Because our children were born in Australia, and our families both live in New Zealand, our children haven’t had a lot of babysitters. Once or twice a year when someone visits us or we visit NZ, Husband and I will go out for dinner, leaving the kids in the safe hands of trusted relatives.
We have never left the kids with a babysitter.
Xanthe is a mummy’s girl. When she is upset or overtired she wont calm for anyone but me. This can be frustrating for both me and hubs, but it is what it is and I know this phase passes.
Millar started going to occasional care at about 18 months old, which is the age Xanthe is now. Millar didn’t cry when I left him there. He loved it and it was hard to pull him away come pick-up time. I cried the first time I left him there, but that’s just between you and me.
When we came to Mumbai, we found a play room in the other hotel and I took the kids there every day for a week. They enjoyed it and it was great to get out of our little five star prison room.
All the other kids in the play room had nannies with them. No mums, just nannies. One of the nannies told me her family was flying home for a holiday and she wondered if I would like to hire her for that time.
The thought of three hours a day of kid free time appealed immediately.
Millar refused to go for the first two days but came around by day three and has enjoyed each day since.
Xanthe was not pleased at all.
The first time I handed her to Patty, she screamed and looked at me like I had stabbed her. I held her again and kissed her and handed her back to Patty. Patty took her away and I hid behind a pillar in the hotel lobby, with my heart in my throat and hot tears behind my eyelids as I listened to her cries echoing down the marble corridor.
I knew I had to give this a chance but the urge to run after her and say, “sorry, I can’t do this, we are just not a nanny family,” was very strong.
Ignoring that urge, I went back up in the lift and lost myself in my work while Millar entertained himself with dvd’s.
Xanthe returned at midday and was very happy to see me. As I picked her up her arms circled tightly around my neck and she turned her face away from Patty and refused to say goodbye or even acknowledge her.
I thanked the nanny and told her I would see her tomorrow, not entirely sure if that was true.
I wasn’t able to put Xanthe down without her crying, but after lunch and a nap she was fine.
The next day, the same thing. Millar refused to go, Xanthe screamed like I was selling her to the gypsies and I held back tears and questioned my priorities and worth as a mother.
Day three and Millar decides he will go to the play room with Patty and Xanthe. I think to myself that maybe with Millar going too, Xanthe wont cry so hard. Wrong.
Xanthe screamed and cried again and Millar didn’t know what to do, looking at me to stop the crying, looking like he was about to cry also. But as I hid behind the pillar, my little sob space, I heard my baby stop crying as soon as she was out of sight. I heard footsteps and the nanny’s chatter, but my baby girl had stopped crying. I let go of the breath I had been holding for days, maybe this was going to work.
Each day was the same, crying as she left, giggling on her return. Her manners returned and she would wave “buh-bye” to Patty.
The crying was still tough though, tugging at my heartstrings and kicking me in my mummy bits. Until one morning last week. I was busy, so Husband took the kids down to meet Patty. He returned to tell me there was no crying! Not a tear! Apparently Xanthe laughed as she greeted Patty and was happy to go with her.
I have never taken them down to meet the nanny since. Husband takes them down each morning, peacefully, without incident, and I stay upstairs in my pyjamas instead of hiding behind a pillar trying not to cry like a crazy lady.
Xanthe is a mummy’s girl. But it is much easier to hand her over to daddy than to the nanny and apparently daddy is easier to say goodbye to.