycare becomes significantly easier to work out once babies hit the toddler mark at 18 months), and I really cherish the time I have my little one all to myself, I am also really loving being able to spend afternoons sitting at my desk, working away, while listening to the sounds of two happy boys playing together.

(Evidence of their early friendship.... Oh man Ollie was chunky!)

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