Finally--the next installment. Sorry, folks--if I'm not procrastinating school work, I'm procrastinating everything else. Like this blog, for instance. Anyway--summer. My first summer job was with the bell staff and company at Zermatt. My second summer job was a little different.
I was a nanny. Yes, like Marry Poppins--"Hurry, nanny, many thanks! Sincerely, Jane and Michael Banks." Well, sort of like that. It's not Britain and I didn't wear a great dress and hat or make chalk drawings and carousel's come to life. I did take care of a child, though, and I did try to bring a little magic to her life--a spoonful of sugar, if you will.
The girl's name is Trinity, she is two and a half, and she is a princess. Her mommy and daddy, the hard-working king and queen, work in marketing and needed someone to keep their little girl well and happy for a few hours in the afternoon so they could get to business for a while. That would be me--the royal lady-in-waiting.
Trinity loves princess life. She wore a gown nearly every day--generally pink or purple, usually sparkly, and always beautiful--and she usually changed clothes at least once before I left. The few times I actually saw her wear pants it was a shocker. She has a beautiful bedchamber upstairs, where she can play with her little friends--her stuffed animals and babies and dolls--to her heart's content. She also has a real companion--a big black and white dog called Lucy, who loves and protects her like a personal bodyguard. She loves playing outside, watching movies, and playing at anything she can come up with.
At first, it was a little difficult to get her to relax with me. She wanted her mommy, and when mommy had to go downstairs to get some work done she made no secret of the fact that I just wasn't the same thing. It didn't take too long, though, for her to realize that I was there to make her happy and that she could trust me. The first couple of weeks, she would wake up from her nap, see me there, and start to wail for mom. At the by the time I left for Hawaii with my family, that was starting to get better. I worried that when I came back after a week's absence she would be back at it again--but when I went up to her room to wake her my first day back, she didn't cry at all. Instead, she looked up at me, gave a gasp of surprise, smiled, and whispered, "I'm so glad!"
After that, we were friends. Every day I would arrive at her house mid-afternoon with my bag of tricks (either a small carpet bag-type suitcase or my Molen Magic tote). If she was asleep, I would read or watch a movie until she woke up (it took me two weeks to finish "The Hobbit" in fifteen or twenty minute segments on the sleeping days). If she was awake,, we got right to it. She would rifle through my bag, trying to find what I had brought today--usually just some new books or a puzzle she hadn't done. She always wanted to do the puzzles first thing. Once it was puppets, and we built a puppet theater with a sheet from her bed and tried them out (correction: I tried them out--she played with them, but I don't think she ever quite got the idea). Another day it was plastic plates and cups, and we had afternoon tea at the kitchen table. Sometimes we played with her things, too--playing in her room, creating pictures with stickers and pipe cleaners on paper, and making endless babies and cradles out of play dough.
We almost always went outside for a while, too. We made chalk drawings (she loved being traced), played ball, and had picnics. The day I taught her to play hide and seek was a fantastic one--she was occupied with that for the next half hour (she always hid in the exact same place, behind the bush near the sidewalk, but somehow I managed to forget about that every time). We had our usual walk/bike route up around the neighborhood on the days when she wanted a bike ride. There was a park up the way we visited now and then, where we played on the play set and made birthday cakes in the sand (if Rachel wasn't being boring and enjoying sitting down under a tree instead). From time to time we would go somewhere else--out to my house (Trinity always wanted to play with my siblings) or out to the carousel at Zermatt (though sadly the animals had to stay firmly attached for this nanny).
We were inside and dinner was ready by six or so, then time for pajamas and a movie if she wanted one (99% of the time, she did). Mommy came upstairs around 8 o'clock. Trinity would stand up and cry, "you done?" and, receiving a yes, turn promptly back to me and say "Good bye." And that was that.
It wasn't always easy. Princess Trinity didn't always like Nanny telling her what to do. There were plenty of tired, dramatic, sobbing, whining, exhausting days. Trinity was also undergoing "Princess Potty Training," which was not all that bad an experience for her but that was rather aggravating for Nanny at the beginning when we were weaning off the diapers.
It was worth it, though.
The little Princess and the Nanny grew to love each other. They spent their days together playing great games and having wonderful adventures. When asked who the Nanny was, the Princess would always answer, "This my friend!" The king and queen completely trusted the Nanny with their most precious possession, which made Nanny feel good, and the Princess was happy in Nanny's company, which was even better. It was a wonderful summer--just Princess and Nanny, turning the world upside down with spoonfuls of sugar and imaginations let loose.
Princess Trinity is still living in her palace on the lake--Trinity's lake, which she finally learned (from Nanny's repetition) is really called Jordanelle. She is attending her preschool academy and learning to dance. Nanny is going to her own school, working hard, surrounded by students her own age and learning to play like a grown up again.
It was hard to say goodbye at summer's end, but it was a happily ever after kind of ending. The Princess's life continues, hopefully a little better for having Nanny in it. I might not have been able to make her toys dance or fly on umbrellas, but maybe I taught her a little that life is happy, that the world is good, and that there are people in it outside her palace that love her.
She certainly taught me plenty--like how to be patient, how to get creative, and how to live in the world of a two year old. I think her teaching will make me a good Queen someday--when I have a princess of my own.