November 13, 2014 11:00 am The Good Nanny
Betsy had been awake for a while when she heard “Whaaah!” coming from Charlie’s room. She threw on her pink terry cloth robe and went to the six-month old she took care of.
“There you are! Hi Charlie. How’s my adorable boy?” She picked Charlie up and held him tightly. Charlie snuggled into her robe.
“Let’s get you some breakfast.” Betsy warmed a bottle of Charlie’s mother, Lucy’s milk. Charlie was smiling and gurgling as he looked around the sunny kitchen.
“Here you go, Charlie. Nice warm milk, just for you.”
It was Sunday morning. The Burkes were at their tenth college reunion, the first time they had been away since four-year old Mary was born. They were coming home that afternoon. Mary was still in bed.
“Charlie, you were so hungry,” Betsy cooed, as she held Charlie. “I can’t wait for the day when I can feed you a big sandwich. For now, how about a little oatmeal and peaches?”
Then she heard, “Betsy… Betsy?” Mary sounded upset.
“Hi Mary, I’m feeding Charlie. Come on down,” Betsy called. “What a big burp Charlie! Thatta boy.”
Mary ran into the kitchen, putting her face into Betsy’s familiar robe. She softly patted Charlie’s chubby arm.
“Oh Betsy, I had a bad dream. I was in a small dark room and a crabby nanny came in. She told me you moved and were never coming back. She laughed when I started to cry… and she gave Charlie a big carrot for lunch. It was awful.”
Betsy rubbed Mary’s back. “Oh dear Mary, what a terrible dream. Don’t worry, sweetheart. I’m going to stay with you and Charlie for a long time. Now how about a real breakfast?”
“That sounds nice, Betsy. Thank you,” Mary said with a sniff.
Betsy put Charlie in his high chair and Mart sat at the table.
“Charlie, imagine giving you a giant carrot when you have one tooth! She was kind of like a witch,” Mary said to her brother as he smiled and banged a spoon. “Betsy, I love you,” she told her nanny.
“I love you too. And here is your jammy toast. Your eggs are coming up. “
Mary fed Charlie a little oatmeal and peaches as Betsy cooked her eggs. “Charlie is the best brother. Don’t you think so, Betsy?”
Putting the warm eggs in front of Mary, Betsy smiled. “I think you are the best little kids in the world.”
With her mouth full of eggs, Mary said, “I’ll draw you a heart after breakfast.”
“That sounds great. And after Charlie’s nap, let’s walk to the brook, okay?”
“Yeah, and I can throw leaves in.”
“And when we come back, we can make Welcome Home cookies for your Mommy and Daddy.” Betsy knew Mary would love that idea. She lifted Charlie out of the high chair as Mary went to her art table.
“I’m going up to run your bath. I’ll be right back.”
Mary drew a red heart and wrote “MARY” in it. Soon Betsy returned with Charlie in just his diaper.
“Here, Betsy. I put my name in it because I love YOU.”
“I’ll keep it in my room. Thank you, honey. Now let’s get you two angels into the tub before the water gets cold.”
Mary slid out of her nightie into the warm water. Charlie sat in his green rubber frog seat. He clapped and got his little pink face wet over and over again, laughing.
Remembering her petrifying dream, Mary watched Betsy gently wash Charlie’s back. “Now I know, Betsy, it was just a dream.”
“Right you are,” Betsy smiled. “I’m still here.”
Clean and in cozy clothes, Mary went back to her paper heart factory. Charlie fell asleep quickly in his carriage.
“Mary, I’m going to throw in a load of laundry. Maybe we’ll do the cookies first, and then head to the brook.”
Mary finished a little heart for Charlie and some for her mother and father. She started one more for Betsy. “Ta da!” She beamed as Betsy came upstairs.
“Mary, these are your best ever. Your writing is great too. I love the tiny fringe!”
“Cookies now!” Mary ran into the kitchen. “Charlie might be dreaming of cookies and when he wakes up it will be real life, not a dream.”
Working together, they quickly mixed all the ingredients. Mary loved to smell the vanilla. She put in extra chips too.
“In the oven they go! Watch the clock, Mary. We’ll have cookies in no time.”
Betsy began to wash the bowls as Mary hummed and looked at the clock. Just then, the front door opened and the Burkes came in.
“We missed you all so much we had to come home. Hello, Mary. Hello, Betsy. How beautiful these hearts are!” Lucy exclaimed.
“Something smells wonderful.” Bill said as he hugged his little daughter.
“Betsy, you are wonderful,” Lucy smiled at her. “Thank you for always being so lovely to our children. We couldn’t have had such a perfect time without you.”
Sometimes a nanny is the perfect fit. A family may even become more complete because of her. The Burkes were exceptionally kind, thoughtful and appreciative people. Betsy loved her job with them and they valued her influence on the children. The Burkes planned on doing all they could to keep Betsy happy and under their roof.
Coming next time: a different kind of nanny!
Written by: Anne Martine Cook, Managing Partner & Mom, with 35+ years experience teaching nursery school children.
We welcome your comments and questions.